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SRK: You know what the toughest most frustrating part of writing is?
MUSE: Is it the years you spent drafting, writing and rewriting that six book series that spans worlds? Remember how every time you thought it was finished I’d come up with an even better idea that affected every single book in the series, and you’d have to chop and change every book over and over again? That was so much fun. I know that wasn’t the frustrating part.
MUSE: If you roll your eyes at me again I’ll come up with a story thread that will require you to pull and edit the published books.
SRK: That was just a tick.
MUSE: Was it the two years you spent trying to get that series published in the CBA? Because when I want steamy scenes in novels, you will do what I want, or I’ll put them in your head when you’re kissing your husband—and I know he knows when you’re thinking about racy scenes with Kahtar.
SRK: Hey, that could have worked out with the CBA! Those books tackle good and evil, light and darkness, and Kahtar was even at the crucifixion! You have clans of people who follow the exact same ten laws and some are utopian and some are dystopian! That series is a perfect parable for religion in the real world!
MUSE: And Kahtar is totally hot. I mean an ancient-immortal, totally buff virgin bachelor…did you really think churches everywhere would clamor to put that on their shelves?
SRK: Yeah. Well…whatever. It was only two years wasted. Not even quite two.
MUSE: You’re going to say the most frustrating part of writing is editing, aren’t you? Editing is so boring. You can’t blame editing on your muse. Plus I always try to give you really good story ideas for other books while you and your editor are working, so you don’t get bored.
SRK: Yeah, it’s not editing, but thanks a lot for that. It’s only completely distracting when you do that, I want you to know. Editing requires focus.
MUSE: Whatever. Like being a muse doesn’t. I give up, and you’re starting to bore me with this. What’s the most frustrating part of writing?
SRK: The most frustrating part of writing is after all the work that goes into a book, that so few readers leave a book review. Without book reviews you sell less books. When you sell less books, it’s kinda hard to get the next book published.
MUSE: Writing book reviews is boring. Readers don’t like homework. They bought your book; they read it, why do you have to be so needy?
SRK: I understand that, but they’d like to have the next book in the series and a review makes that happen. Besides, a review doesn’t need to be a book report. One or two lines are plenty. But even getting a reader to do that is ridiculous. Once a friend of a friend asked me to bring them a candy bar from another country and I said I’d bring it if they’d put up a review of my book up on Amazon. (I knew they’d read it! They were pestering me via the friend of a friend about when the next book was coming out.)
MUSE: Did they do it?
SRK: Yeah, and that was the most reliable approach I found to getting reviews. But you can’t bribe people. It’s not ethical. Besides when you give your friend a candy bar to give to their other friend, your friend eats it.
MUSE: Are you telling me we’re not writing the next book in the series together? Is that what this is all about?
SRK: No. I’m telling you why I joined a cartel. It’s a place called Story Cartel, and they have readers who like to write reviews! I made a deal with Story Cartel that they can share my newest book with their readers—and in exchange for that, every one of those readers will write a review of BLANK: A Shieldmaiden’s Voice.
SRK: Actually anybody can join Story Cartel. Readers can download brand new books and books that haven’t even been published yet for free, and all they have to do is promise to read it and write a review within a month.
MUSE: What if they don’t do it? What if they just take the free book and never write a review? What happens then?
SRK: It’s a cartel. What do you think happens?
MUES: Oooo! I like Story Cartel.
SRK: Me too.