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December 4, 2018

Michelle Miles: How to make $3 million writing books

Do I have your attention? :)

This post isn't about how to make $3 million from writing books. I don't have the secret formula. Sorry about about the click-bait.

I’ve been writing for publication since 2001. The entire lifespan of my son. I’ve seen the industry change from the traditional houses ruling to indie publishing booming. To Amazon claiming its own stake in the publishing game. The rise and fall of small presses. The downsize of traditional publishing.

I joined RWA in 2004 and was so happy to find a writing home, a place where others understood me. A place where I could make connections with other writers. I was hungry to learn everything from craft to industry. Back then, the contest circuit was the way to go. The only way to catch the eye of an agent or editor. Careers were launched that way (I can think of two off the top of my head).

But things changed. The world changed. The industry changed.

One scroll through my Facebook newsfeed shows me ad after ad of someone hawking their latest get rich scheme. And that’s what it feels like to me. Buy their stuff and make an obscene amount of money writing books!

To which I snort.

I have no doubt in my mind that it absolutely works for some people. I know, in fact, there are several courses that DO work and are well-worth the money. But what about the other ones? The ones with promises of endless money just by publishing a book?

I’m not bashing indie publishing—not at all. I’m not bashing anyone who knows how to make money selling anything. Lord knows I suck at it myself. If you can make a living doing something that affords your mortgage, paper towels and laundry soap, I think that’s great. But I also think it’s far too easy to get caught up in the money of books and not the storytelling of books.

I made the mistake myself. I got so pissed off I wasn’t making money writing, I quit for nearly eight months. EIGHT MONTHS of my life I let slip away, not writing, because I was holding a grudge against…nothing tangible. And so I started sending out queries to agents thinking since I couldn’t afford indie publishing then, by God, I would get in with one of the bigger houses and show them!

Wrong.

Sixty-five rejections later… I said, eff this sh*t.

With four completed novels sitting on my hard drive, I got back to work. I rewrote one of my backlist and got it ready for publishing. Then I decided maybe I could buy cover art a little bit at a time and figure out a way to get some inexpensive editing and put these books back out.

I’d already had cover art for my paranormal shifter romance. I decided it may as well make me pennies than sit collecting dust on my hard drive. I put it up for sale and had a nice initial response, a few good reviews. The more I thought about it, the more I decided I’d give indie publishing another go. But this time, I would not let myself be distracted by the “noise” of social media, the lure of getting a publishing contract. I could still write my books and be happy.

Writing is hard, y’all. There is nothing easy about it, really. Is it fun? Hell, yeah. Is it worthwhile? Of course, it is. Do I feel full-filled when I finish a book? Yes! I also get a little zing of excitement when I order cover art and see it land in my email because I know that means my book has finally come to life.

A little piece of me feels likes I'm giving up on that big dream of getting an agent and writing for a "big" publisher. But the other part of me can't stand the thought of letting those books linger, unpublished and unloved. It took a lot of thought and soul-searching, but I finally decided the only person responsible for how I feel about my writing, how successful I think I am, is me. I'm not abandoning my ultimate dream altogether. I'm just modifying it.

So here’s what I think. Do your thing. Write your words. Tell your stories. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing or listen to the social media noise or worry about the almighty dollar. Be informed, YES. Stay on top of the industry changes, ALWAYS. Know your readers. Know yourself!

Find your worth and keep writing.

November 15, 2018

Blog: Happy Release Day for Whispers of Winter, a holiday anthology #fruitcakelovers #romanticcomedy #MFRWauthor

HAPPY RELEASE DAY!!

Whispers of Winter holiday anthology which includes my romantic comedy short story, The Great Fruitcake Bake-off.
When five-time champion Samantha Greene teams up with her new neighbor, Dixon Roberts, for The Great Fruitcake Bake-off, they discover baking a prize-winning entry is complicated, bad guys are plotting to take the crown, and first prize isn't just about a ribbon.
“I’m not entering this year.” I pinned an unbreakable stare on Bethany, my co-worker and long-time friend who lived in the same apartment complex as me. Standing firm, I crossed my arms. “Period.” 
We'd arrived early for work and were piddling over coffee in her cubical like we always did before diving into the nuts and bolts of company business. She rolled her eyes in the “I'm so not believing this” fashion and tweaked the Santa garland decorating her cube's walls. “Why not, Samantha? You should be proud to be the five-time winner of The Great Fruitcake Bake-off. You're a-a”--her words trailed off as she searched the ceiling for the ultimate in descriptive--“legend.” 
         I dropped my arms to twitch my black skirt in place, then I tucked my shoulder-length hair behind my ear. I let loose a long exhale, “Is being a legend in the fruitcake world a good thing?”
“What’s your point?” Bethany asked.
“Alright already, it's exhausting. Finding the perfect recipe, then bake and exhibit it. The tension comes close to killing my holiday enjoyment. Besides”-–I shoved my finger in her direction—-“shouldn't the love be spread? Shouldn’t somebody else win the Bake-off?” 
         “Oh, by golly, Sam.” Bethany's hands covered her eyes. A few seconds passed, then she clasped them to her chest, inhaled, and composed her annoyance before saying, “We're talking fruitcake here. It's not groundbreaking like-like the Declaration of Independence. Or the Pyramids.”
Find this one and many other great stories at:





November 13, 2018

Michelle Miles: NaNo



I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I mean like really participating. Not just signing up and then ignoring my book for the next 30 days.

(For those who may not know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month during November where you write 50,000 in 30 days AND survive the Thanksgiving holiday!)

Anyway…I decided to get off my duff and start working on book two in my Dragon Protectors series. I really hadn’t intended to start writing that book yet but when I put the first one up for preorder and it started getting a good response, I figured I better get on it. I even went so far as to go ahead and upload a preorder over at Draft2Digital and gave myself six months to complete it and get it ready for sale.

I can do this.

I sat down and read through the first few pages I’d already had and realized that the story wasn’t half bad. I was kind of impressed.

And then my friend and fellow princess, Elizabeth Essex, mentioned there was a NaNo support group over on FB and invited me to join.

So, I did.

I can totally do this.

I found the ladies over there were posting their daily check-ins with word count and rewards. And so I started writing my butt off.

I sat at the keyboard one Sunday night and hammered out 2100 words. And then I got the 5-day streak badge from NaNo.

Yes, yes. I can do this.

When I logged into NaNo, I also noticed I’d hit the 1,677, 5,000, 10,000 and 25,000 badges. At the time of this writing, I’m hovering at around 28,000 words. I really want to hit that 40,000 mark so I can earn that next badge.

I can tell you with complete confidence, the book is crap. But, hey, I can fix crap. I’m just gonna keep on keeping on.

I'm doing this.

October 18, 2018

Blog: Quilting Magic with Ties #holidayanthology #crafting #readromance


A lot of you know I call my husband Handsome. When we first married, he gave me a card signed with Handsome Husband. I shortened it. (And Handsome is a pretty nice looking guy. )
I grew up when working men wore suits to their job and to church, to shows, etc. I like the look. Handsome’s career began at a large accounting firm and he wore the “uniform” too. He especially liked ties and for a long time, never threw any away.
An employee at his company makes quilts. After a chat, he decided to have one made into a quilt. Take a look:

He had her put on the back his philosophy about ties: 












The good news is he culled through his ties again and had a second quilt made, and a third one: 



Here’s the sash detail and labels:

Some people are soooo creative.
Creativity abounds in this holiday anthology, the Whispers of Winter, featuring my romantic comedy short story, The Great Fruitcake Bake-off: 






October 2, 2018

Michelle Miles: Crafty Crafts

I’ve been in a bad funk with the writing lately (mostly ignoring it) so I decided to turn my attention elsewhere.

Most of you know I do other crafts. I opened my first Etsy shop to sell my handmade cross-stitch ornaments. I stitch A LOT of Santa faces. They are so cute. But I’m expanding and doing other little ornaments.

Stuff like this:
And this:


All these will be post in the shop soon! Shameless plug: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Houseof1000Stitches

In addition to that, I’ve discovered mason jars and how fun they are to paint. I started out simply, too. With these little handmade soap dispensers.


Now I’m painting wine bottles. I’ve got my first attempt going on right now but it’s not finished. Right now, it’s just painted with primer and kinda boring.

I also made this cute candy cane striped mason jar as a vase.


I don’t think I’ll sell the jars since they take so long for me to make BUT I do love making them. I have a whole case of mason jars to experiment with.

Most writers I know have other creative passions. I think it’s that creative brain we have.

Do you do arts and crafts? What do you like to do?

September 20, 2018

CUT! Costumes in Movies, part 4 #historicalromance #moviecostumes #readromance


From the CUT! Costumes in Movies exhibit, I'm focusing on evening gowns. And are there some doozies:


Who loved to play dress up? Me! Once, I went to a tag sale when I was about ten and for a very small fee, I bought a dark blue evening gown. I just loved it. Today is our last look at CUT!! and I'm featuring evening gowns. 

From Phantom of the Opera, we have this lovely pink creation worn by Emily Rossum as Christine:

Isn't it gorgeous? Love the shade of pink, how the train is gathered and embellished with flowers and ribbons.

Have I said how much I LOVE red? This stunning red dress was worn by Laura Flynn Boyle:
A little art deco flavor, slimmer silhouette:
And lastly, a slinky dress and suit:

August 16, 2018

Plotting Princesses: Vicki Batman - You know what’s really annoying? #MFRWorg #readromance #householdchores



I try not to be a gripey person. I take on tasks I dislike and finish them. There is one household chore I really dislike, and I think you’ll be surprised when I say... 

Changing out the toilet paper tube for a fresh roll.


Yep, the springy thing bouncing all over the room, getting on hands and knees and finding it, and pushing all just so to get it back in the holder drives me crazy. I wish I had installed the kind where the roll slips over the rod.

Silly, isn’t it?