I released 6 stories/books in 2005 with 4 different publishers. A reader forwarded me a post from a loop where another reader had said she enjoyed one of my stories so much she bought my entire backlist. I grinned like an idiot. A backlist of published works. Wow. A year ago, I wouldn't have thought that would be possible now.
In 2005, I hired an agent, fired an agent, hired another agent. I've signed 9 publishing contracts, and rejected three. I've learned to put together a proposal, but can't write a synopsis to save my life. I'm still learning about craft every day, mostly due to the studious patience of my critique partners, without whom I doubt I'd get by.
I'll finish my final contracted work by Jan. 15th and then, unless something happens in the next few weeks, I'll have some time off. I'm going to take that time to figure out what the heck I'm doing. I don't have a career plan yet. I've just been writing whatever I feel like, but pretty much, I need to narrow my focus. (And *pray* I get picked up for more contracts. *grin* )
In 2006, I have 5 trade paperbacks coming out (so far)--three of them are all mine, two are anthologies with other authors. I fully intend to release at least 6 e-books, hopefully I'll manage more than that by fitting in some shorts. Some of the e-titles will come out in trades, usually by the 6-month mark so that will be more books on the shelves in 2006. My third Brava is scheduled for release in 2007.
What have I learned (or at least think I've learned) in my first year as a published author:
- 1.) Listen to the advice of authors who have been published longer. You don't have to heed that advice, but listen to it and absorb it. They usually know what they're talking about.
- 2.) What works for one writer will probably not work for another.
- 3.) Don't torture yourself with deadlines in Dec., Jan., or Feb. This is the second year in a row that I've signed on for deadlines over the holidays. I don't intend to do it again. I've realized that I just can't get into the holiday spirit when I'm not involved in the process of preparing for it.
- 4.) Take the rose-colored glasses off. (I knew this from the get-go, but I'm sharing it with you) Publishing your book is your dream, not your publisher's. You have to make the extras happen.
- 5.) Editors only answer the questions they want to and ignore the rest. They learn this in Editor Behavior 101 and they all got "A"s. It's okay. It doesn't mean they don't like you.
- 6.) Don't be afraid to break the rules or assert yourself.
- 7.) Don't take a bad deal just because it's a deal. Just like with dating, why buy the cow if you're getting the milk for free? Trust me, the publisher is thinking the same thing.
- 8.) Writers are afraid to say what their strengths are. They worry that if they don't appear humble, they'll appear vain. Thing is, you've got to be good at something to do with writing, right? You wouldn't try to get published if you truly thought your work was crap. You'll need to have a core of strong confidence in this business or you'll get squashed like a bug. Find something about your work that inspires confidence in you and keep it close to your heart.
- 9.) Reviews aren't that important. Great ones are awesome to get, but the bad ones won't kill you. I'm still learning this, but at least I'm now able to acknowledge that this is true.
- 10.) Don't put too much effort into your title choices and don't get attached to your titles. In fact, it's probably best to just write "historical manuscript #3" or "paranormal vamp in space #2" in the header. Your editor is most likely going to make you change the title, whatever it is.
Happy New Year!!! *party* I hope 2006 is the year when some of your really big dreams come true. *hugs*