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I was wondering, what if I get an agent and she tries to sell two or three of my novels, all in the same genre, and nothing sells. What would happen in this case?
Well Katie, sounds like you and your agent will be at a crossroads and need to make some decisions.
Each agent is different, and some agents might set you free at this point, believing they’re not the right agent to help you find success. You’ll want to clarify whether your agent wishes to continue or hang it up.
Remember that you have a choice, too. You may want to consider indie publishing. If you want to continue pursuing traditional publishing, and you think another agent can serve you better, it would be a good time for you to make this decision. Be cautious not to automatically blame your agent for the lack of a sale – she’s put in many hours on your behalf and hasn’t gotten paid a thing. She probably deserves the benefit of a conversation, at least.
If you and your agent want to continue working together, you’ll probably have a meeting to discuss your options. You’ll take a hard look at what’s going on, asking questions like:
→ Why aren’t your books capturing the attention of editors? Is it the ideas? The writing?
→ Could there be something specific about your characters and plot lines aren’t resonating?
→How much of this is due to the market, and how much is it the specific books you’re pitching?
→ Is it the genre? If so, is there another genre you’re interested in writing that perhaps is more saleable?
Ideally this meeting would culminate in a strategy and action plan for moving forward to find the success you’ve been working toward.
Keep in mind that this isn’t an uncommon scenario. Once you get an agent, it could still be a long time until serendipity strikes again and you find the perfect match between a project and a publisher.
What would you do if you were the writer in this situation?
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The post When You’re Missing the Mark appeared first on Rachelle Gardner.
it seemed that, for a while in the early 2010s, every book I was getting in the slush as an agent had something to do with the end of the world. Dystopian fiction was all the rage, The Hunger Games were exploding off the shelves, and the Mayans had supposedly hinted that the end times would happen in 2012. (Maybe they did and we are all a dream that one of my pugs, who sleeps pretty much continuously, is having?)
Point being, I saw the same iteration of manuscript over and over:
Kid is arbitrarily chosen to save the world, because the world is definitely ending, usually by a mechanism that is large, ominous, and largely outside of anyone’s control. The phenomenon is either natural (disaster, asteroid, climate collapse, virus, etc.) or manmade (shadowy government forces, global war, etc.).
I’ve written before about the unique challenges of the “chosen one” style of story, where a child is, seemingly, arbitrarily plucked from obscurity to avert global disaster. This is a very tough type of book to pull off, and yet that doesn’t stop pretty much everyone from trying. Basically, it opens up a lot of questions that never seem answered quite to my satisfaction. Why this totally ordinary kid? Why such profound magical powers out of nowhere? If this kid is so special, why haven’t they been groomed for the task from birth? Who decided that this one child, on a planet of 8 billion people, was the only hope?
Structurally, these stories also seem to follow a lot of the same steps, which now seem cliché. A milestone happens and they discover a secret about themselves that reveals a destiny. Then they are thrust into a completely new group of people. Cue meet and greets. Then they have to learn a whole new set of skills. Cue training montages (which contribute to a rather static “muddy middle,” since you can only write a few scenes of learning how to do XYZ before they start to run into one another). There’s a rival and a big challenge, then the character must do the thing they were destined to do. It looks unlikely for a second, and the Earth is splintering apart and shaking, and then, suddenly, they persevere at the last moment and the whole world is saved!
The big issue with these stories, other than their relative sameness, is that the stakes are maybe…too high.
Now, I can imagine you, dear reader, are about to throw your laptop at me. I keep talking about stakes and stakes and stakes and tension and friction and increasing stakes, and then I show up one fine Monday morning to tell you that, well, stakes can be too high. What do I want? Why am I so finicky? Is nothing ever good enough for Little Miss Goldilocks over here?
Hear me out. The issue with most manuscripts is, indeed, that stakes tend to be too low. The action is small, there’s not enough personal investment from the character, and the consequences of each action and plot point are barely registering on the charts. However, the opposite extreme is also problematic. If someone ran down my street right now in their boxer shorts, screaming that the world was ending, I would…shrug? Go to a news website? Call my husband? Throw caution to the wind and eat a whole thing of ice cream? I don’t know. That’s such an improbable event (no matter how many times our imaginations have gone there) that it’s too big to believe.
So selling such high stakes becomes very difficult. You have a lot of convincing to do, starting with the character, then the reader. Is the world really going to end? Readers, by this point, are savvy customers. We know how these types of stories go. And we know that the world ain’t ended yet. And if it was going to, it would probably be turned over to the professionals rather than landing squarely in the lap of a 12-year-old kid.
So should you even bother with an apocalypse story? You can. There’s always something deeply fascinating to humans about the idea of the world exploding or being decimated by virus. I would imagine there are some hastily written zika virus manuscripts popping into agent inboxes right about now. If you still want to do this sort of thing, I would suggest that the kid and the apocalyptic event need to be inextricably tied.
For example, this specific kid needs to match this specific apocalypse in a way that makes them the only possible answer. Let’s say that their mother was a leading climate scientist who was recently kidnapped. Life sucks for the character as they try to put the pieces back together. Then it’s revealed that the reason for the kidnapping was that Mom had just stumbled upon a shadowy government conspiracy to overheat the Middle East in a desperate bid to end the conflict there. But it worked too well, and now the entire planet is in grave danger. Mom is presumed dead, but Kid has his doubts. Worse yet, Mom told Kid some very classified information right before she was taken, almost as if she knew what was going to happen. Now Kid might be the only one to reverse the runaway climate. But, even with the world (theoretically) at stake, Kid has their own skin in the game: to see if Mom is actually alive, and to bring those responsible for the kidnapping to justice.
Apocalypse story. Shadowy government conspiracy. Runaway climate change (giving the story a timely hook). But what do we notice about this premise? It’s not just some random kid. In fact, the kid has deeply personal reasons for springing into action. And averting the apocalypse is almost a byproduct of more intimate, meaningful goals.
That’s what I would suggest doing if your stakes are too high: make them smaller (not in scope, but in terms of intimacy of objective and motivation). Make them more personal. Make it believable that a kid would rise up against huge forces to get what they want, because what they want is very close to their hearts. The stakes stakes can remain huge (there’s still an apocalypse scenario) but their impact on your specific character is what has the power to set you apart in this very crowded category.
By: Rachelle Gardner,
Blog: Rachelle Gardner
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In honor of Valentine’s Day coming up this Sunday, I thought I’d wax poetic about what I love in this industry… and in my job.
♥ First of all, I love the way writers, editors, and yes, even agents, are a true community. Competition exists, but it doesn’t get in the way of real relationships. That’s what this business is about, relationships, and the people I’ve met in this business are simply the best.
♥ I love working with authors. Your passion impresses me; your bravery amazes me. The commitment authors must maintain in order to be successful is nothing short of monumental, and for that, I salute every one of you. It is my pleasure and privilege to support you in the small ways that I do.
♥ I love the new submissions that I get to see all the time. They show me the incredible diversity of ideas out there. They show me the courage of those who have convictions. They tell me that no matter what anybody says, people will always want to write books, and people will always want to read them.
♥ I love the thrill of the hunt for great books. The anticipation that underlies the reading of every query and proposal. The “aha” feeling when you think you’ve found one.
♥ I love calling writers and offering them representation. It can be the beginning of a wonderful partnership that can enrich both of our lives.
♥ I love the moment when an author realizes they are actually going to have a book published. The offer’s on the table… the contract is signed… their dream is coming true. There is nothing better!
Happy Valentine’s Day
The post Valentine to the Publishing Life appeared first on Rachelle Gardner.
Harlequin TEEN and Seventeen Magazine have partnered up to launch a new imprint called Seventeen Fiction. The editors plan to work on a variety of projects such as novels, lifestyle manuals, advice books, and nonfiction digital books.
According to the press release, the executives behind this imprint “will focus on multi-dimensional and empowered fictional female characters and explore topics and situations that authentically reflect the challenges and joys of being a teenager today, just as Seventeen does across all platforms.” Natashya Wilson, an executive editor at Harlequin TEEN, has already acquired the first manuscript: Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz.
The story “follows the daughter of immigrant parents who is living the American dream—until her world shatters when she learns she is ineligible to receive the National Scholarship Award because her family is in the country illegally and may be deported.” The release date has been scheduled for Fall 2016.
Bruce Springsteen has signed a deal with Simon & Schuster. The international release date for his autobiography, entitled Born to Run, has been scheduled for Sept. 27.
The legendary rock star has been working on this book for the past seven years. Springsteen first began to write down his life story after performing with the E Street Band at the 2009 Super Bowl halftime show.
Here’s more from the press release: “In Born to Run, Mr. Springsteen describes growing up in Freehold, New Jersey amid the ‘poetry, danger, and darkness’ that fueled his imagination. He vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With disarming candor, he also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work, and shows us why the song ‘Born to Run’ reveals more than we previously realized.”
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing has launched a new young adult literature-themed website called Riveted. The creatives behind this venture plan to feature lists, articles, quizzes, videos, giveaways, news pieces, and behind-the-scenes information.
Some of the writers who have signed on to contribute content includes Jenny Han, Siobhan Vivian, and Scott Westerfeld. To launch this website, the Riveted team will host a community “binge reading” of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series.
Here’s more from the press release: “Leading up to the March release of the next installment of the Shadowhunters Chronicles, Lady Midnight, members from the editorial board will host live video chats every Friday to discuss the week’s #TMIBingeRead. In addition, the site will feature original content such as DIY videos on how to get the perfect book character-inspired hair, “word of the week” videos, and exclusive serialized bonus stories.” Click here to watch a video to learn more about the binge reading event.
Jay Asher has signed a deal with Penguin Young Readers. In the past, he has written two young adult novels: Thirteen Reasons Why and The Future of Us (a collaboration with Carolyn Mackler).
According to The Associated Press, Asher (pictured, via) has finished a contemporary romance novel entitled What Light. He drew inspiration to write this story “after reading about a family in Oregon with a Christmas tree lot.”
This young adult book will be Asher’s “first solo work of fiction in nearly a decade.” The publication date has been scheduled for Oct. 11. (via The New York Times)
Kelly Clarkson has signed a deal with HarperCollins Children’s Books. The singer has become well-known as a three-time Grammy Award-winning recording artist and the winner of the 2002 season of American Idol.
According to The Seattle Times, Laura Hughes will serve as the illustrator on this project. The publication date for River Rose and the Magical Lullaby has been set for October 2016.
Clarkson posted a video about this picture book on her social media page; we’ve embedded her Twitter post above. TIME reports that “the story follows a little girl who’s too excited about the next day’s zoo visit to fall asleep, until her mom sings her a lullaby that gives her dreams about playing with hippos, penguins and other zoo creatures.”
Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint at Scholastic, will publish a hardcover book based on the special rehearsal edition script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I & II. The release has been scheduled for 12:01 a.m. on July 31; fans will recognize that this significant date is both Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling’s birthday. Pottermore will publish the eBook edition.
Here’s more from the press release: “It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children. While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes darkness comes from unexpected places.”
Jack Thorne, John Tiffany, and Rowling worked on the story for this theatrical production together. Back in October 2015, Rowling announced on Pottermore that this project will serve as the eighth story of her beloved book series. The opening date for the West End show has been set for July 30, 2016.
“Nobody knows anything…… Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work. Every time out it’s a guess and, if you’re lucky, an educated one.” ― William Goldman, Adventures in the Screen Trade
I’ve always liked this quote, because it’s so true—and it applies to publishing, too. We don’t know how a book will do until it goes on sale, or sometimes, until it’s been on sale several months or even years.
Publishing companies and Hollywood studios routinely produce works they predict will sell based on past success of similar works. It’s a flawed method of decision making, but it’s the best we’ve got.
Besides analyzing past experience, what can we do to predict future success of a book or movie? We watch the market; we pay attention to the cultural zeitgeist; we look at what’s going on in the world and think about how that might affect people’s choices in how to spend their leisure time; we look at what people are enjoying in the other arts.
But predicting the future based on the past is an inexact science. Not really a science, even, but an art. Anytime we’re trying to project future success of an individual project, we are making an educated guess, no more.
A corollary to “nobody knows anything” is Billy Wilder’s famous tip: The audience is fickle. Sure, last year they may have gone crazy over vampire novels, but will they still be so enthralled next year? Nobody knows.
It takes just as much effort, time, and money to create a movie or a book that’s going to bomb as one that’s going to do well. This underscores the truth of “nobody knows anything” because if we knew—if we were able to make accurate predictions—then perhaps in the pursuit of the bottom line, only bestsellers would be published and only blockbuster movies would be made.
Instead, we have thousands of non-bestselling books published every year so that there are many, many great choices for those of us who like to read. The fact that nobody knows anything works in your favor if you’re a writer, and even if you’re a reader.
Anytime you ask an industry professional a question that has to do with predicting the future (Will Amish fiction ever go away? Is paranormal going out of style or will it still be hot next year?) just remember that the answer they give you is not gospel, it is simply their informed opinion based on what they see around them. It could be completely accurate… or dead wrong.
Only time will tell.
Based on what’s happening in books and movies today, what predictions can YOU make about the future?
Can we predict the future success of a book? Click to Tweet.
Nobody in publishing knows what’s going to work. It’s a guess, every time. Click to Tweet.
Image copyright: sifotography / 123RF Stock Photo
The post Nobody Knows Anything appeared first on Rachelle Gardner.
Marie Ferrarella has signed a six-figure deal with Harlequin. She plans to write twelve novels.
Patience Bloom, a senior editor, managed this acquisition project. She will edit all of Ferrarella’s manuscripts.
Here’s more from the press release: “Ferrarella will craft two contemporary romance series for Harlequin—Matchmaking Mamas for Harlequin Special Edition and Cavanaugh Justice for Harlequin Romantic Suspense. The first title in the deal, The Case of the Stolen Heart follows a widow who finds a second chance at love with a police officer who was present at her late husband’s crime scene. The Case of the Stolen Heart is set to be published in Fall 2016.”
The cover has been revealed for Arthur A. Levine’s forthcoming picture book, What a Beautiful Morning. We’ve embedded the full image for the jacket design above—what do you think?
According to School Library Journal, Katie Kath served as the illustrator for this project. Running Press Kids has scheduled the publication date for August 9.
Stephan Pastis has signed a deal with Candlewick Press for Timmy Failure: The Book You’re Not Supposed to Have. This book will be the fifth installment of Pastis’ popular middle grade series.
Daniel Lazar, a literary agent at Writers House, negotiated this deal on Pastis’ behalf. The publisher has scheduled the release date for September 27.
Here’s more from the press release: “The most important thing to know about Timmy’s fifth memoir to date is: this book was never meant to EXIST. No one needs to know the details. Just know this: There’s a Merry, a Larry, a missing tooth, and a teachers’ strike that is crippling Timmy Failure’s academic future. Worst of all, Timmy is banned from detective work. It’s a conspiracy of buffoons.”
A Japanese manga series based on the The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess video game will be released later this month. Readers will only be able to access this work through Shogakukan’s MangaOne app.
According to Polygon, Akira Himekawa, the pseudonym of two creatives who choose to remain anonymous, has been credited as the writer and artist behind this project. In the past, this duo has produced manga based on three other Zelda games: Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, and A Link to the Past.
Here’s more from Tech Times: “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is an action-adventure game from Nintendo that originally released in 2006 for the GameCube and Wii. The story follows the hero Link as he tries to save Hyrule from an evil parallel dimension. Many Zelda fans and critics often consider Twilight Princess as one of the best Zelda games ever made.” (via ComicBook.com)
A lot of writers hear the well-meaning advice that, in order to break in more easily, they should have some writing clips and credits to their resume. It’s good advice, and I especially don’t want to disenfranchise the many writers who have been actively pursuing this strategy with my answer, because it is a very worthwhile strategy.
In case you haven’t thought about this issue before, I’ll summarize here: When you’re an aspiring writer, you have a lot of ambition to write, but not a lot of platform. People aren’t buying what you want to sell, basically. Or, if they are, they aren’t really paying you for it. You’re probably getting opportunities to showcase your work on blogs and at other web-based venues that don’t have a budget to compensate contributors. Or maybe you start your own blog, like this ol’ hack did! This is how a lot of people get going.
Then you think that there has to be more out there that’s, well, more noteworthy to a potential publishing gatekeeper. So maybe you explore other avenues to showcase your work. Whether it’s in the children’s writing realm, say, Highlights Magazine, or in an unrelated area, like an op-ed for the local newspaper, or a poem in a general fiction literary journal, you start to set your sights higher.
Whether you try to gather clips in print journalism, the literary community, scientific or medical magazines (a lot of writers have done a lot of technical writing for their day jobs), etc., you’re basically writing and racking up pieces that someone else has vetted and decided are good enough to publish.
This all makes a lot of sense, right? If you want to write, write, and maybe the momentum of all your writing will speed up your efforts on the book publishing front. Being published is being published, no matter what you’re publishing. And writing professionals love to see writing credits. Right? Weeeeeeeeeell…
It’s not often that clear-cut. Publishing an op-ed in your local paper in Portland is not the magic ticket to calling attention to yourself with a children’s book editor in New York, unless, of course, your op-ed or Huffpo article causes such a stir that it goes “viral” and attracts a lot of attention or controversy. In fact, under my original name (a much longer version of “Kole”), I published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, which is a notable newspaper that people have heard of. And I thought, for sure, this was my golden ticket. The day it ran, I waited for the phone to ring. Aaaaand…my mother was very proud of me. Then one man from Idaho took offense at my sense of humor. That’s about it.
The fact of the matter is, if you can say in your query that you’ve published with a top-tier publication that most casual readers have heard of, that’s going to be an amazing feather in your cap. And agents and editors might take notice. But it’s likely not going to get you a book publishing contract.
And outside of that, if you’re publishing on blogs, or in smaller literary magazines, or in venues that have nothing whatsoever to do with publishing novels, then your clips are going to tell a potential agent or editor one positive thing, but one positive thing only: That you’ve hustled a little and know a little bit about the process. And that’s a positive thing, because that might indicate that you’re at least somewhat easy to work with during the publishing process. But it’s not a guarantee of anything.
My main objection to splitting your focus and concentrating on amassing clips if your primary goal is to publish a book can be expressed in this recent post. The truth of the matter is, some journalists spend years trying to crack the New York Times for their own resumes. It’s an entirely new skillset. First, there’s learning how to write well enough that the Times would take interest. Then it’s cultivating contacts and editor relationships that will get you prime consideration. Then it’s learning the culture of the publication (and every publication has one, no matter how small they are) and learning how to work within it successfully. After a lot of effort, you may finally get published in the Times. But then you’re published in the Times, not in the book realm.
What’s missing from this picture of all the effort you’ve put in? Oh yeah, honing your novel craft, which is why you’re doing any of this to begin with. So gathering clips is phenomenal, but it doesn’t help you accomplish your primary goal directly. And there’s no guarantee that it will help you accomplish your primary goal indirectly, either. You may sink a few years into pitching freelance articles to magazines, distract yourself, and maybe emerge with one well-regarded piece in Real Simple…that has nothing to do with your novel.
Is that payoff worth it? Only you can decide. This strategy only seems to work well when you’re a journalist in your day job, and a novelist by night. Then you possess both skillsets already, and you can jump back and forth more easily. Otherwise, it’s like going through all the work and trouble of growing a new arm, just so you can give your primary hands better manicures. It seems like a lot more effort than it’s worth.
Morena Baccarin will serve as a narrator for the Lady Midnight audiobook. This actress (pictured, via) has become well-known for taking on roles in literary-themed projects such as the Gotham TV series and the Deadpool film adaptation.
Lady Midnight will be the first installment of Cassandra Clare’s newest young adult trilogy, The Dark Artifices. The story will be set in the Shadowhunters universe. Clare intends for this project to be a sequel to the six-part Mortal Instruments series. She announced on Twitter that the audiobook will be released on March 8.
Here’s more from USA Today: “It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses. Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…” (via The Fandom)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) announced that more than 1 million copies of A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park have been sold. The publisher first released this book back in 2010.
The two-time Newbery Medal winner drew inspiration from the life story Salva Dut, one of the lost boys of Sudan, to write this novel. In honor of this momentous occasion, the publisher will donate $15,000 to Dut’s nonprofit organization, Water for South Sudan (WFSS).
Here’s more from the press release: “This source will provide fresh, accessible water to thousands of South Sudanese and allow hundreds of children (especially girls) to attend school regularly, rather than spending their days walking to and from the nearest well. HMH is also launching a matching gift campaign for employees in order to raise an additional $15,000 to furnish another well.” To learn more about Park’s book, watch her talk given at the TEDxBeaconStreet conference: “Can a Children’s Book Change the World?”
Ishmael Beah has signed a deal with the Penguin Random House imprint, Riverhead Books. He plans to write a novel and a memoir.
According to the press release, the novel, entitled The Lively Skeletons of Every Season, “presents the riveting story of five young people living as an ad hoc family in an abandoned airplane in an unnamed African country, attempting to understand its colonized past and to navigate its rapidly shifting future.” The memoir, Beah’s second, will chronicle his “transition to life in America” following his move from Sierra Leone.
Rebecca Saletan, a vice president and editorial director at the imprint, will edit both of Beah’s manuscripts. At this point in time, the publisher has not announced the release dates for either of these projects. (Photo Credit: John Madere)
The cover has been unveiled for Matt Wallace’s forthcoming science fiction book, Pride’s Spell. We’ve embedded the full image for the jacket design above—what do you think?
According to a B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog post, this project will be the third installment of the Sin du Jour series. Tor Books has scheduled the publication date for June 21.
Quarto Publishing Group USA has acquired the Harvard Common Press. HCP primarily publishes books on cooking and childcare.
Dan Rosenberg, the editorial director of HCP, will continue to hold this position. Bruce Shaw, the president and publisher of HCP, and Adam Salomone, the associate publisher of HCP, will both serve as advisors for Quarto.
CEO Ken Fund had this statement in the press release: “We’re excited to bring The Harvard Common Press into the Quarto family of publishers. Quarto is focused on acquiring niche imprints or businesses that align with our vision to publish books that inspire, educate, create or entertain. We continue to look for acquisitions in these categories and this has accelerated since the successful launch of QuartoKnows.com in 2015.”
C. Spike Trotman has signed a deal with First Second Books. He plans to create a biographical graphic novel profiling Josephine Baker.
Black Pearl will feature details on Baker’s rise to fame as an international entertainer, her love life, and her stance on politics. The publisher will release Black Pearl: The Graphic Life of Josephine Baker in 2018.
Trotman gave this statement about the project: “I’ve admired Josephine Baker since college, she’s symbolic of so much, to me. Triumph over adversity, for starters. Going your own way. And I’m eager to have a chance to paint a down-to-earth picture of her, one with a lot of truth to it.”
If you know me at all, you probably know I have this annoying little habit of getting out for exercise everyday. Either the gym, or outside for a hike or bike ride. I admit I love my exercise. But not for the reasons you might think. I mean, physical health is important and all, but honestly, would that be enough to motivate me? No way.
The truth is, I go to the gym for YOU. When I’m at the gym, I have all kinds of insights about the writing life, then I come back and share them on my blog and you might think these things just sort of come to me, but they wouldn’t if I hadn’t been at the gym.
Case in point. I’ve been thinking lately about the fact that there are parts of a writing career that writers don’t enjoy. It’s different for each person, and some of you might be very strange and actually enjoy all of it, but the parts writers typically don’t enjoy include:
→ Writing a synopsis
→ Writing a proposal
→ Writing a query
→ The entire query process
→ Blogging and social networking
→ Being patient for things to happen
→ Any aspect of marketing the book
To be successful in any business, sometimes we need to step outside the comfort zone. It isn’t enough to just write your book; there are other things that need to be done.
I was thinking about this while I was going through a similar thought process about my gym regimen. I needed to shake things up a bit, kick it up a notch. I decided to try some new exercise classes. So I went for it, and here’s what I learned:
→ Lesson 1: If you’re focused on how much you hate something, you’re not going to do it well.
Class: Zumba. Can I just tell you how much I detest Zumba? Possibly as much as some of you hate synopsis or query-writing. I’m not at the gym to shake my booty and swivel my hips, but I tried it anyway. From the first song, I was in torture. Hating every second. Doing the fancy footwork, shimmying my shoulders, all that stuff. I wanted to leave but I promised myself I’d stay at least 30 minutes. It felt like 30 hours.
And you know what? Since I was so focused on my intense dislike of all things Zumba, I was unwilling to try hard. I couldn’t give it my all. I couldn’t break a sweat, my heart rate didn’t even go up. I wasn’t getting a good workout because I wasn’t giving all I had.
For you: Ask yourself: is this something I must do? Or is there another way to accomplish my goal? If the activity is a must (i.e writing a query) then face the dislike head-on and figure out a way to get past it so that you can truly give it your all. If there’s another way to accomplish your goal, by all means, head that direction!
Which is what I did. Next up:
→ Lesson 2: Sometimes, the fact that you know something will help you is enough to motivate you.
Class: Interval Step. An advanced step class where the movement never stops for 55 minutes. I never took step classes because the complicated foot work scares me. At the beginning, it seemed pretty easy to follow. Gradually the steps became more complicated until it became laughable to try and keep up. I persisted and to my amazement, it got my heart rate up and I was really sweating. I was getting a good workout regardless of how goofy I looked, and that was incredibly motivating for me. Now step class is my go-to, and surprise! I love it.
For you: You may not enjoy social networking or writing a proposal, but perhaps if you focus on the end result, the task will become easier. Who knows, you might end up enjoying it.
→ Lesson 3: Sometimes results come slowly. Don’t quit too soon out of impatience.
Class: Bosu Core Training. This is a class of slow & steady movements that are difficult and awkward yet they don’t seem like they’re doing much good. I prefer a quicker pace in my exercise classes, and I prefer not to feel like a dork, so I didn’t really like this one.
Until the next day. Wow, muscles I hadn’t talked with in awhile were communicating loud and clear. I finally realized that slow and steady sometimes works, and that I should do this class once in awhile to shake up my routine.
For you: Don’t quit blogging and social networking because you’re not seeing immediate results. Don’t quit querying, don’t quit improving your craft. Give it time.
What parts of the writing career do you find less than enjoyable? How do you deal with them?
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There parts of a writing career that writers don’t enjoy. What to do? Thoughts from @RachelleGardner. (Click to Tweet.)
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Megyn Kelly has signed a book deal with the Harper imprint. The Fox News journalist (pictured, via) has become well-known for questioning the temperament of Donald Trump, a Republican presidential candidate, during a debate held in August 2015.
Lisa Sharkey, the senior vice president director of creative development, acquired the manuscript. Matt Harper, an executive editor, will edit this project.
According to the press release, this book will mark Kelly’s debut as an author. The release date has been set for Fall 2016.
The audiobook edition of The Martian has drawn 100,000 fan ratings on the Audible website. The company released this audiobook back in March 2013.
Here’s more from the press release: “In addition to the 100,000 people who positively ‘rated’ the audiobook, it also enjoys a superb 4.8 out of 5-star average, and has had a continuous presence at the top of Audible.com’s bestsellers list. The Martian’s achievements demonstrate the burgeoning global popularity of audiobooks and their ascent as a rival to other entertainment mediums like books, television, and film.”
Andy Weir’s popular science-fiction novel was adapted into a critically acclaimed movie starring Matt Damon. Click on these links to watch the first trailer, the second trailer, and the third trailer.
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The cover has been unveiled for Box Brown’s forthcoming graphic novel, Tetris: The Games People Play. We’ve embedded the full image for the jacket design above—what do you think?
According to Kotaku, this project will focus on Alexey Pajitnov’s beloved video game. First Second Books has scheduled the publication date for October 2016. (via Box Brown’s Blog)