It was one of the proudest days in my life. After years of wanted to be a professional novelist, I’d done it.
Then I wanted to do it again.
I had a second book accepted in December 2012 and I figured, if I can sell two in my first year I could sell four in my second, six in my third, and every year thereafter.
It turns out it wasn’t quite that easy. Bear with Me came out as part of the Beneath A Spring Moon anthology (again through the awesome LSB) in May 2013. Then I started collecting rejection letters again, which sucked. Look at me, a two-hit wonder. It I did finally end up selling two more stories in October which came out in 2014.
As for 2014, the first half of this year has ROCKED! Screen Idol (Hollywood to Olympus Book 1) through LSB and Puerto Vallarta Sunsets (Resort Romances Book 1) through my new publisher Books To Go Now both came out this spring and I’ve already got four more stories contracted to come out. Drama Queen (Hollywood to Olympus Book 2) comes out next month, a H20 short the month after in a charity anthology, Cuban Moon (Resort Romances Book 2) this fall and a Christmas short at – you guessed it – Christmas. AND I still have six months left to go.
This makes me extra happy since last month I took the leap and quit my day job with its very nice paycheque and health care benefits. If I’m going to do this, I need to keep signing contracts and keep selling books. I read somewhere that it’s good to have a five year business plan if you want to be successful. I’m 2/5ths of the way there.
Two years in this biz still makes me a baby writer but I definitely know more than when I started. Some of my hard earned wisdom includes:
1. Finish the damn book (to quote the awesome Cherry Adair). You have to write an entire story all the way through to “The End”. You can edit the first chapter a hundred times but if you don’t write the last one you are never going to get it published. You can fix a finished manuscript; you can’t fix a blank page.
2. Submit the damn book (that one’s mine). No publisher is going to walk down your street, knocking on every door saying, “Excuse me, do you have a book you would like me to publish for you?” You have to send it out into the big bad world if you want it to be read. Some people are going to say “No thanks.” Some are going to say worse. But someday, somebody will say yes, and then it’s all worthwhile.
3. No contract is better than a bad contract. I nearly cried when I got my first acceptance letter. I did cry when I said “no” because the contract was not one I was willing to sign. In fact, I’ve turned down more than one, even though I am a newbie author. I turned them down because I am a professional newbie author and I take my contracts seriously. The first time was because the company’s reputation had tanked in the time between me sending in my submission and them sending back an acceptance letter. The second time, I really liked the people I would be dealing with but there was a clause in the contract I was unable to negotiate out or come to terms with. I have high hopes I can work with that company in the future though. Still, it’s a legal document and you MUST understand what you are signing. Other authors might not agree with the rights I’ve contracted but I did what was best for me.
4. You will make the same mistakes more than once. Then, with practice, you will recognize when you are making them and be able to correct them on the spot. Never fear, you will also make new mistakes. Over and over and over. It’s not going to stop. Writing and publishing are never-ending learning experiences.
5. Make friends with other writers. Trust me, you are going to need somebody who can understand the weirdness of arguing with the imaginary people in your head.
Here endeth the lesson, at least for now. See you same time next year.