After writing Marjorie Diaz, my second book, I’ve run into a lot of issues with Marjorie Diaz being ace. Here are some things I’ve learned and had people say to me post-publication:
1. Nobody knows what “ace” is.
If you use the term “ace” a lot of people are like “wtf is that??” In fact, most people (INCLUDING people in the LGBT space) don’t even know what “asexuality” is. Even in California where I live, in the gayest city in the United States, I’ve had to explain that shit so much.
2. People don’t think asexuality is real
Once I explain what ace or asexual is to people, they usually try to tell me it “isn’t real”. Like, what? Yes, it is. It is very, very real and It is 100% okay not to like sex!
3. People were mad I didn’t have sex in my book
I’ve had a few people get PISSED at me for not having sex in Marjorie.
Like. WHEN WAS I GONNA WRITE A SEX SCENE? I literally mention in CHAPTER 1 that Marjorie is ACE (I say asexual because in my focus groups 95% of people didn’t know what “ace” was).
There was nowhere for me to put a sex scene. A few people suggested I write a scene with Marjorie’s roommate having sex instead, but the great thing about that is the whole book is from Marjorie’s perspective.
It’s like, you write one sex scene in a fluffy novel about nymphs and everyone believes you can write ace characters.
4. “I don’t believe your character is actually ace”
I’ve had several people tell me to my face while reading my book that they “don’t believe Marjorie is actually ace” and oh my God I can’t even begin to tell you how much this pisses me off.
YES. MARJORIE IS ACTUALLY ACE! 100%. SHE IS L I T E R A L L Y ASEXUAL. There is no sex or even really kissing in the book because of this. While Marjorie doesn’t mind kissing, she and Patrick never get around to that part of the relationship.
There’s a reason in book 2, but it hasn’t been revealed yet.
5. Ace people can’t be romantic
This is literally not even true and idk where people are getting this. Ace and Aro are two different things. Though I do think some people include Aro on the ace spectrum, the two are not mutually exclusive.
In fact, in Marjorie Diaz, a lot of the book is about the romance between Marjorie and her chosen love interest, Patrick. There’s no kissing on the lips, but there are kisses on the cheeks, cuddling, hand-holding, etc. There’s so much fluff it’ll rot your teeth.
Yet I was still railed for not having enough romance. There are different ways of being romantic outside of sex and making out.
I mean there’s literally a part where Patrick carries Marjorie to the subway because she has a migraine. I’m sorry you straights don’t experience cute fluff like that.
I was tagged by Lisa Stapleton to write these three things:
1. Where are you at in your writing journey?
I have a novella and a full-length novel published, and a published anthology piece! I have three more books I’m working on that are done and just need edits. Plus, the new Marjorie Diaz book should come out sometime earlier 2019.
2. What advice would you give to young writers?
Don’t be discouraged if you can’t write every day or if you can only write 100 or 500 words a day at first.
Eventually, you’re going to sit down at your computer and be able to write without thinking about it. And eventually, the more you do it, you’ll be able to crank out 1,000 or 10,000 a day!
But it is not without hard work. Writing sometimes feels like a chore or like pulling teeth and you will be stressed out and upset and angry A LOT. But it is so rewarding to put your story out into the world at the end of all that anger and resentment.
3. Things you need daily in order to function as a writer:
Recently I published a tweet talking about how important it is to review the works you read. Every single book your reading deserves a review, whether it’s good, bad, or ugly. You owe it to the author to tell them what you thought.
Another thing I get is “How do I review a book?” or “How do I make my review sound good?”
And honestly, that isn’t something you should worry about. How did the book make you feel? What were things you personally liked or disliked about it?
Reviews are your way of telling the author that you enjoyed something they wrote or to criticize them constructively on things you didn’t like. Or even both at the same time.
It is absolutely 100% okay to write a review that simply says “I really liked this story! I can’t wait to read more from you in the future!”
You don’t have to write a novel. All you have to do is give the author the praise and recognition they deserve.
Formatting might actually be worse than writing and editing and cover design. I mean that with everything in me.
Pro-tip: Before we start, you’re going to definitely want to have all your images at 300 DPI. If you don’t know how to do that, check out this tutorial.
Right now I’m gonna tell you guys a secret. I literally am only releasing my book on Kindle or on Amazon because Amazon makes it a whole hell of a lot easier to format and publish books than anything else.
Before my friend Jay showed me “de way” I was trying to use scrivener which is probably one of the most confusing programs ever. Let’s be real here, it’s a nightmare.
I personally, couldn’t figure out how to
Fix my chapter headings
Fix my page numbers
How to get my front matter to not show up as an actually chapter
How to fix my table of contents
I promise you guys, if you’re new to formatting scrivener isn’t the way to go.
Some authors swear by Vellum, but since Vellum is only for Mac users and since I’m a die-hard PC user with a custom built machine, I probably won’t be using that.
So here’s what my good bro Jay told me.
Format everything in Google Docs, download it as a docx, upload it to KDP and Amazon takes care of the rest. Literally. Amazon will format that shit for you and I 1000% recommend using Google Docs for everything.
My print book was a little more difficult, however. Since in print books you’re required to have page numbers, Google Docs won’t work for that.
See, in book writing, your page numbers should not appear on any front matter pages (things like the table of contents, title page, dedication, and copyright page).Google Docs, in its infinite wisdom will not allow you to have custom page numbers. There used to be an add-on for it, but it was taken down.
So, for print, you’re going to have to use Microsoft Word to get those page numbers right.
Also, a real quick tutorial on print. It is so much different than formatting for Kindle.
With Kindle all you need are:
A front cover
Any graphics you want to put in your manuscript
Your front matter
With print, you’re going to need:
A front and back cover.
Your pages need to be set to the book size you chose.
You can do this in word by going to Page Layout and Selecting Size, Custom Size, and setting your page size.