Archive for February, 2005

Friday, February 18th, 2005
You oughta know

I decided to write a blog entry about some of the things you should know if you’re on the verge of being published or have just sold your first book. Some of these things I’m sure you’ve heard of and some you haven’t. If I leave off anything, please add to my little list in the comments section.

First off, being published does not solve your problems. Sorry to break the bad news, but it’s the truth. It only adds to them. LOL! I know when I first started writing getting published was the be all and end all goal. Now that I am, I realize the journey is just beginning. Your worries switch from trying to get the book read to keeping your foot in the door, selling the next one, marketing it, and praying for decent sales. (Because if you don’t have the latter, you won’t be able to sell the next one.) This is all of course done without any help from the publisher.(wg)

Second, just because you’ve sold a book doesn’t mean the the publisher will want your next work. Most publishers will read it, but the truth is some won’t bother. This problem doesn’t have to have anything to do with sales. Confused yet? You’re in good company. 😀

RWA Conferences can be VERY helpful to the newly published and beginning writer. (I consider myself in the latter category.) Once you have a few books under your belt they become less and less helpful. Why? Because you’ll reach a point where if you’ve studied the craft there won’t be much anyone can tell you. This is the point where practical experience comes into play. You’ll simply have to write book after book to learn.

Finally, don’t be in a hurry to get published. At least not until you have a good business plan in place. This includes knowing what it is you want to write, recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, and finishing several manuscripts. Right about here, I’m sure several of you are questioning my sanity. There’s an old saying in music, ‘You have a lifetime to write your first album, but only months to write the rest’. Make sure you have enough ‘songs’ to cover several albums/CDs worth of material before you send out that first tape.

If anyone can think of anything I’ve left off, please feel free to comment. I know you’ve all learned lessons along the way. Time to share the knowledge.

Birthday wishes go out to my dh’s dad. He turns 70 today.

Thursday, February 17th, 2005
Trying to finish

Woke up with a whopper headache this morning. I think I was grinding my teeth in my sleep either that or clenching my jaw. (I tend to do both when I’m stressed.) I can’t seem to shake the pain and I’m trying to finish my character plotting charts today. This is the last step I need to take before I begin the actual rewriting of my book. I must get this finished. If anyone sees a head rolling down the aisle, no worries, it’s just mine. Ugh!

As an aside, if you belong to RWA and are interested in joining Bookscan, don’t waste your money. LOL! I paid the discounted fee, which I thought was a good deal at the time. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that it’s only the top 100 romance books listed. I’m sure right about now you are having no problem imagining what names take up a bulk of this spreadsheet. So unless you’re Nora, I suggest you find a more reliable method.

Wednesday, February 16th, 2005

I’ve been staring at my manuscript for a week, freaking out over the changes my agent asked for. Now these weren’t outrageous changes, but one of the specific changes he wanted messed with the entire book. I understood the reason he asked for the changes, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to make them. Hence my state of total panic.

Productive, I know.

I realized during this little expedition into the realm of fear that I’m the type of writer who really needs to have a good idea where my book is going. This is especially the case when the book is already written and I have to rewrite chunks of it.

So while I was doing laps in my pity pool a friend came over for lunch. This particular friend is not a writer. I know her from my flying days. I was lamenting about how freaked out I’ve been. She was familiar with the story (I can’t imagine how she’d heard about it. LOL! Blush.) and without missing a beat suggested a change. Not just any change, but a change that would take care of ALL the problems I’ve been having. Honest to goodness, I could have kissed her. And would have, if it wouldn’t have freaked her out. LOL!

I’ve been giddy ever since. I’m going to finish my new character charts. I’m rewriting them to familiarize myself with the characters, since it’s been years since I wrote this book. And I’m actually looking forward to digging into the story now.

Have you ever received help from an unexpected source?

Monday, February 14th, 2005

First off, I’ll acknowledge that it is Valentine’s Day. I still don’t like this holiday and I’ve found the perfect site to express my feelings. I know someone else, (I think it might have been Maili or Vanessa) put a link in their blog to the above anti-Valentine site. Thanks whoever did this. I honestly could not stop laughing.

Now to the point of this entry. I am preparing a talk on ‘blogs’ for a local romance writing group. Along with giving the authors who attend links to the different online blog choices, I wanted to know what everyone gets out of their blogging.

For me, blogging started out a bit like a stilted online journal. (Some of you may still think so. LOL!) I enjoyed expressing a few of my feelings, but I admit I hold back A LOT. In person I tend to be far more ‘direct’ and a tad caustic. (No comments from the peanut gallery on the latter. 😉

I wanted my blog to be a way of reaching readers. And it is, but it’s also so much more. I guess I’m surprised at the unexpected ‘friendships’ that have developed out of blogging. Yes, I know they’re mainly on the level of acquaintances, but a few have moved toward actual friendship.

What do you guys get out of blogging? Do you mainly use it to advertise your books/writing? Is it for companionship? Let me know, I’m genuinely curious.

Sunday, February 13th, 2005
Starting Over

So much of a writer’s life is spent starting over. I hadn’t thought about it that way until recently, but it’s true. For every book you finish, there is another one to begin. For every contract you manage to sign, there is another one to seek. It’s a neverending cycle of starting over.

I know there are pinnacles along the way like great reviews, making booklists (if you’re lucky), landing better deals, but they’re all transitory. You’d have better luck trying to hold water in your hands during a drought.

The most fascinating thing about this discovery for me is that I’m one of those people that likes security in my life. I don’t ‘do’ change well. (I wish I did.) Which is why I suddenly find it hilarious that I’ve chosen a profession (Or has it chosen me?)
that will give me absolutely NO security whatsoever. Talk about karma. LOL!

Friday, February 11th, 2005
Dust swirling in the air…

There seems to be a lot of topics that are picking up dust and swirling in the air lately. I’ve been blog hopping and have seen everything from the tired old fight about how much sex is too much in a book to the defense against a blog entry about reviews.

It seems to me the whole point of blogs is for the writer to say whatever they want. I know when you put it out into the public domain that you open yourself up to all kinds of comments. (That’s the nicest word I can think of to describe some of the responses to content I’ve read on other people’s blogs.)

Given half a chance I tend to have an opinion about everything. (wg) I’m not saying it’s right, but it IS mine. I try to be judicious when it comes to expressing said opinion on other author’s sites.

I find it interesting that some people try to silence other bloggers when they don’t agree with their subject matter. I suppose that is nothing unusual given the nature of most human beings.

Still it makes me wonder what they do when people are speaking in their presence. Shove a sock in their mouth? Stick their fingers in their ears and yell la,la,la I don’t hear you? LOL! The Doors had it right, people are strange.

Thursday, February 10th, 2005
Contemporary Single Titles

I’ve been reading a few contemporary single titles to figure out their rhythm and pacing. I also want to know what they put in the books that I’m leaving out. (ie description, detail, etc.)

I’m not as familiar with contemporaries as I am with paranormal and historical books. So I decided to read and research before I tackle the edits on my completed manuscript. I wrote my book so long ago that I know without a doubt there are a lot of problems with it. At this point, I’m terrified I am going to get in there and not be able to ‘fix’ them. Perhaps it’s just first book jitters. Logically, I know the novel doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to be as close as I can get.

What do you do to get past the indecision and fear?