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Archive for the 'General' Category
I was asked by AK to do an advice entry for new/up and coming writers. To be honest, I don’t know where to begin. There are so many things that I could tell new writers, but I’m not sure they’d believe me. *ggg* When I finish my advice, I’d like to open the comments up to all the published writers out there. Please share your own experiences and suggestions.
Let me start by saying that there is no ‘magic’ entry into the world of publishing. You don’t need to know the special handshake or verbiage. It always starts with the story. I know that’s not an exciting answer, but it’s the truth. Story is everything. It’s easy to lose track of that when your friends are getting multiple book deals and you’re seeing new sales announced daily on blogs. It’s hard, but try to stay focused.
So now onto my advice: Don’t be in a rush to get published. Explore ALL the writing genres (ie write something even if it’s a short story) before submitting your work to a publisher. You don’t want to submit a contemporary and then find out that you actually prefer/excel at writing historicals. You have to be willing to write badly, before you can produce good work. (This one comes courtesy of Lynn Viehl.) Take classes–and I don’t mean college courses. There are plenty of great online writing courses. Gotham Writer’s Workshop comes to mind. Read craft books. There are a lot of great ones out there (ie On Writing by Stephen King, Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver, Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham, Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass, Setting by Jack Bickham, etc.). Take baby steps, even if you want to fly (ie don’t rush). Yes, I know I’ve already said that, but it bears repeating. Don’t be afraid to research agents AND publishers before you submit work to them. Authors don’t mind talking off the record about both. If you’re fortunate enough to be published, but aren’t happy with your representation or the publisher, don’t be afraid to leave. You WILL get another shot at the make-believe ring. Along those same lines, don’t be afraid to turn down a book deal if the offer is bad. Read that last sentence again because it’s important. You don’t have to take a bad deal out of fear that you’ll never get another offer. You did it once, you can do it again. Sarah McCarty and Sylvia Day are shining examples when it comes to turning down deals if they don’t meet their needs. Every writer can learn a valuable lesson from them.
My advice for people trying to break into publishing is read, read and read some more. When you’ve done that, then start writing. Expect to write a LOT before you’re published. Do some people get published straight out of the chute? Yes, they do. But here’s the thing, getting published ISN’T the hard part. Yeah, I know that right about now you’re sitting there with your rejection slips going ‘the bitch is out of her mind’, but it’s the truth. Getting published isn’t hard. STAYING published is. So if you’re looking at getting published as the ‘be all and end all’, YOU’RE WRONG. You have to think more long-term than that.
There are a lot of ways to get published. Enter contests, submit your work, go the e-publishing route, etc. These have all worked for various writers, although I do think it’s harder to make the leap from e-publishing to N.Y. now that the big publishers have entered the e-book game. I started out entering contests, then went on to write ebooks. Both paid off for me. I won/placed in various contests (ie the Daphne du Maurier, the Finally a Bride, the Lori Foster/Kensington Brava, and the Harlequin Blaze contest). Two of those contests got me book deals (Brava and Blaze). So never underestimate the power of contests. That said, it doesn’t pay to enter the same project multiple times in various contests. I met a girl through the Daphne du Maurier who had been entering the ‘same’ book for five years and couldn’t understand why she hadn’t finaled or won. It seemed pretty obvious to me, but not so much to her. When I suggested that she write something new, she said that her book was good and that it just hadn’t landed in front of the right judges yet. Okey dokey. There’s also the other type of writer, the one who enters multiple contests, wins/places, but never finishes the books. Don’t be one of those writers. Contests are addictive. I should know. But like any addict, you have to know when to say when. In my case, my critique partner did an intervention—and threatened to hit me if I entered any more contests. *ggg*
As for e-publishing, I was fortunate to get in at the ground floor. It’s harder to get e-published by a credible publisher these days. And the truth is, the only things that really sell well in e-publishing are erotica and erotic romance. So if you don’t write in those genres, then you probably won’t make much money. That said, if you’re just trying to build your writing resume, then by all means submit to the e-publishers.
Here’s another hard fact that everyone should know. Right now, erotic romance has started to wane. Like any phase in publishing, it had its hayday. Something else is about to take over the lead spot. No, I don’t know what it will be. We’ll have to see what’s the next breakout novel. Does that mean that if you write erotic romance you won’t be able to sell your work? No, but it does mean that it’ll be MUCH harder to sell a story to N.Y. The same goes with paranormal. N.Y. is still buying paranormal stories, but it’s harder to sell them. You have to write something that stands out.
One way a new author can get noticed is to ride a trend to the top. Of course, that means waiting to see what the next trend will be. Shouldn’t take long. We’re due for the next trend any day now.
My final bit of advice is to write what you love. You won’t know what that is until you’ve sampled everything. But it’s a lot easier to build a career writing stories that move/speak to you than it is writing to a trend that you hate.
And finally, a sad, but true from Smart Bitches.
Now I’m going to open my blog to questions and advice.
I managed to get my second proposal out the door to my agent today and finish the first chapter of my new idea. Now comes the hard part–the wait. I wish someone would’ve told me about that when I first started writing. I mean there were mentions of the long waits in publishing, but I truly didn’t understand what they meant until I got here. And boy howdy, do they redefine the definition of LONG. *ggg*
Of course, it wouldn’t have changed my direction. I was determined to write. Hell, I’d been doing it since high school. No reason to stop now. But I’ve never been a particularly patient person. E-publishing first didn’t help because when I started the time between writing, editing and publishing the book was only a few months. Talk about instant gratification. It’s been an adjustment moving to N.Y. publishing. It’s certainly upped the intensity. I’m glad that I made the jump, but boy the waiting sucks. For those of you published out of N.Y., how do you handle the wait?
Today is a work day. I decided that this week will be devoted to website work and partials. I’m going to try to put together one more, so that I have three proposals out the door and sitting with my agent. Next week I begin the last book in the DEAD WORLD trilogy. I’m still shooting for a rough draft by the middle of June. I need to get in the mood, so I plan to watch a few post-apocalyptic movies this weekend (ie Reign of Fire, Aeon Flux and Mad Max). The latter should be particularly good for setting a tone. *ggg*
Other than that, I have no big plans this week. They don’t announce the final television cut until next month. I’m hopeful, but still a little worried since they’ve gotten rid of a lot of good shows lately.
While I’ve been putting these proposals/partials together, I’ve been thinking about writers and their styles. There are many different types of writers (ie lazy, type A, ambitious, territorial, manic, plodders, etc.). I realized that I’m not sure where I fall in those groups. I mean I’ve certainly been lazy (my exercise schedule can attest to that), but I can also get a lot done in a rather short period of time. Yet, I can’t go balls to the wall for months on end or I start repeating passages in my books. And worse still, I don’t even realize that I’m doing it until I read through the manuscript during edits. :/ I think the schedule I’m currently keeping is about right for me. I’m writing two to three single titles a year and a novella. What type of writer are you?
Before anyone asks, I don’t know anything about the EC lawsuit beyond what’s been posted at Dear Author. Like many, I’m watching it closely to see what’s going to happen.
Today I’m trying to write up ‘behind the story’ entries so that they can be added to the new site. I finished a set of FAQ’s yesterday and have to type them in today. I’m also going to finish the second proposal’s synopsis. (If the planets align to help me. *g*;) Honestly, there’s a lot happening here and not much at the same time. It’s weird. I’ve gone into waiting mode to see if I’m going to be able to sell any of the things that I’ve submitted. I also have to start the the final book in the Dead World series. Time to switch mental gears.
On a completely different note, is anyone looking forward to NCIS tonight as much as I am? I LOVE that show. Now if they could just bring back Reaper, Moonlight, Supernatural and Bones, I’d be set. 🙂
I managed to put together a proposal/synopsis for my agent this weekend. It was one of those stories that just flowed. I could tell that I could get really sidetracked by that story, if I wasn’t careful. I also started a second one. I’m almost finished. Should have it out the door by Wednesday. It’ll probably take a little longer to get the chapters written/tweaked. My urban fantasy is also making the rounds starting this week. I’m sure that I’ll run out of fingernails before that’s done. *ggg*
The plan is to start the last book in the Dead World series next week and have a rough draft finished by the middle/end of June. (Shut up, I can dream.;)
My new website will launch next week. I’m so excited. I’ve seen the new pages and it’s going to be a shock to the system compared to what I have now. I love my current website, but it’s time for a change. I can’t wait to hear what you guys think of it.