AMA - You Ask, Bethany Answers

Hey, loves. It's that time of the week again where you ask me all your burning questions and I do my very best to answer them. If you're wondering where your question is or why I might not have answered it yet, you can click on the AMA tag in the upper left-hand corner of this post, and you will see all the old AMAs. It is very possible I might have already answered a question exactly like yours recently, and that will give you the answer you are looking for.



Or, I may have simply not gotten to it quite yet, but I will. I don't always answer questions in order that I receive them - sometimes I see one that makes me laugh or smile and I want to answer it first, so I do.



Do you have a question for me?



That's great. Add it HERE.



Now, onto the questions for this week, loves.



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1. Hi! Just wanna ask when writing your books which comes first, the characters or the story?



Hi there. This is a great question, and sometimes, it depends. But probably not how you're thinking.



Sometimes, usually, a character shows up first with their story in tow. Like already there, pretty much handing it to me for me to tell. Like a baby being spooned so you barely have to do anything yourself, you know what I mean?



And then other times, the character shows up ... but they don't have anything to tell me just yet. Their story unfolds over time as I see them again and again in different books. Basically like I get a better look at them, what they're about, the things they want and then I can kind of get a better idea of what their story will be about, and the pieces fall into place over time.



So basically, my characters always show up before the story. Sometimes they have their story with them right away, and sometimes I have to figure that out as I go.



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2. Why are you more vocal on Twitter than other places?



Ha, I laughed at this question. Please don't be offended by that. I actually liked that you noticed because often when I share my twitter link, I accompany it by saying, "Follow me here if you want a less professional me." I am probably most open on Twitter. Whereas say on Facebook, I am just professional and talk about my books. Or on Instagram, I share cute pictures of my kids and daily life next to a few book teasers thrown in.



I wouldn't use vocal as the right word to describe how I am on Twitter ... more like outspoken. And for some reason, that was just how Twitter shook out for me. I don't feel a need to be just BK the professional author on that account. And also, Twitter is like a wasteland really. They kick a woman off there for calling a man who threatened to rape her a cunt, but won't remove the Nazis all over the place. Get it together, Twitter, you fucking blowhard.



You can't not tell someone to fuck off when they don't seem to understand how Twitter works, you know.



But yeah ... if you wanna see a more outspoken me, Twitter is probably the right place for you to do it, honestly. No apologies made. Be warned.



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3. Hey Bethany! Do you ever plan to shift from the Crime Romance genre onto something else? Thanks! (P.S- Love your books!)



Hi there, and thank you for the kind words.



Yes, I do plan to move away from organized crime romance someday, but not under this penname. It kind of just shook out this way for me with the BK penname that if you see a new book from me, you automatically assume it's going to deal with criminals falling in love in some way. I'm fifty books deep into this penname now, and only three (very early works from me, please don't buy them, they fucking SUCK), one of which is no longer for sale anywhere; soon to be all three, are not organized crime romance in some way. Once I got started writing these kinds of stories, I really didn't think about anything else.



A brand is an author's best friend - that a reader can see your name, and just know oh, this author writes this or that. They know just by seeing your name what you're about, what you write, and whether or not they like your brand. Our names are more than what just goes on the cover of a book and the copyright page. Your name is your brand in this business.



My brand has turned into organized crime romance, whether that was my intention or not. At least, under this penname. That hadn't in any way stopped me from vreating plots that have nothing to do with organized crime because I have. I have series ideas sketched out for paranormal romances, straight contemporary, new adult and coming of age romances ...



A lot more than what you've seen me writing here, but you will not see those books under this penname. That's the only thing. This brand of mine is pretty solid, and I really don't want to muddy it up by adding different genres to it that are far too separate from what this penname is full of.



On the upside, you will all be let know when I start a new penname so you can follow me over there if what I'm writing under that new penname interests you as much as this one does.



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4. I'm an aspiring author, and in awe of your dedication to your work, not to mention the amount of books you've written. I just want to know ... how? lol.



Haha, hi there. And thank you.



So for those who don't know, as I mentioned above, I am about 50 books deep into this penname. My actual goal is a hundred by the time I'm 35 for this particular penname, and two more pennames added onto my resume. But that's just some extra details for you.



I'm not really sure how I have written this many books except for the fact that my mind is a well that never really runs dry, and I am extremely lucky for that. I taught myself to write fast when I was working full-time, and on average, only had an hour to two hours before my night shift to actually write while my two oldest kids were asleep. If that's all I had in a day to comfortably pound away at my keyboard, well ... I really had to use it and do my best with it. So yeah, I kind of taught myself to write fast.



And even now, I really only spend about 2-3 hours a day at my computer doing actual writing. I might spend more time elsewhere doing other things - editing, social media, formatting ... whatever. Because that's the thing about being an indie author ... there's more to this job than just writing good books. It's a business and you have to take care of all the aspects of the business because if you get too far behind on one thing, it ends up affecting the rest of your business, including writing.



But 2-3 hours a day is my writing time, and in that time, I can get anywhere from 3-7k written just depending on what I'm looking at for what's left of a book, if I wanna be really writing this scene or whatever the case may be. My process of plotting, which you can find in another AMA I did, really helps to keep me on track so that I always know what I have to write next, too. So keep that in mind - I never really face writer's block, but that it never happens ... it just hasn't happened to me since I started plotting my books ahead of time with a lot of detail.



On average, I write a book a month. I write a chapter a day. And if I am working on something else on the side (which is how I usually do things like outtakes or companions/novellas), then I write a scene of that a day to get work in on it, too. Then, novellas and companions don't end up taking time out of my next main full length book coming out.



But yeah ... I mean, I don't know how I am fifty books deep but here we are. This is kind of how I work, this is how I make it work for me. Please know, you don't have to be like me. I am not the rule, I am an exception to it. And that's fine, too. Take your time, write the best book you can. Focus on your craft, and what works for you. That's the best advice I can give.



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5. Hi, Bethany! I'm an aspiring romance writer but I just don't have the guts (yet) to actually try to put my story out to the world and have somebody read it. I'm a copywriter in an ad agency and I have a pretty good idea at how daunting and cutthroat the publishing industry could be. I really admire your works and your attitude towards the indie author industry (coz I follow you on Twitter, lol). So my question is, what advice can you give to aspiring writers who wants see their works published but have no guts to do it yet? I'm thinking of publishing some of my WIPs online on Wattpad or something to see how it goes. What do you think? Thanks a bunch!


Hi there.



To be fair, the romance industry is the most cutthroat in the indie writing industry. And the reason for that is pretty simple - it's a mixture of a couple of things, even though most authors like to say it's only because of one thing (that's usually because the authors saying that are typically the ones who are problematic).



One: the romance genre is SATURATED. Like every single day, a hundred books are getting published in some subgenre of romance. People like to say this business isn't a competition, but here's the truth - fifty books get published at the same time as yours, and the reader only has ten dollars. You WANT at least a portion of their ten dollars to go to your book, it's as simple as that. So yes, in a way, this business is absolutely a competition. BUT ... that doesn't mean you have to tear another author to win, you get what I mean? You earn a portion of the reader's money by making good books, being a decent person, and making a good brand that makes them feel like they know what they're getting from you.



Two: the romance community is full of mean girl cliques. They make this business a little harder. They, for whatever reason, have designated themselves as the indie gatekeepers which is fucking ironic because that's the thing about being Indie - there are no gatekeepers. That's why so many of us are indies because we didn't want to deal with the actual gatekeepers of the publishing industry, and this way, we got to make our own rules. But these mean girl cliques of authors ... they keep the romance indie community smelling like the worst kind of shit, let's be honest. And your best bet is to just stay the hell away from them. You can see them from a mile away. You know who their fans are just by watching them on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads. If you dare to say you didn't like a book of theirs, you suddenly get a pile-on and wish you had just kept your mouth shut to begin with.



So, in my honest opinion, those are the two main reasons why the indie romance business is so cutthroat. The thing is ... literally, everyone is scared to publish at first. I was - every author I am friends with would say the same thing. It's something new - something you've never done before. It's a sink or swim business, though.



So I can't coddle you, I just have to be honest. Hit publish, and see what happens. Because that's literally the only way to do this business. Jump in with both feet and start swimming. There's no room for dipping toes here, or for someone else to help you swim across the bay of this business. You have to do it - sink or swim, babe.



So yes, that's my advice ... accept the fear, it's really not going to go away. You can either choose to just say screw it, and go ahead with publishinig, or you can keep waiting for something to assuage your fear. Which will never happen.



All right, loves. That's all for this week. Until the next!

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