Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Two Author Household

by Guest Blogger Sarah Glenn

Last year, my wife, Gwen Mayo, had her first novel published. This month, my first novel hit the stores. After years as wannabe writers, we have finally hit The Big Time... together.

There are some huge plusses to being a two-author household. The biggest advantage, I think, is an understanding of one another's plight. Neither of us thinks that the other is crazy for complaining about people who aren't real or falling into a blue funk (or language) over writer's block. I keep hearing about creative types getting divorced, though, so this blessing may be unique to us as a couple.

We are the first beta readers for one another's work. Once again, your mileage may vary. It helps if you have different strengths. Gwen writes wonderfully detailed, gritty mysteries. She's strong on plot, and she asks questions that help me get my own plots on track. My gifts run more along the lines of dialogue, commas, and correcting homophones. I'm also good for emergency reformatting at deadline.

This year, we're pooling our talents in promotion. Gwen's better with money and print media, while I'm better with online stuff. I set up our websites and started promoting us on Twitter and Yahoo lists. I ventured into Second Life, where we're meeting other writers and learning how to promote books in a virtual world. Gwen creates bookmarks and posters for our novels, flyers and invitations for our events, and buys advertising. When it comes time for book signings, we share the burden: one of us handles the money while the other one presses the flesh.

That's the good part. Then, there are the disadvantages. When we're both on deadline, we can't always beta read each other’s guest blogs. Deadlines also make both of us testy, never good for marital amity.

The biggest downside we've found so far, though, is touring in two different genres. Gwen's novel is historical mystery, mine is vampire comedy (yes, a true Working Stiff). I do write mysteries, but the vampire tale is the book I got published. Gotta roll with it.

Some conventions overlap. In June, we're both reading at the 7th Golden Crown Literary Society Conference, which is a lesbian fiction convention. We've got that one covered. We're also both speaking at the FandomFest Weekend in July.

Not so good: Bouchercon. No room for vampires there, but I'm tagging along anyway. It's not like the accommodations will be less expensive if I'm not there. Ironically, the one mystery promotion I'm doing is for Fish Tales: The Guppy Anthology, but Gwen's not in that collection.

Touring is also a huge money drain. We’re making our credit card company very happy right now. My advice: pay up front for as much as possible. Pay the credit card down every month. DON'T develop plumbing problems or car trouble.

One last problem involved in a double tour: our families. Traveling is chewing up our vacation hours big-time. We're making a special detour in June to see the Glenn Diaspora in Florida, but won't have any extra time available on the Fish Tales trip to visit the rest of my family in their home state (NC). I expect to be on the outs with most of my kin by Christmas.

It's a great ride, though. Even if we end up flat broke with no sales, there will never be another year like this one. Fortunately, we still have day jobs, so we are a two income household.

About Sarah Glenn: I have a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Kentucky. I’ve held a number of entirely unrelated jobs since that time: I worked as an art intern at the billboard company, as an NCIC operator for my local police department, and as a teaching assistant for medical terminology. I like to write mystery and horror stories, especially when they include a sidecar of funny. I am an active member of Sisters in Crime and Guppies.

All This and Family, Too is the story of a lesbian vampire who moves into a gated community and discovers the true meaning of horror. Will she survive the experience with the mixed blessing of a loving but dysfunctional family?

My novel is available on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kindle, and Nook.
Gwen's book can be found here.


Annette said...

Welcome to Working Stiffs, Sarah. It's been an honor to be a part of the Fish Tales project with you. Since my husband has absolutely NO understanding of the writing process, I can't imagine what it would be like with TWO writers in the house. Glad you and Gwen are making it work.

PatRemick said...

Welcome Sarah! I have a two-author household, too, and it's difficult to imagine what it would be like NOT to be in one as my husband and I have been editing -- and improving -- each other's work for 35 years now! But we have discovered we CANNOT write fiction together -- unless we want to risk divorce.

Ramona said...

Sarah, what an exciting year in your household! Congrats to you and Gwen.

My husband is a journalist. Doesn't read fiction.

Gina said...

Welcome to Working Stiffs, Sarah. I'm single with two cats - if either one of them starts writing or critiquing I'll run screaming from the residence!
Seriously, best of luck. If I had relied on my ex- as first reader, we might have gotten divorced years sooner than we did.

Patg said...

Trouble commenting.

Patg said...

Oh, finally. Welcome Sarah. Good luck with your promotion.
I love vampire stories.