Words of wisdom, writers on writing, food for thought, whatever you want to call it, for your long hot summer! Enjoy!
But every morning I got up at 5am, sat in a coffee shop and wrote until I had to go to work (this routine changed over the course of 20 years, but that was what I did between 2004 when my son was born and 2013 when I quit). I wrote screenplays and books. Most will never be published or produced because they suck or they’re irrelevant now. I couldn’t get an agent. I couldn’t get a meeting. I couldn’t get a publisher to send a rejection in an SASE. I couldn’t get anyone to read even a few chapters.
But still, I plowed on. I tried to quit, but I’m stubborn like that.
I’m not mad about the years I spent trying to shake the literary tree. I’m pretty happy about them (in hindsight). We all come into this business armed with something. Rich spouse, years blogging, great contacts, a sharp eye for trends – whatever it is, we all have tools we can lean on.
I came armed with so much rejection that nothing any motherfucker said was going to get me to quit. I came with so much practice that I knew my process. I knew my strengths and my weaknesses inside and out.
Without those years of struggle, I probably would have quit publishing in 2012 when my mysteries started tanking. Instead, I reinvented myself again.
– CD Reiss
Social media is PUSHING.
And today’s reader doesn’t buy things because the author pushed them.
As a reader, I want a book to pull me.
When I see a book’s name pop up again and again among people I trust, I want to read it.
When the cover is beautiful and the hook is compelling, I want to read it.
When I meet the author and they are gracious and kind and insightful, I want to read it.
When I listen in on a panel and like what I hear, I want to read it.
When I chat with someone on Twitter, and they make me laugh and add value to my life, I start to think that their book might add value, too.
None of those things are pushy.
None of them happen *to* me, uninvited.
I don’t want to be the object that is acted upon. I want to be the subject that makes a conscious decision, that feels a twinge of curiosity and discovers something amazing. I want to be the person who acts, not the person who is acted upon. I don’t want to be badgered and nagged and wheedled and urged and threatened and cajoled and whined at.
– Delilah S. Dawson
“Don’t wait for a light to appear at the end of the tunnel, stride down there and light the bloody thing yourself.”
– Sara Henderson
If your books aren’t selling, there is only one piece of advice that is true, I’d say:
Keep writing. (…)
Survival is the most vital success an author can engineer for herself. Simply staying in the game — emotionally, mentally, productively — is huge. It counts for a lot and it is the way to a stable writing career. Again: this is a career of peaks and valleys. A lot of writers love the peaks but can’t hack the valleys. Learn to love the valleys for their ability to let you rethink and reframe your careers and give you a new peak to which you can look forward.
At the end of the day, the most fundamental advice is the same as it is for anybody: don’t get mired in drama, do your best work, sell it for what it’s worth, and try to improve with every iteration. Do not base that improvement purely on sales or reviews, because both of those are the result of a thousand wildly spinning compasses. Sometimes it’s on you, sometimes it’s on the publisher, sometimes it’s on the fates themselves. You control what you can control, which is the work. Write. Edit. Publish. Repeat. Survive. Look to a career that is not just the few books and the few years you’ve invested but is an ongoing carousel of the weird wonder that is a writing career.
– Chuck Wendig
Every time you hear yourself whining, stop and step back. Remember that whining is not a business model.
Figure out if the solution is easy or hard.
Easy might simply mean that you have to stand up for yourself.
Hard might mean that what you want isn’t possible the way the industry stands now. The question then becomes do you fight to change the industry or do something different?
Indie publishing has made it possible to step out of the traditional system and be creative without all the strictures that traditional demands. The new world of publishing is freeing, but hard in its own way.
The new world of publishing is as brutal as any capitalistic system is. The people who succeed are those who keep fighting, not those who sit around whining. Yeah, the fight might take years.
If the fight is worthwhile, then do it.
And yeah, it’s okay to whine. In the confines of your own house, to your closest friends, but not on social media.
But when you step into the business arena, do so with confidence. Stand strong. Believe in yourself and all you can do.
If that sounds like it’s impossible, then maybe this business isn’t for you.
– Kris Rusch