Tag Archive | comfort zone

Stop Being a Stodgy Writer – Get out of your Comfort Zone and Move into 2014!

ebookEvery generation complains about the generation before it. With the publishing industry, it’s no different. I swear if I’d tried to publish what I have now twenty years ago, my books just may have been picked up by a big six. (or so I tell myself as a pep talk) I think at the very least I’d have had some agents vying for them. Of course I wouldn’t have had social media to rely on at all but I think the environment was very different. There were less writers and more brick and mortar stores. Places like online bookstores just didn’t exist.

So here’s where we need to change our thinking. The world has changed. It is now viral. You may think you don’t need to jump on board, but that’s a big mistake because these kids you think you don’t need to reach now are going to be immersed in this medium… well, forever. Social media is where you advertise and meet people. This is the way of the world and this is how it is changing. It’s time for writers get out of their comfort zone. This is not the 70’s or 80’s. Saying “sorry, I’m old school and only read paperbacks” is just plain silly talk. It’s 2014 and the world has forged ahead. You can get on a plane now, or travel with a small electronic device and have literally a 1000 books on it that you’ve downloaded.

But there are downsides to this as well – as authors well know. The changing industry has also changed reader’s perceptions. Many think “well, I’ll just wait for the book to be free or just 99 cents.” That hurts a writer’s ability to make a living, for sure. But this is the way of the world and you see this very struggle happening with the big publishing companies on how to get people to actually spend money on books. It’s why they are limited now with taking on debut authors. They desperately need to know that the books they promote will actually sell. So that’s why you see the same celebrities getting book deals (or ridiculous ones like the Kardashians). Or famous authors who just put out book after book. They have a built in fan base and it’s a surer deal than taking on someone that is an “unknown.”

But, there are places for the unknown to shine, and self publishing is it. But it comes with its own set of rules and struggles. With Amazon now doing unlimited monthly readership memberships (which I think is actually pretty cool for a reader, though pretty tough for a writer) it changes the playing field again. Still, we need to look at this with an open mind. The publishing environment today will most likely look very different in ten years. Just look at the last ten years to see what I’m talking about.

I’ve got Book #2 in my FLYING series coming out August 30th. I’m going to try to do a free book promotion with a company I’ve never used before. The concept of PAYING money to offer a free book is a startling, and quite uncomfortable, concept for me and is definitely out of my comfort zone, but this entire past year I’ve done nearly everything out of my comfort zone. I did a Vlog where I talked about comparing publishing to growing pumpkins (and boy, did I obsess about what I’d look and sound like), I’ve done book signings, author chats, put out my novels knowing that once they went into the world, the critiques would begin. But the fact is, if you want to be heard, you have to yell.

So I leave you with this. Stop being stodgy, go into things with an open mind. Don’t worry if you don’t know at first what you’re doing – just try it. I assure you, age is never a limit to what you can learn if you just try. Don’t miss the boat simply because you refuse to get on the water. Do that and you’ll never go anywhere.

And for folks who would like updates on when my books will be free or when new releases are coming out, please sign up for my e-newsletter here: http://www.elysesalpeter.com/contact.html

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone… and not just by writing in a different genre….

Lamb testicle and deep fried beef genitalia

Lamb testicle and deep fried beef genitalia

I attended a Gastronaut dinner the other night. What is a Gastronaut you might ask? Well, it’s a person that likes to try unique foods that normally you wouldn’t eat on a day to day basis.

I would like nothing more than to travel the continents and eat street food. I firmly believe that a people’s culture is learned and experienced through their food. What is weird and uncomfortable to us Americans is very well the norm in other parts of the world. Cow’s feet, Goat’s and Lamb’s heads, brains, sweetbreads, land snails, tripe, fried genitals (the pictures in this post are from that particular dinner where innards and genitalia were the focus of the meal) – these are all things that are eaten regularly in other cultures. When people are poor, it’s not like you have a great Kobi steak lying around or a stack of gluten-free pancakes – you eat what you have – if it’s a lamb, you eat the entire thing. And I’m talking about the ENTIRE thing.

The other night the dinner was at a fantastic greek restaurant called Loukoumi in Astoria and besides great salads, and dips and octopus/calamari and other foods, they made us roasted baby lamb’s head. I posted a photo of it on Facebook to shock everyone, and I got the response I was expecting. I actually didn’t post it on this page because it was so disturbing to some folks they actually hid the photo. Out of respect for my readers who’d like to “keep their lunches intact” I decided to show some other photos instead. But we must remember, to 82 million Greeks, this is not a crazy thing to eat – it’s peasant food. Since I am not going to be able to go to Greece or Nigeria or other places soon, these special dinners are the closest thing to me finding authenticity in a people and to learn about them. I just don’t want to go through life scared and afraid just because my American senses have programmed me to be leery of certain things. That’s not to say I loved this dish. The tongue had a weird texture, the eyeball was chewy, and the entire head was fatty, but I tried it. And, the Greek kid across from me said his mother makes it every single lent.

Cold Platter, Beef Tendon, Chicken Heart, Beef Tripe, Tofu Skin, Quick Pickle, Headcheese

Cold Platter, Beef Tendon, Chicken Heart, Beef Tripe, Tofu Skin, Quick Pickle, Headcheese

I want to open myself to different things and new experiences and I believe everything I do will help me grow and become a better writer. If I can’t physically travel to exotic locales, why not try it right here in the United States where there is a melting pot of amazing restaurants and cultures?

So I implore everyone – be adventurous, get out of your comfort zone. I’m not saying go jump out of a plane (but, by all means do if you really want to), but go find an authentic new restaurant nearby. Go eat octopus, try a chicken foot, eat a grasshopper, go eat Peruvian food, Greek food, Turkish Food – go LEARN something new. I guarantee you – everything you do and try will make you a stronger person and hopefully our experiences will make us stronger writers.

What do YOU do to get out of your comfort zone? I’d love to hear.