Greetings world. Yes I'm still alive and kicking. Still waiting for news on a lot of fronts. But you know as I continue to wait for news on the publishing front I've been doing a lot of thinking. Remembering how I got started on this crazy road to becoming an author. And as I learn more and more there are so many things I wish I'd known before I decided I wanted to be an author.
1. PLEASE HAVE MORE THAN ONE NOVEL FINISHED- Yep. You heard it here folks. When my first novel, Goddess of Legend was published in October 2013, it was the only novel I'd completed. Yep. You heard right. In hindsight I wish I had finished the series GOL belongs to before I started querying. Why you ask? Because how was I to know it wasn't a fluke that I wrote a complete novel? How did I know I could do it again and start a career as an author? What if all I ever managed was the one book? I would've been a one hit wonder who wasted my time and that of people who liked my first book and wanted more from me.
2. DIVERSIFY YOUR PORTFOLIO- What do I mean? Let me give you an example. I am a die hard lover of all things paranormal. When I decided to take the leap and start writing I knew I wanted to create paranormal stories as well and not just your average vampire, werewolf or zombie story. I was thinking gods and mermaids. Pretty different right? Yep, but what if paranormal is not what publishers are looking for at the moment you finally finish your novel? You're left with two options: If you are bound and determined to pursue traditional publishing then you need to shelf that baby and wait until it comes back in style. If not, then jump into self publishing feet first and put out your novel yourself. But if you want to be traditionally published then you need to have a backup plan. A story in another genre you are working on that will likely hold some appeal for what editors are looking for. I know you may think it screams of not being true to yourself, but how do you know you're not? Unless you try another genre, you may very well miss out on creating a masterpiece in another genre. Don't be afraid to try something different.
3. WRITING IS SUBJECTIVE- Meaning what? Meaning that just because an agent, editor, or reader doesn't like your work does not mean it belongs in file thirteen. We're all different. We all like to read different things. Writing is not a one size fits all thing. As famous as J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series is there are people out there who don't like it (mind you I don't know anyone who doesn't like it but you get my point.) So if you love to write then continue. Don't stop, regardless of how discouraging it can get sometimes.
4. FIND A MODEL AND STUDY THEM- My greatest inspirations for becoming a writer are owed to the late L.A. Banks and the fantastic Jackie Collins. Because of these ladies I wanted to write. Ever since I have discovered Jackie Collins I have done my best to pay attention to her career. To how she promotes and interacts with her fans. To her publishing schedule and how she writes. I feel like I've learned a lot. So I say to you if there is an author that has a career and writing you admire study them. See how they got to where they are. What do they seem to be doing that keeps readers begging for more? How are they whetting that appetite? And by no means am I only referring to traditionally published authors. No way. Look at Jasinda Wilder. She's not traditionally published and is selling novels like you wouldn't believe. Or hybrid authors like Marie Force who have a traditional deal and also self publish. Just find somebody to be your guide.
5. TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING TAKES A REALLY, REALLY LONG TIME- Lord I wish someone had told me this! When your query makes its way to the wonderful editor at the publishing house you've dreamed of being published with the wait time is anywhere from 3 to 6 months. Yeah. Not only does the editor have to like it, but so does everyone else involved in the process. In addition to that you have to add money to the mix. After all they have to figure out if your novel is going to be profitable enough for them to bother with. And even if you are blessed to get the deal you've been dreaming of in some cases you still have to wait anywhere from a year to eighteen months before readers will ever see your work. Be prepared to wait. Be prepared to keep yourself busy so you are not pulling your hair out.
6. SOMETIMES YOUR MUSE WILL LEAVE YOU HIGH AND DRY- Amen anyone? I know because it's happened to me and many I know. Whether you're on a deadline to have something turned in to an editor or just trying to work on the next story brewing in your head, some days you will just not be able to write. Some days the drive will not be there. Or you will be ready to go and the words just will not come to you. It happens to everyone. Be prepared for it. Don't get mad. Don't throw things. Just take some time off. Chances could be you are burned out.
7. PAY ATTENTION TO TRENDS- Some will say it's not important, but really it is. Whether traditional or independent, you need to have some idea of what readers are currently craving. You can't afford just to stick your head in the sand and remain oblivious. If you're self-publishing you want to find out what people are craving to read and appeal to them when your novel comes out. If you're going the traditional route then pay attention to what editors and agents submission calls. If you do you'll be better informed as to what's selling and where your work fits on the scale. You will also know if you have a chance of being published now or if you will have to be on the next merry go round.
Now that you've heard my list, what are some things you wish you'd known about writing and publishing before you started?