This is the last book in the Marriage by Design Series.
I really enjoyed this series. I almost didn’t write Lilly Lowell’s romance because it was going to require me breaking into the Regency timeline and disrupting the list. Breaking the Rules, Nobody’s Fool, and A Deceptive Wager come between The Earl’s Inconvenient Wife (Marriage by Scandal: Book 1) and A Most Unsuitable Earl (Marriage by Scandal: Book 2) in the Regency timeline.
Most readers seem to prefer a set timeline that is easy to follow. This is why so many authors plan out their books before they bother even writing anything. Once the plan it set, they also don’t deviate from it. (I’m speaking mostly on behalf of romance authors. I understand why authors writing fantasy and science fiction need to write in order. The series won’t make sense if they don’t.) But in romance, each book can also serve as a standalone. I feature a different hero and heroine in each romance I write. Even so, most readers still like a neat chronological order to follow.
So the question was, “Should I insert a series that takes place between Book 1 and Book 2 of a series I’ve already completed?”
I almost didn’t do it, but then I saw the pre-made cover for Breaking the Rules and inspiration struck, so I decided to go through with it. Looking back, I’m glad I wrote this series. I understand how the timeline of events can get confusing. Lord Edon (Ethan) and Mr. Christopher Robinson are not married yet in these books, but Lord Roderick (Nate) is married. So it can be a bit complicated. I did the best I could to clear up the confusion by inserting an author’s note at the beginning of Chapter 1 of Breaking the Rules and Nobody’s Fool, and so far, I haven’t received any feedback saying it was confusing. *fingers crossed that continues*
Anyway, A Deceptive Wager is the final book in this series. I am going to miss the characters, but I will admit that my favorite parts of this whole series was bringing Ethan and Christopher back for cameo appearances. I don’t know what it is about those two characters, but I just love writing them whenever possible, and it was a blast to see them unmarried again since they were at their most caddish behavior during that time in their lives. 😀
Now that I’m done with A Deceptive Wager, I’m moving back “later” down the timeline. A Perilous Marriage begins a new series which comes after the Marriage by Fairytale Series. so I’ll start going in order again.
If you’d like to get A Deceptive Wager, here is where you can find it:
So I find myself reading another book geared toward writers. The portion I just came to had to do with the hamster wheel syndrome. This syndrome is when you aim for a certain money goal, and once you reach it, you realize you’re stuck because no matter what marketing efforts you’re currently doing, you’re not making more money. All you’re doing is holding steady.
Since the goal is money, you’re in a panic because you want to make more. So what do you do? You run after a new shiny marketing tactic, and it works! Suddenly, you’re making more. Good. All things are set to go. So you run and run, and after a while, you reach another place where you’re stagnant. You’re not losing money, but you’re not gaining more, either. So you’re in the hamster wheel again, and you’re scrambling to find yet another marketing tactic that will earn you more money.
This is a cycle, and to sum it up, this is what it looks like:
After reading through a couple of pages of the author describing this cycle, I had to put the book down and hop on here to do a blog post. I’ve been through this stupid cycle. This led to a burnout so major that I lost all enjoyment for writing. Only looking back on things can I see this hamster wheel clearly. At the time, I didn’t realize the hamster wheel was the problem. It was never the books themselves that dimmed my enthusiasm for writing; it was the pursuit of more money that wiped that enthusiasm out.
I’m going to level with everyone reading this. The sad truth is that no matter how much money you make, it will NEVER be enough. You will always want more because the end goal is money.
Now I believe the author of this book I’m reading loves writing. This author is fun to read, and this author sounds like someone who is fun to be around in real life. So I’m not speaking of the author personally in this post.
I’m speaking about the pursuit of “more money, more more, more money” that is strong in the writing community. This author just outlined why the hamster wheel is so incredibly crappy. I could feel the frustration and fear this author is harboring. I don’t know if the author realizes how transparent those emotions were on the page, but that’s what this author is facing on a daily basis. Despite the awesome sales and acclaim this author receives, there’s always that underlying pursuit of “more”.
This cycle, left unchecked, will kill anyone’s joy in writing. You can keep going as long as you figure out that new shiny marketing tactic that takes you to the next level. Getting to the next level of more money does give you a boost of excitement that propels you to keep writing. But just how many new shiny marketing tactics can there possibly be out there? How fast can you possibly move to keep up with them?
I just don’t see how this can last for a lifetime. I really can’t. This is a hectic pace. I can see how this can be doable for a few years. Maybe it can even last for a decade. But I don’t see how anyone can keep up with this level of angst to earn more money long term while maintaining your passion for writing. Honestly, I think the faster you’re rushing to get books out to make more money, the sooner you’ll hit burnout.
Writing is a creative process. You can’t just MAKE a story idea come to you. You have to get inspired. Yes, you can buy plots. This is big in writing circles. I had no idea just how big this was until last year when I saw several posts on Facebook from writers who were out of ideas and needed plots. There is a market out there for people who want to create plots for writers and sell them. Writers can’t keep coming up with ideas if they never give their brains time to rest. Rapid release + rushing to make more money = little time to come up with new ideas. So if you’re good at creating plots and don’t want to write them, you might want to look into selling plots. The more detailed you can make these plots, the more you can charge.
Back to the post….
At the end of the day, just how much money do you need in order to be happy? I get wanting to pay your bills and make a living. That makes perfect sense. But do you really need a “six-figure income” in order to be happy? I’m not knocking people who make $100K+ income. That’s awesome. What I’m talking about, though, is happiness. Happiness isn’t something you can put a dollar amount on. It’s the “love” of money that I think is the problem. We love money so much that we’ve made it an idol we worship.
I’m not insensitive. I understand the pull money has. I felt it back in 2014-2017 when I hopped up in the hamster wheel. I get how fun “more and more” is. Money didn’t make me happy, though. If anything, the constant pursuit of it ended up making me miserable. That’s why I say that no matter how much you make, it will never satisfy you. I don’t care if you make millions. That isn’t going to magically make you happy.
If you want to be happy, you need to be content with where things are right now. Sure, have goals. I’m all for goals. But I prefer goals that are grounded in things that I can control. No author has control over how many people buy their books. You can lead them to your books, but it’s out of your hands as to whether they buy them or even read them. When you make your goals revolve around things you can’t control, you’ll end up frustrated if other people don’t fulfill them for you. If your goals are things you can control, you’ll feel a deep sense of satisfaction when you accomplish them. It’s all about what you choose to focus on.
The good news is you can choose whether or not you want to be in the hamster wheel. For me, I’ll never go back there again. I’m making way less money today than I used to, but I am happy and I love writing again. To me, the trade-off is worth it. But if the other path is one you want to pursue, more power to you.
I’ve been doing some organization on MeWe and Etsy, and since this stuff is more like “cleaning up my little writer’s house”, I figured I’d lump the information about what I’ve been doing over on these sites into one post.
Author Page on MeWe
I decided to give a MeWe Author Page another try. I originally deleted the one I had because strange men I didn’t know were leaving comments about how interesting the books sounded, even though I knew they weren’t reading them. These are men who are probably looking for a naive woman to give them money. (I’m sure a lot of women have just rolled their eyes because these men are all over social media.) Well, this time, I’m going to stay on top of things. As soon as one of these men pop up, I’m blocking them. I’m hoping that by blocking these men, I can keep the page a pleasant place for people to be. I don’t want anyone associated with me getting bugged or followed by these men, either.
Things you can expect on this page:
I’ll be chiming in with a little tidbit that has to do with one of the books I’m working on. For example, I wrote this while writing Suitable for Marriage the other day: “Erin Larson hasn’t even picked a husband yet, but she and her sister have the details of Erin’s future wedding all planned out. This is right in Chapter One. I think it’s too funny that these sisters are so excited to get married. 😂 This is looking like it’ll be another comedy.”
I’ll also use this page to announce when I have a new book out.
I created this group a long time ago and left it to collect dust since I had NO idea what to do with it. But since my second exodus from Facebook, I decided I should devote some time and effort into this group.
About the group:
Right now, the group is just me and one other writer. Since my mind is pretty blank on keeping up consistent posts in the group, I’ve been searching the internet for videos and articles that I find interesting enough to comment on. For the record, I only pick content I enjoy. So if I post something in the group, it’s because I like what the person had to say. All I’m doing is adding my thoughts to it, and other people are welcome to do the same if they want. Or, if you have a question or some thoughts you’d like to share in the group, that would be great. All topics relating to writing, publishing, and marketing are welcome.
The only rule is no self-promotion. Self-promotion ends up making the writing groups boring, and in the end, authors don’t even show up there. You can share anything that is happening to you in general (like being frustrated during an edit or how you’re having trouble promoting). I just don’t want a lot of, “Hey, this is my book! Buy it here!” kind of posts.
I don’t often get to my Etsy store because of the time involved in putting up a new listing and mailing out a paperback. After the store being vacant for a month or two, I finally got new listings posted. These are all historical western romances. I’m offering autographed paperbacks for $20.
The paperbacks I’m offering are The Accidental Mail Order Bride, Wagon Trail Bride, The Marriage Agreement, Groom For Hire, Falling In Love With Her Husband, Nelly’s Mail Order Husband, His Redeeming Bride, and Eye of the Beholder.
I’m only shipping in the US. The fees are too high for me to do international shipping, and the forms are frustrating for me to deal with. The lady at the post office made me redo the last international form I filled out (since I missed something) and it cost me $30 or something crazy like that to mail out one book. I just can’t go through that again.
But I am able to offer free shipping in the US because I have my own envelopes, small boxes, and will use media mail to lower costs.