What It’s Like to Write

Updates on Novel Crafting, Vella, Ream, Substack, Medium, and other Writing Adventures …

Rachel D Adams
13 min readMay 16, 2024
My little collage of pictures… by Rachel Adams

I am a writer and an author. I’m stating that because some people think there is a separation. I feel like that’s the furthest thing from the truth. If you are an author, you write. If you are a writer, you could easily become a published author. It’s all about your plans and which direction you head.

I’m both. I always was both. It was always part of the plan.

People want to know the “plan” and so do I.

Please tell me. I’m listening.

I feel like the only failure is if you stop. Why? Because then you’re not even trying. If you don’t try you’re going to fail. Right?

I’m not stopping. But I’m taking breaks here and there. I’m taking some breaths. I’m keeping burnout at bay by doing this.

I thought I’d share some of the insanity that is trying to make a decent go of this writing career.

Book covers promo I made… because I make my own stuff… Rachel Adams

Novel Writing Plans

The current series is my urban fantasy & paranormal romance coauthored with Dawn McClellan. We’ve been writing these stories for over 20 years and now have two urban fantasy novels published and three more on the way. The third book is being finished and handed over to alpha readers. I hope to release it like all the others in the larger series — by the winter holiday season. The other two will probably be out by the end of 2025.

I’ve learned some important things along the way with this series. From a marketing standpoint, it ticks off a lot of boxes. Unfortunately, a lot of audiences only want one box ticked off. Or they want only their favorite tropes and to them, anything more is a waste of their time. They’ll literally skip past it. This is kind of sad for me. However, it’s the state of some readers’ minds right now.

I love all kinds of relationships, so I have all kinds of relationships in my novels. In this particular series, the leads are a pansexual dragon shifter and a gay human. Other characters get the secondary plotlines in each book. Those characters are everything in the rainbow and then some.

I knew it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I hoped it might be everyone’s shot of whiskey. I admit being biased, thinking that more folks into MM/BL would enjoy our main characters while also enjoying other relationship dynamics like Why Choose and Polyamory. Instead, many readers want only one of those in a story, not more.


The prequel series comes from Dawn and I trying to piece together the past stories of our urban fantasy characters. We have two published and will publish the reader magnet and the last novel in this series by Spring of 2025.

These books are also all over the place when it comes to relationships. What has hit us hard in marketing is that the books are very different from each other. The main connection is that each book carries us through the past life and loves of our dragon shifter main character.

The differences are not just in the relationships, but also in the sub-genres. The setting shifts between the portals, making two novels more fantasy/fantasy romance/romantasy. Then, the other two novels are historical fantasy set in an altered version of our world in the 1830s — 1850s. So, marketing is still quite a challenge!

I do not recommend this kind of writing if you want an easy time marketing your novels. It’s just that these are our favorite stories and we wanted to give them to the world first. Maybe the proper audience will find our books and they will take off. I know we are trying our best to find that audience. Or… more of that audience!

No matter what, if you are an author, you should understand that making this a career means being in it for the long game.

The next project in this world will be shorter novels crafted about specific characters we introduce in the primary set of series. If things go well, we will continue into another urban fantasy series with a new plotline, using the same main characters. Along the way, we want to introduce these side characters and give them their stories.

These will begin as Ream Stories — a subscription service for readers and writers of fiction. Some will end up behind a paywall eventually, and then get released in a staggered schedule on Kindle Vella. Others will become exclusive to Ream Stories for subscribers.

Me and my coauthor… goofing at an event. She lives in Texas and I live on the east coast of North Carolina. So worlds apart! We love being able to get together. pic by Rachel Adams

All of this depends on the success of the first series and the prequel series. These were our passion projects so we don’t mind sharing them with the world. If we can make a side income from it, all the better, don’t you think?

My coauthor and I are sharing events we would like to attend as vendors for our books. We have plans for events and direct sales because we have made a good profit (which helps pay for our future cover art and future purchases) in the last two. I’m setting up direct sales for my website this weekend.

I have an epic fantasy along the lines of Dungeons & Dragons that I want to begin work on soon. I already have it outlined and at least half of it written. I‘ve just tucked it away for a few years. It needs to be dusted off. So… that is my new shiny for next year, so long as all goes well.

My banner for some of my Ream Stories… Rachel Adams

Serial Plans

As you can see from the reading above, I still have plans for Kindle Vella. My article happened when Kindle Vella made changes in their service previously this year. The change made stories I already had worthless to me. And Vella was how I funded my first few book covers. So I was disappointed.

For more information, here is my original article —

I felt like I should give you some insight into what many authors are doing and what I plan to do for both serial platforms I use. Ream is subscription-based and Kindle Vella is token-based.

People are still making money on Vella. I plan to do so as well, but I removed my current stories because of the size. You see, I want to give the readers their free preview, but nothing more. Authors put a lot of work into these stories for their audience. They deserve a fair price. Also, I will be whittling my episode size down to fit the simplified token payment. It will be more than fair for my readers while allowing me enough royalty to pay for my time.

Also, I will be posting these episodes to my Ream Stories subscription service FIRST. Ream is very much like Patreon, but with two differences that are very important to me. The development team is extremely active within the community. And second, there is a free tier, called the “Follower” tier.

I and many other authors use Ream Stories as a beta testing field. I have tiers for folks, but I release my companions series to followers for free to get feedback. Each tier beyond that is a paid tier. The subscribers get so many wonderful perks from those — the Vella-coordinating stories coming to it, the exclusive deleted or changed scenes, a tier for literally watching us edit the latest WIP, tiers for exclusive-to-Ream stories, and finally a couple of tiers that include physical materials.

Things are easier if you bring your own audience or market it heavily at first to find the readers who are happier with a subscription-based platform. I’m working on this.

Photo by Anna Demianenko on Unsplash

After the episode has been on Ream for two weeks, I will add it to Kindle Vella. Adding the crossover stories to Ream first is one of many incentives to pay the subscription. I will also provide them with other incentives (character artwork, the ability to comment on stories as we write, access to deleted scenes, etc).

This still keeps with Vella’s rules. This provides two platforms for promoting your stories that work in unique ways. One is a subscription system, and the other is a token system. One does not have an already available audience (it’s growing) while the other does.

If folks prefer Vella, they’ll have to wait a bit, but I will get the stories there.

If you do that and promote it, you can make some money, still. Some authors with a huge following have found continued success, though they have admitted to losing profit. For one thing, these changes might have helped readers comprehend what they were getting for their coins, but they lost a lot of authors. And authors lost a lot of bonuses.

For another, Amazon Vella is still only available in the continental United States. This was supposed to change by now. To be honest, readers in other countries are much more accustomed to the serial format than readers in the U.S. — so why is this taking so long? If you already have a digital presence in other countries, I wonder what legal maneuvering you need to do to get Vella allowed as well?

So far, Amazon has been quiet about this.

One of my banners for the non-fiction side of my writing — Rachel D. Adams

Author Adjacent Plans

All this was supposed to lead to a full-on author/writer career. I didn’t want to have to do anything else but what I loved doing. Turns out, I also love helping other authors. That can be beta reading for them, critique reading, or helping them with blurbs.

Well, I’ve kinda-sorta turned that into a side hustle. Yeah, I’m good at it. Why not use it and get paid appropriately? Sure, I still do trade-offs with other authors, but I also have forms written up for people who want to hire me.

Right now, I’m also helping the hubs with critique-reading his WIP.

I boost authors in my newsletter and my social media. I have a network of other authors who will boost their fellow authors, too. I will offer it as a paid service, but for now, I do this because I want to see other authors succeed.

Speaking of things I love doing to help other authors, I volunteer for AWC (the Authortuber Writing Conference). It’s coming up in June. Also, I teach other authors about the barriers and possible pitfalls they may encounter on their publishing journey.

My Substack … and I share advice and helpful things from other people, too!

I opened a Substack that feeds into this need to teach…

Because of how Substack is made, it is a wonderful way to not only spread the word about your thoughts, ideas, and business; it can also help boost your other platforms. In particular, my focus is on Medium.

I began writing content to help other writers on Medium. I have it all collected into a LIST there — Writing and Productivity. I am going backward, taking older articles and reviving them through Substack. Therefore, they are not the same article, but I can link to the original article in Medium.

Why do I promote Medium like this? Because it’s practical for those of us without a lot of money to spend. I would rather purchase a Medium Membership to benefit multiple authors while giving me access to all the content there, over subscribing to one Substack and being limited to only what one writer offers. But that’s just me.

Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

Blogs Are Still Making Money — Plans?

Under the umbrella of WTC Creatives, the hubs and I are not just publishing my books, but also running blogs and handling web design.

Google has killed the traffic normally going to well-written and well-researched blogs. It’s true. Now that they have their AI on their search engine, they use the data they scraped from all of our websites (without permission) to give answers to questions and keep the researcher on Google instead of directing readers to the proper blogs. You know… where they got the information in the first place.

It’s disgusting. But it is what it is.

Backyard Boosts is making enough money to pay for itself. We keep track of it, but I don’t have time to continue writing blog articles. I’d be happy to host articles from other people who have a passion for urban and suburban gardening and landscaping. However, I will not be adding more.

Untapped Sound is also making enough money to pay for itself. This was my passion project and I‘d like to continue. I’m considering opening a matching publication on Medium and then pointing to the original website as a place to find more information. Perhaps I can set up something similar to what I’m doing for Substack here? I have it on my planning list.

Medium would be fine with me republishing my articles (updated of course) to the publication so long as I insert the publishing information in the back data. I can then accept stories from other writers about their favorite, non-mainstream musicians. I also need to update some of the content on the website (product content for instance). It’s a plan.

Under WTC Creatives, we also have new directories in the making! Explore Onslow is our first little project. I’m hoping it does well. My hubs is talented with these sorts of builds. He built the web design website, my writing website, as well as several others this year. So that business is always something to keep going. For me, I help market it and I write ad copy for it.

Other Stuff I Do…

I’ve always done creative things on the side. Now I monetize things that I know will help others. I don’t expect anything in return. I offer most of it for free and give the person receiving the option of how much they want to donate to my work. If someone can’t afford to pay for these things now, they might remember and come back to my Ko-fi later and give me a donation.

No matter what is offered, I appreciate it.

I will offer things in the future through direct sales via my website. I’ll hopefully be able to offer specials at events and in the future, through Kickstarter. I have my first set of specialized candles on order now through a local women/LGBTQ+-owned business!

Who wouldn’t want a candle that smells like our hot dragon shifter or his ex, the vampire lord? maybe you prefer the lone-wolf biker’s scent? Or the clean, sophistication of our human councilor?

I feel like these two sources of income will be the best for me and my future. There’s just one problem. Relying on them too much means peopling (tough for this introverted woman coming up on her bog-witching days). It also means remaining in the country we are already in for the best business event opportunities.

I had hoped to travel to Europe, find some nice spots to work remotely and continue my business online. So… we may have to shift those plans later!

Be proud of what you are capable of… selfie by Rachel Adams


As you can see, when you’re a mid-list author or a beginning author reaching for mid-list status, your professional life includes a collection of side gigs all related to writing.

It will also include your marketing, making your promotions, networking with other writers and creatives so you can help one another, and being an accountant. Either that or you must hire people to help you with those things.

It’s simple! You just need to balance all that with your health, family, other job, and keeping yourself from burning out. GOOD LUCK!

I am not just a writer, I’m an entrepreneur. I’ve always hated that word, but when you think about it, it’s really just telling people you have the skills and the drive to take your passion and creativity to the next level. You are willing to make things happen.

So, until I come up with a better phrase, I’ll accept it. I want to survive off of what I make as a writer. I don’t want to be rich. I don’t want to be famous. I simply want to survive. And if that takes juggling all of this until something takes off, so be it.

I hope to see you around, supporting me. I know I’ll support you as well!

Thank you for reading my update on everything I’m doing to make my dreams become reality. I hope you consider following me on any of the platforms I mentioned above and possibly looking into a subscription to Medium so you’re helping all of the writers working there. If you can’t afford that, please share this article or the links to my work. There are so many ways to help — don’t miss the opportunity!

Let me know what your journey to your desired reality looks like! Write an article about it and share it here with me and my readers. Journal about it just so you can see it. Comment about it all here. After all, writing down your goals — actually making yourself visualize them — brings you one step closer to making them happen.



Rachel D Adams

(she/her/pan) I’m not a well-behaved woman. I am an ally, amateur photog, content creator, novelist, empty nester, traveler, wife, & friend.