This week, Rebecca Tsaros Dickson, perhaps better known to the blogging world as “Thinking Too Hard,” is featured in my Debut Author Q&A series. Truth be told, I have been a fan of Becky’s writing since I stumbled upon it through Twitter earlier this year. She writes with what I like to call “poetic honesty,” and her ebook, published yesterday, is a compilation of her soul-bearing, often erotic blog posts.
Name: Rebecca Tsaros Dickson (aka Thinking Too Hard)
Name of book: I Could Tell You Stories
Date Published: November 1, 2010
Publisher: It’s all me, baby. I wrote it. I designed it. I published it. I am marketing and selling it. This is one case where I really did the whole thing from beginning to end.
What is your book about? The book is not character-driven, but thought-driven. It presents slices of emotionally-laden times in everyone’s life. Love, lust, loss, heartache.
Most challenging part of the writing process: Gosh, the writing process is so much fun to me. In terms of putting a book together, I struggle with choosing which pieces to include. I vacillate between thinking they’re all crap and they’re all good.
What motivates you to write? It’s in me. Always has been. I have to write in as much as I have to breathe. You could also argue that I just have too much to say.
Did you experience writer’s block? I’m lucky that I have never had true writer’s block. As a reporter, you’re not allowed to have it. I’m conditioned to write through whatever stumbling blocks my mind presents: Acknowledge the difficulty, and then write anyway. Deadline is paramount. As long as you’re putting words on the page, clarity is bound to come.
How long did it take you to write this book? I started in December 2009, but didn’t realize this would become a book at the time. I just wrote how I felt about life and men and family. Then suddenly, I had this great pile of vignettes, and I thought, well, why not?
What was your favorite aspect of the writing process for this book? The creating. Whether that’s the stories, the cover art, the pagination – I am highly creative. That process makes me feel alive.
You decided to self-publish this work as an ebook and then chapbook. Why? First and foremost because this book is my baby. No one knows its intricacies and strengths better than the author. But also because no one is going to fight harder to make it a success. This is a piece of my soul that I am sharing. You know, I didn’t even bother to see about an actual publishing house. I was just compelled to take care of this book myself. It’s too personal to leave to a stranger to promote.
As a self-publisher, pricing your book is an important decision to make. Your ebook sells for $15. Tell me how you arrived at that number. Typical ebooks sell for anywhere from $2 to $10. This book isn’t typical. It’s heavy on art, and it goes with music. So I had to decide how much that benefit would be worth, in addition to my words. Fifteen dollars felt right. Especially since I give 1/3 of each book sale to my “affiliates” — some of my totally amazing friends were interested in promoting my book, so I created an affiliate program for them. Every book they sell gets them $5 each. It felt a whole lot better to be able to give them something back for helping me.
What is the biggest misconception about writing a book? That you can’t do it. That it’s nearly impossible to effectively write one, but also to promote it. This experience taught me that is an absolute crock. If you write well – if your book is good – you will create the market. That’s a little principle I learned from Danielle LaPorte, actually, in her FireStarter Sessions: Be authentic. Be who you are. Create your own beauty. When you do that, you’re inherently passionate about your work. It creates energy, a whole goddamn forcefield of it. And the excitement spreads like wildfire. I’m here to tell you, it’s 100 percent true.
Do you plan to do this again? Hell, yes! My entire life, I’ve had an excess supply of words. I always have something to say, and I’m not shy about saying it. Writing is a natural and positive outlet for that.
Oprah has famously said that there is no such thing as luck, without preparation and a moment of opportunity. Would you agree or disagree with regard to your own success as a writer? I agree, surprisingly. I don’t think it was luck that landed me a job 10 years ago at the #1 small daily in New England. I don’t think it was luck that made me a tenacious reporter and, later, meticulous editor. You get out what you put in – always. And that really goes back to what I said before about what Danielle LaPorte’s book taught me. If you’re being true to yourself and producing quality work, you will naturally be passionate about it. Passion creates energy and drive to succeed. It’s also infectious.