Changes in Cambria Hebert Land…
|October 4, 2013||Posted by Cambria under Uncategorized|
So I wanted to write this post to update everyone on some changes that I am implementing. I also kind of wanted to address some things that I have remained very mum on up until this point. Things I never wanted to address but I feel like I have to.
Let me make it very clear right here and now that I do not condone drama. I do not participate in drama. I try my best to be a positive and open person and to treat everyone fairly and with respect. Its the way I want to be treated and I think you all deserve it as well. I also try to be professional because books are my business. Writing is my career. This isn’t a hobby for me. Yes, its fun. Yes, I love it. But it’s also my JOB. This is my source of income. This is my way of contributing to my family.
A little about my past… yes, I have a degree. I have an associates degree in cosmetology (that’s hair and nails and some skin care). Before I went to technical school I went to a traditional college for almost three years in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. I couldn’t make up my mind on a major and so basically I have a ton of credits and no degree to show for them, lol.
Anyway, I married a Marine (as most of you know) and he has a very demanding work schedule. We decided that after I got pregnant with my first child that as long as we could swing it I would stay home until the kids we had were old enough to go to school. Sometimes it was rough but we managed and I wanted to be home with my kids while they were young. As they started to get older I started thinking about what I was going to do when it was time for me to go back to work. Yeah, I could do hair. But in all honesty I didn’t want too. I would likely had to have worked weekends, I would have had to work all summer and then who would watch the kids? My husband could when he was home but with his schedule he is out of town a bit, he works weekends sometimes and he sometimes has to spend nights at work. In short, he isn’t home very much. And since we are military we don’t live near family. In the ten years my husband and I have been married we have moved 5 times. That means I don’t have family or any help to watch my kids. If I was going to get a job I was going to have to send them to daycare. Well as most of you that use daycare you know that its so expensive that even if I worked my entire check would have gone to child care. So what was the point of that?
I saw an ad in a magazine (I like to read magazines, lol) advertising for children’s book writers. You filled out this form and they sent you a test (don’t laugh at me!) and then you mailed it back and they told you if you were good enough to take some classes on writing for children. So I did it. I didn’t have anything to lose. It was a free test. I thought it was a scam, I thought I would fail the test. I put it out of my mind and went on with my life.
Only they mailed me back.
Apparently I passed the test! (Gasp! Imagine that I passed a test to take some classes I had to PAY for – ha ha ha ha ha)
Anyway, I passed and they offered me a spot in a writing course to learn how to write magazine articles for kids (young kids). It was basically writing short stories. I was given a topic and then I did the assignment and mailed to an instructor who then basically edited it and went over it with me. All the instructors were published authors or successful in the publishing field.
(Its a legit Institute, I looked it up later)
Anyway, I took the course, wrote some stories that in all honesty weren’t very good. LOL. One of them was called “Bear in the Bathtub” ha ha ha. I sent a couple article to Highlights and learned about publishing and the submission process to magazines. I got rejected. I didn’t like that. So when the course was over I got offered another spot in another creative writing class but this one promised that I would have a manuscript totally ready for submission to agents. Again, this was for children writing.
and yes, I do realize that I’m sure no one “fails” the test to get into this school. I mean I did have to pay for these classes (which would transfer to a college for college credits) and I highly doubt they would turn away anyone who wanted to pay for a class. That’s beside the point. I was looking at that as a springing board, a way to learn, to get my feet wet.
So I was intrigued at the idea of having a book done and ready for submission. I mean at that time I knew nothing about the industry. It was encouraging for me to have an instructor that I could mail portions of my manuscript to and basically get it edited and get feedback. I kind of looked at it as a test to see if I had what it took to even write a book. (I’d always been interested in writing. when I was a teenager I wrote a book. and I also wrote a lot of poetry).
I came out of that course with my middle grade novel THE SECRET INGREDIENT. It’s only like 150 pages. It took me forever to write, which makes me laugh now but damn it was an accomplishment then! I still have it and I will publish it someday. But I have learned so much in the business I will likely rewrite it because I have since developed my style, etc.
Are you bored yet? I really hadn’t meant to write my life story… I hope I have a point….
I never submitted THE SECRET INGREDIENT to a publisher. I had my son and got busy with a newborn. Then we moved. Writing got shoved to the back burner. When my son was three we moved to NC. I got there in august and my husband left in January for a year long deployment to Iraq. So there I was in a brand new place, new house, new town. My daughter started kindergarten that year and it was just me and my son. I didn’t know anyone and my closest family was 8 hours away.
So I joined a story time group at the library and we went to hear kids stories every week. I volunteered at my daughters school making popcorn and working in the class room. I started to meet people. Faces became familiar. People would waive when they saw me. But also… here I was with a five year old and a three year old. I devoted almost 6 years to home and family. I started to wonder what I might enjoy. Like something for me. Don’t get me wrong I love my kids and my husband and I loved staying home with them. But I guess I wanted more. I wanted to be fulfilled in different ways, does that make sense?
Since my husband was gone and I spent all my evenings at home alone I started to read. and read. and read. Granted, I have always been a reader, I love books. But having small kids made it hard to read. But now my kids were a little older. My daughter was in school and when they went to bed I was alone. I devoured book after book.
Then I started to dream.
I dreamed of a werewolf standing in front of a fire. A man, who was a werewolf. A man who’d seen a lot of crap… he wasn’t alone. He was always around this fire with his brothers… and something was happening. Something that stirred something inside me.
Hey, I never said I wasn’t weird.
One day I decided I was going to write down what I couldn’t get out of my head. The werewolf told me his name. And it turns out the scene I kept seeing was the end of book one. So I wrote it then I started at the beginning and wrote what led him to that point.
I wrote almost 4 books that year. All of them about this werewolf. His name is Thadd. I dreamed about him. I wrote about him. Some days he kept me sane when I missed my husband, when I was tired of taking out the trash and when my kids wanted me to play grocery store for the millionth time.
I kept telling my husband I wrote a book. Then I told a friend. But I didn’t tell anyone else, I was afraid too. I got these looks when I said that. The “Yeah right” looks. or the “You poor thing” looks. No one took me seriously. It made me more determined.
So I sent the book to my husband. He was in Iraq he had some time at night. He read it. He liked it. and I will tell you, he was shocked. He expected a little story. He hadn’t expected a novel.
Then I gave it to a friend. She used to call me at midnight to talk to me about Thadd. She loved him as much as I did.
That’s when the fire started.
The fire in my belly. The passion in my bones. I got butterflies when I sat at the computer. I got butterflies when I wrote a really good scene. I loved going to bed because I knew I would dream something really good. I knew – I knew – in my bones that writing was my passion. I knew that it was what I wanted to do. And that job– that way I was searching for to stay home with my kids BUT still do something that would fulfill me? I’d found it.
I had no idea what I was getting into.
It makes me laugh because if I had known, I might not have done this.
Im glad I hadn’t known.
I started submitting. Agent after agent. Rejection after rejection. No one wanted Thadd. No one wanted werewolves. Someone told me that he thought he could sell my book but he didn’t want too. Someone else told me that they liked the story but it didn’t thrill them enough. Someone told me that no one wanted to read a book in a male POV. Another told me the plot was weak.
Some people (A lot) of people didn’t reply at all.
Yeah I got frustrated. Yeah it hurt my feelings.
It only made me more determined.
Have I mentioned how incredibly stubborn I am??
Even after my husband came home I kept writing. Long about that time I got the idea for the Heven and Hell series. I wrote Masquerade… and I submitted… and got rejected…. when I was part way through Tirade (the THIRD book in the H&H series) I got an acceptance to a small publisher.
It took me 2.5 years to get that acceptance.
That one yes erased all those rejections (I got well over 100).
I knew that I would need to market but I had no idea… so I joined Facebook. I joined Goodreads. I started a blog (over at blogger). I started reviewing for a small publisher to get practice on writing. I wrote guest posts, I moderated a group on GR. I read. I co-hosted a blog talk radio show about books. I talked to people. I listened. I watched the industry. I learned and absorbed as much as I could. I said yes to every single opportunity that was presented to me.
In short, I worked my ass off.
I got taken advantage of by editors. By people. I got pirated (over 20,ooo copies have been pirated and that’s just of Masquerade…)
I’ve cried. I’ve smiled. I’ve been frustrated and I’ve been thrilled.
I won’t ever forget opening up that first box of books and seeing Masquerade look back at me.
Anyway, Masquerade came out in Dec 2011. By June 2012 my publisher announced they were closing. We were in the middle of a move. I remember thinking that everything was falling apart. We were moving (we couldn’t sell our house or rent it so we had 2 house payments), my kids had to change schools, we were starting over again.
And now so was my career.
I decided to go indie because I wanted to be in charge.
I was sick for months. LOL. the stress of figuring it all out was intense. I had to learn how to publish, how to operate dashboards at amazon, smashwords and BN. I had to learn about formats, bank accounts, taxes, marketing, etc. I had to learn about paperbacks, formats, publisher accounts.
In august of 2012 I republished my books under my own name. I kept working. I kept writing. I was beyond dedicated to the Heven and Hell series. I ate slept and breathed that series for YEARS.
It seemed like I was trying to swim uphill in the ocean. I told myself all the time I was crazy. I told myself that I needed to stop writing. Oh I considered it. I considered it a lot. I thought about getting a job at Starbucks – hey you know I love coffee.
I thought about going back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree.
I couldn’t do that.
THIS was what I wanted. I wanted to prove that I could do this. Something inside me wouldn’t let me give up.
Fast forward to present day. Im still writing. I’m still publishing.
Am I glad?
Yeah I am.
I’m not trying to say I made it or anything. but in a sense I have. I am not a NYTimes bestseller, or a have awards under my belt. In fact, Im a very small fish in a very big pond. But I like what I do and I think that I have a base of readers who enjoy my books.
And yeah, I know I’ve been real lucky. My husband works really hard and that’s why I got to stay home and put effort into this. There was a time when I thought I would have to get a job outside the home (hell, I still might have too, I don’t sell that much) but I kept trying and he kept telling me to stick with it. so I did. I still don’t make enough to pay the mortgage but I can help. I’m not saying I had a hard life, or anything like that. This is just my story. This is just how I got to where I am today. (and like I said, I certainly don’t consider myself a celebrity or anyone big in publishing).
So my point… its around here somewhere….
I am sure some people have noticed that I have been putting out books faster lately. Because of that I have been stream lining my process, my social media, etc. I am trying to make things easy and efficient for me to run. This is my JOB. It’s my career and I’m serious about writing. (Im in no way trying to imply that anyone else isn’t, im just stating the way I feel about me)
I really don’t want to have to get a job doing something else. I want to do this. My husband would like to retire in two years, he will have been in the Marines for 20 years. That’s a long time. He’s worked hard. He’s worked A lot of hours. He still plans to get a job when he retires but I want to have some income. I want to take some pressure off, you know?
So. because of all this I am making changes.
I feel like I have been in the business a while. I have learned. I am STILL learning. I learn everyday. I welcome the chance to learn. I will never know all there is to know about this business because its always changing. its always going to be challenging.
Somewhere along the line of going Indie, moving twice in 2013 (yes twice), finishing the Heven and Hell series and starting the Death Escorts series and the Take It off series my life got really busy. and REALLY cluttered.
I kind of lost sight that of the fact that I am a WRITER. Yeah I know that seems stupid. its true though. I spend so much time marketing and doing all the stuff that goes along with writing I forgot to write.
I spent the summer trying to get back into the groove. I did. Its been great. But in order for me to keep up the writing, which I want to do I have to stream line. I have to declutter.
From now on I will NO LONGER be accepting review and donation requests anywhere but on the forms that I made and are listed on this website. I can’t keep track anymore of where I donate, who gets what. The messages sometimes get buried or I don’t see them. Then I feel bad if I forget something. If I have ever forgotten something you were supposed to get you have my sincere apologies. Trying to remember everything is hard. I am only one person.
I will NOT be responding to donation or review requests that come through my email, my FB pages, or any other social media. They MUST come through the form. I am not doing this to be mean. Or snobbish. I’m doing it to make my life easier.
I do NOT review books. I used to but I don’t have the time now. I will no longer be posting guest posts or tour stops or cover reveals. Again, I am not trying to be rude but I don’t have time. I am not a blogger. I am a writer.
I WILL continue to post updates about my books, my cover reveals and things that pertain to my writing. I will also post recipes. Because I like food. LOL
I used to send out a TON of arc’s. For Charmed I sent out close to 90 arc’s. Less than half actually reviewed. I sent out almost 50 for TORCH. Less than half actually posted a review. It comes down to this: I can’t afford to give out so many mass copies of my books for free. I give out ARC’s for a reason: An HONEST review in advance. The sole purpose of an ARC is to get EARLY reviews of a new book so that those reviews can be posted the day of or the week of the book’s release. It helps sales. It helps get a buzz going. When people (Im not accusing anyone) take a free copy then don’t review, that’s not really fair to me. Yeah, I know that readers have a TON of books to read. But. If you can’t provide a review of an ARC by the release of the book you should NOT sign up for the ARC.
I give out a lot of free copies. I gift copies. I have flash giveaways. I participate in events and giveaways. There are other chances to get copies of my books.
So from now on ARC’s will be handed out to those I select. Those I KNOW will leave a review. An HONEST review. They will also be available through any blog tours that I have. So if you are a blogger you can sign up for my tours and get a review copy there. If you purchase a copy of my book and then see it being offered as a review copy somewhere else DO NOT email me and ask me for a copy of my next book for free. That’s not fair. and Frankly, It kind of hurts my feelings. Its like saying you don’t think my books are worth paying for.
Also, just because you got am ARC in the past does NOT mean you will get one in the future. I have limited number of ARC’s and I want everyone to have a chance to get one sometimes. If you don’t get one please don’t email me and tell me your mad. I’m sorry. If you want to read it that much please consider purchasing a copy.
Let me also make it clear that I DO NOT nor have I EVER bought reviews. I don’t. All my reviews are honest. I don’t pay for reviews. When I give a review copy I ask for an HONEST review in exchange and that’s all.
Messages and Emails.
I do my absolute best to respond to everyone. I will continue to do so. However, as mentioned above I will NOT respond to review and donation requests any more. I don’t have time. Please understand that, its nothing personal. I love talking to the readers and everyone, I will do so but if I don’t reply to a message don’t take it personally.
Yeah, there is a lot of drama in the book world. I don’t want involved. I want to write. I want to share books and I want to get along with people. In the words of like every Miss America I ever saw (which hasn’t been lately) I want: World Peace.
Yeah, I’ve heard the talk. I’ve seen some posts. I’m not saying it was all directed at me. I’m just stating what I feel like I need to say. I never planned to just write Young Adult. I never planned to just write paranormal. Yeah I started out with paranormal. I started out with YA. And yes, now I am writing New adult contemporary. guess what? I like them ALL. Yeah, NA contemp is hot right now. Its selling. Yeah, I like making a paycheck. I have two kids. Two kids who like to eat. LOL. I also have all the bills that everyone else in America has. We all struggle. We ALL have hardships. I am in NO WAY saying that my hardships are any worse than anyone else’s. They aren’t. I have a great life. But I’m not a sell out because I started writing NA contemp because the market is demanding NA contemp right now. I’m a business person. No one called McDonald’s a sell out when they started selling coffee and frappes when the coffee craze hit the scene did they? Nope. They went to the drive through and got some. Its called changing with the times. Its called being a business person. I am a small business owner. My business is me. My writing. I happen to LIKE writing NA Contemp. I like paranormal. I like YA. I like suspense. I will be writing ALL of those things in the future. I think it makes me a better writer. I like to stretch my fingers and try new things. I like to keep readers wondering what I will think up next.
I think I’ve proved that I love to give stuff away. I love to show my thanks to all the support I am shown with giveaways, events, free swag and more. I’ve offered bookmarks, book cards, t-shirts, gift cards, books and more. On a regular basis. That stuff isn’t cheap. In fact I still have yet to really turn a profit on my books because I put all my profit into swag and giveaways and shipping. If I told you how much I spent last year at the post office you might have a heart attack. My tax person looked like this: O_0
I will continue to have events and giveaways. However, the amount I donate will be cut back (hence the reason for the forms, so I know what is going where). I am not pointing fingers. I am not calling anyone out. However, when I get messages like this “I want a review copy. Send me one” I get a little upset. as I mentioned, this is my JOB, my source of income. I cannot afford to send out free stuff constantly. Lately I have noticed around the net and me just observing things that the requests for items, for books, etc has really been growing. That’s great! It means that us Indie’s are reaching more people! However, some times when someone is told no an author gets back lash. Sometimes when an author doesn’t respond to a message fast enough (or at all) we get called out. This is really tough. Authors sometimes feel backed into a corner. If they don’t give and give and give we get labeled as “bad” or “snobby”. But the more we give the more we are asked for. There has to be a line somewhere. We often times feel like we can’t say “hey I can’t do this” or hey “that hurt my feelings” because then we get bad reputations. We authors want good reputations. We want to sell books. We want to tell stories. We don’t want to fight. But sometimes I know that I feel like I get taken advantage but its hard to speak up because I fear lash back.
Basically this very long winded post boils down to this. I plan to keep writing. I plan to keep telling stories as fast as my brain and fingers can go. I don’t want to get lost in everything else and forget why I love to write. that is the reason for this post. I want to say once and only once how I feel about things. I want to let every one know there is a reason for the changes I made. The reason is because I am a writer. I need time to write. I have so many characters and stories to share, I need time to share them!
I hope that you all will understand these changes. They aren’t major, they aren’t earth shattering. But I felt I needed to explain. I wanted people to know where I was coming from. I want you all to know that I APPRECIATE all the support I get. Trust me when I tell you… all those times I thought about working at Starbucks. All those times I thought about quitting… one of the big reasons I didn’t was because of the readers. Because of you.
I would never have made it this far and have this many books out if it wasn’t for you readers. Thank you. A million times thank you. I hope you understand where I am coming from.
I will still be on FB (I haunt that place). I will be on twitter, my blog, My new App, I will be on google + and pinterest. I will be around to talk and laugh and have fun. But I will also be writing.
And hopefully, you will still be reading my books.