Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Want to Maintain Your Writing Career? Treat It Like One. By Karina Fabian, Author of I Left My Brains in San Francisco

Zombie problem? Call Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator--but not this weekend.

On vacation at an exterminator’s convention, she's looking to relax, have fun, and enjoy a little romance. Too bad the zombies have a different idea. When they rise from their watery graves to take over the City by the Bay, it looks like it'll be a working vacation after all.

Enjoy the thrill of re-kill with Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator.

Want to Maintain Your Writing Career? 
Treat It Like One.
By Karina Fabian

Cheryl asked me to write about maintaining a writing career. I’ve been writing for over 20 years – freelance, fiction, sometimes (like now) as a regular job. However, I’m not so sure I have a career. What I seem to have is an obsessive hobby that pays occasionally. However, I do have friends who have writing careers, some of whom are very successful. I can tell you this: the key to having a writing career is to treat it like a career.

What does that mean?

First, treat it like a job. If you want to keep your job, you have to show up for it ready to work. That doesn’t have to mean a 9-5 schedule, but it does mean commitment. A thousand words a day; two hours on the weekend; write this scene before bed, even 9-5… Whatever works for you is fine, as long as you are there and willing to work.

When you have that writing time, write! Produce! How would you feel if your employees showed up just to sit around and eat out of your refrigerator? You are your employee. When it is time to work, do it. And writing can mean a lot of things – plotting, research, even daydreaming about the story. What it doesn’t mean is griping to your friends about how you’re blocked, or playing hours of Candy Crush. As my friend Michelle Buckman says, “Always write when inspired, but don’t wait to be inspired to write.”

Second, treat it like a vocation. If you want to move up in a company, you learn the job – not just yours but the next job you want. You seek opportunities, propose ideas, and keep showing yourself to be a worthwhile asset. You also seek out feedback, especially on your weaknesses.

The same goes for writing. We should keep striving to improve our writing skills, look to others who are in the position we want and learn how they got there, and seek out ways to show our skills to others.  We have to ask for and really consider constructive criticism.

Third, treat it like a business. Successful businesses have some things in common: They know their target buyers. They reach out to those buyers and draw them into the sale. They treat their money as an asset, tracking it and weighing expenses in terms of realistic ROI – return on investment.

Writers, especially fiction writers, aren’t always the best businesspeople. We want to tell our stories, but we don’t want to tell others why they are great – i.e., why they should buy them. In the past, there was a place for such writers. Now, we all have to market. We have to know who our readers are, where they hang out, and what they want to see that will inspire them to click to Amazon to buy our books. We also have to know where our money is going. We have to figure out the best investments, whether it’s in a new writing program, a trip to DragonCon, or a publicist.

I have 11 print books out, and I Left My Brains in San Francisco is my second audiobook. Even so, I cannot say I have a career. I’d like to change that in upcoming years, and am starting now to lay the groundwork for it. (My weak spot is the business/marketing side, but my current job at TopTenReviews is giving me some good training for it.)

How about you? Do you have a hobby or a career? If you want a career, where do you think you need to work? Share in the comments.

Find I Left My Brains in San Francisco at:

See the end of this post for news about the audio book.

We could tell you Karina Fabian is an award-winning author, that she writes science fiction, fantasy, horror, and devotionals (15 books and counting.) It would all be true, but makes for a boring bio. If you really want to learn about her stuff, go to She has book trailer videos, excerpts from her books, and pictures of her dogs and her Mazda Miata, all of which are more fun to see.

However, if you’re interested…

Karina is a native Coloradoan who lives in Utah because she and her family like it better. With 270-degree view of the mountains and the Great Salt Lake, great neighbors, lots of geeky conventions (Salt Lake City Comic Con rocks!), what’s not to love? She works full-time at Top Ten Reviews, where she is a proud member of the business team (Business Badgers, unite!). Honestly, researching mortgage companies and the like is deadly dull, but her coworkers are nerdy and funny. It’s like what she imagined high school would be in a perfect world.

She’s married to Robert Fabian, a retired Colonel, project manager for BAE systems and VP of Propulsion for Rocket Crafters, Inc. She definitely married up! Her first words to him were “Live long and prosper,” and they have been ever since. They have four great kids who love to pun, watch anime, read fantasy and play D&D. Their bedtime stories were often her rough drafts, but no one’s gone to therapy for that yet.

Everyone likes to know about pets! They currently have two dogs: Toby and Marley. Toby, the coon shepherd, is beautiful and soft, and Marley, the lab-basset, is bassadorable. Toby’s favorite pastime is pulling 2x4s from under the porch and running across the yard with them, while Marley dreams of killing chickens. Again.

Oh! And the Miata. Bright red, hardtop convertible… She will drive it in 20-degree weather with the top down. After 21 years of minivans, it was time for a fun car, and it’s the most fun she’s ever had behind the wheel.

Karina is founder and active member of the Catholic Writers’ Guild, and she teaches writing live and in monthly webinars. Check out the website above. She’s always glad to do guest appearances.

Find Karina at:

Becky Parker Geist is the founder and owner of Pro Audio Voices, serving clients internationally as a go-to place for exceptional voiceover for audiobooks, advertising and animation.

After receiving her M.F.A. in Acting in 1981, Becky began narrating Talking Books for the Blind through the Library of Congress, narrating over 70 titles in two years, and quickly became one of their most popular narrators. As a professional stage actress, she has toured internationally (England and U.S.) and on the east and west U.S. coasts. She performs a wide range of voiceover work, but has a particular love for creating audiobooks with sound effects – the more theatrical the better! Becky brings her broad range of theatre skills – acting, directing, producing, marketing – to bear in all her voiceover and production work.

Committed to leadership and building strong, long-term relationships, Becky serves as President of BAIPA (Bay Area Independent Publishers Association) and is a member of IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Assn), APA (Audio Publishers Assn), and TBA (Theatre Bay Area).

Becky is married to classical composer John Geist and has 3 adult daughters: Elise, Jes and Jerrilee. As of 2015, Becky can truly say she is bi-coastal, going back and forth between New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area. She has been having a blast working Off Broadway in NY for the past few years and has been a professional stage actor in the Bay Area since 1985.

Find Becky at:

 ***Talk about frustrating! Karina Fabian’s I Left My Brains in San Francisco would be up on Audible by now, but sometimes, there’s no rushing Amazon. To make up for the wait, she’s offering the first 3 chapters free and a chance to win the audiobook of Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator, the first in the series. Go to Hurry! This offer goes when Audible finally posts the book!***


Karina Fabian said...
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Karina Fabian said...

Thanks so much for hosting me. As you noted, the book is not up yet. Please, folks, come to and let us make it up to you with free chapters and a chance to win a free book.

Karina Fabian said...

It’s here! After a nearly 2-week delay, I Left My Brains in San Francisco is up on Audible. Check it out at