Hello My Name Is . . .

Hello, my name is Lynn Reynolds. I'm new here, so I  hope you'll be nice to me!

I'm a writer, but then, who isn't these days? It's easy now to get a book published quickly or to become a "citizen journalist" (read "unpaid") on the World Wide Web.

Back when I started writing - you know, when dinosaurs ruled the Earth and the Internet consisted of a couple of tin cans held together with string and the magic iPod was just a gleam in the eye of Steve the Great - back then, you had to really work at it to be a writer. You could spend years struggling to get a story published, decades even. And then when it was published in some tiny literary magazine, you got paid in "contributor's copies." These were piles of free copies of the mag that you could give out to your friends, family and random strangers. I still have some of those contributor's copies. Strangely, my landlord wouldn't accept them in lieu of cash for the rent. So I switched from an English major to a Business major, embraced the dark side, and got a real job.

I became a newspaper reporter.

See? I told you it was back when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

Now the Internet is rapidly rendering newspapers obsolete and jobs in the field are almost non-existent. The replacement jobs - writing for Internet content providers - pay almost as well as those literary magazines I started out with around three decades ago. I thought I'd make up the shortfall in income by writing a couple of novels. It takes a long time to write a good novel and it seemed logical to assume that such effort would be compensated accordingly. I didn't expect to become JK Rowling, but I did expect to pay my son's private school tuition.

Okay, all you published authors, out there! Pick yourselves up off the floor and stop laughing right now!

Needless to say - since my books do not involve sparkly teenaged vampires and their sullen girlfriends, I did not get rich off this endeavor. At this point, I think it's a fair bet to say that any profession I embrace is guaranteed to have REALLY LOW PAY as one of its top rewards. I gravitate to low pay enterprises like Snooki to a tanning booth.

But I did get some benefits from writing those novels. First, there was the enjoyment of seeing those fictional worlds come together. Second, I met a great group of new friends at various writing conferences and online through various writer's organizations like SinC and RWA. Last but not least, there's the satisfaction of finishing something and seeing it all the way through to the end.

Some days, I'm not sure whether I'll write another novel. My first, Thirty-Nine Again, is what I like to call a "chick noir" novel - a chick lit mystery. The second is Love Capri Style, a frothy, sexy romance set in Italy. I enjoy romance immensely, but I have a lot of other story ideas that aren't romances at all. Mysteries, young adult and even science fiction.I'm thinking of focusing on them in the future. But it takes a lot of time for me to write a novel - I'm not a fast worker. I'd hate for novels to also be obsolete by the time I finish the next one! Sometimes I think that might happen, since there are so many other ways to be entertained. Yes, ebooks are doing well these days, but the analysis seems to show that most of the people buying them are middle-aged. They're people who were already reading print books and now they've just shifted to reading their books in large type on a Kindle.

Even with the popularity of Harry Potter and Twilight, it's not clear that most young people are spending a lot of time or money on books. After all, they can read as much as they want online for free at any of a gazillion blogs and websites. I confess, even I don't read as many books as I used to. Who has time after reading all those blogs and tweets and Facebook updates??? And books can be so confusing when you're used to accessing things online!

What about you? Do you read a lot of books these days? Are they print books or ebooks? Or do you find yourself reading fewer books and watching talented cats on YouTube?

Lynn Reynolds is a writer, wife and mom - not necessarily in that order. She's a city girl trapped in Green Acres. Her secret ambition is to be a wench at the Renaissance Faire. RT Book Reviews called her "chick noir" suspense novel Thirty-Nine Again, "a first-class mystery and a first-class read."


  1. LOL -- a delightful piece, Lynn! I admit I did chuckle at the idea of making money for your kid's tuition. But the thing is persistence, as your example shows. For most writers, it won't be the big splash, it's a matter of sticking with it, slowly gaining sales and readers. Sometimes I despair, but if I could do anything different, I'd be doing it. :-}

  2. Margery, if I had a more marketable skill I would certainly make use of it! But I'd probably still keeping writing. I think writing is more of a compulsive behavior than an actual talent. Some people are lucky enough to have the compulsion AND the talent. Some just have the compulsion ;-)

  3. LOL. Nice article! I prefer paperbacks, but my kids did get me a Nook for Christmas. I'm a writer, too, and recently had my first novel published a few months ago. Thank God publishers accept E-mail manuscripts because I don't think I would have earned enough money to pay for the postage.

  4. Hi Lisa - that's definitely a good thing about the electronic age. I used to spend a ridiculous amount of money on paper and ink, but that's definitely gone down now! How do you like the Nook?

  5. Hi Lynn. Hmm great article and very thought provoking question. I don't watch talented cats on You-Tube. I do however have a passion for reading, I do it whenever and wherever available. I for reviewing purposes had to get an e-reader and so of course I got a Nook because I moderate one of the on-line book clubs at the forum on B&N.com, but I still prefer the paper book, first because I have a great collection of autographed novels, yours included and anyone who hasn't read Thirty Nine Again has got to in any form. Any way I seemed to have strayed from the question, oh yes.
    I do in some instances re the self published books, but usually only if asked by the author. There are too many of my favorite authors out there and reading for review or book club purposes take up time too. So self publish, yes but self market too. If you ask usually a reviewer will read it for you.
    Good to talk to you Lynn.

  6. Hi Lynn
    Welcome to the Divas! From your first piece, sounds like you fit right in with us craz-- I mean, amazing bunch! :)

    Now on to your question. Books. I'm definitely reading more than before, and that's mostly because I'm mostly into ebooks now. I read them on my laptop or on my phone, and it's much easier for me to read on-screen rather than on paper. Sometimes I even find holding a book in my hands as cumbersome and annoying.

    Once again, welcome on board!

  7. Lynn

    Welcome to the Divas.

    I love the cat picture. No, I don't watch cats on You Tube, but I love kitties. I don't read as much as I'd like because I spend a great deal of writing, you know, that occupation that pays me enough to buy a latte at Starbucks once in a while. I loved the video too. Very funny. I agree that Thirty-Nine again is a great book. I loved it. I have a Kindle and I love that and love reading on it. I have a large TBR pile of paper books and now I've got a virtual TBR pile on my Kindle.

    Fun post.

  8. Since I got my Kindle, I'm reading more than I am writing. And playing an addictive word game I downloaded for free.

    I think there will always be people who want to read a good story. Or watch a cat on YouTube.

    Ann, from the pre-dinosaur era

  9. Debbie and Cara - thanks for the spontaneous plugs for Thirty-Nine Again. I really didn't pay them to say that!

    I can definitely see the advantages to ebooks, since a Kindle is so handy and lightweight. But I do love the look and feel of a real book. Also, I would miss writing things like, "So true!" in the margins.

  10. Hi, Lynn,

    I can certainly empathize with your article here. I too starting writing back in the dark ages with just a pen and paper. Then computers came along and it got so much easier. We didn't need to use whiteout or carbon paper. I would never go back to just paper again! As far as what I read...I love books, but I do have an ereader that I like too. As long as there are words to read, I would read the cereal box!

    Happy writing!

  11. Thanks for dropping by, Ann and Diane! What kind of ebook reader do you have, Diane?

  12. Terrific post Lynn! I agree with you - it is a tough racket! But you know what - a good book is still worth writing and reading. The difference now is writers have to spend 10 x as much time promoting themselves - and the way to do it is online.


    Welcome to our divas world!

  13. I read books. I love the feel and smell of them. I will go kicking and screaming into te digital world.

  14. We have similar backgrounds... I too went the journalist route for a while but novels called me back in the end... I have to say, I like both despite resisting at first... still, there's nothing like the feel of a new book in your hands...


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