Author Guest Post
What is the best advice you have ever received as a writer and how do you use it? What would you offer up as advice to aspiring authors?
The best advice I have ever received as a writer was from Connie Willis, who told me: “The day it’s not your fault is the day your career is over.” By “it” she means your lack of sales, your lack of fame, your inability to produce novels, your inability to find an agent, and anything else a writer might complain about. Her point is that the day you, as the writer, feel like your fate is out of your control is the day that this becomes true. If you won’t change the things that hold you back, don’t expect anyone else to do it for you.
What surprises me is how harsh many people think this quote is when I repeat it to them, and this has allowed me to discover a big secret that can also make all the difference in your career. Ready for it? Here it is. You don’t have to be the best writer, the savviest marketer, the most charismatic deal-maker, or the literary genius to rise in this field. You just have to want it enough to take ownership of whatever stands between you and book sales.
For an example, let me tell you two versions of the same story. There once was a writer who went to a high profile writer’s workshop and was told by the editor in residence that she, the author, wrote strong stories that could make their mark in the genre. She then wrote and submitted short stories and manuscripts to magazines and agents for five years, but no one would give her a chance. She eventually sold a few short stories, yet did not make much money, and managed to sell one novel to a small press. Unfortunately this publisher would not return her phone calls and tried to renegotiate the contract after it was signed, then terminated the contract when the author tried to assert her rights. A year ago, she turned to self-publishing, where over half of book blogs won’t review her work and she isn’t eligible for many of the genre awards.
Now let’s try that again, from a different perspective. Once upon a time a writer went to a high profile writers workshop and learned that, while she wasn’t the greatest author the world had ever seen, she had the skills to eventually write professionally. After graduating from the workshop she wrote and submitted stories for five years, persisting while every single other attendee at that workshop landed a professional sale. Five years to the month after graduation, she sold her first story. She then went on to be one of the youngest from that class to sell a novel, but it was to a small press that, ultimately, wasn’t a good fit professionally, so she let them terminate her contract while she continued to write and submit short stories and manuscripts. She continues to sell short stories to some of the top professional markets, and when the self-publishing movement got started, she decided to take everything she knew about the business of writing and become her own publisher.
Now, I’m sure you can tell that this is the same story. You’ve no doubt guessed that it’s mine. Here’s the key, though, these two stories have different endings. The first story would end with me uploading some ebooks, and then bemoaning the fact that no one recognizes my genius. So to be honest, the first version isn’t my story at all. It’s not the way I approach my career and not the way I think about the major events that have happened along the way. I didn’t resort to self-publishing because I couldn’t get a break any other way. I went for it because I want this career badly enough that when an opportunity opened up, I recognized it for what it was. How has my story “ended” so far?
Last year, the first year I did self-publishing, I sold more than three times as many books as I did through my small press publisher and made more than four times as much money. This still doesn’t amount to a living, or anything close and I’ve reinvested most of that money back into publicity and building up my platform. As a result, this January, my sales are seven times what they were last January – and the month isn’t over yet.
Even now, I have two options for my narrative. Am I a traditional publishing reject who is trapped in the world of indie publishing? I can be if I want to be, but instead I choose to be someone who’s willing to innovate and to learn the nitty-gritty of how books go into print. I’ll learn how to choose a good cover designer and do a blog tour. I’ll figure out which social media work as a publicity platform for my personality, and nothing that I learn in this process will go to waste. Right now, it’s not about how many books I sell. It’s about how many more books I sell than I did last month or last year. The reason I don’t yet make a living? Because I don’t yet write well enough, market well enough, or have the platform I will need. And no, that isn’t me being mean to myself because I can do something about every factor I just listed.
So, my advice to anyone who wants to be a writer? Take ownership of your disappointments and failures. Don’t let anyone else tell you you’re just unlucky or the world is unfair. Believe it’s brutally fair. Don’t coddle yourself when you get a rejection or a deal goes sour. The day it’s not your fault really is the day your career is over, but you should note, the opposite is equally true: The day it is your fault is the day your career begins, and no one can block you from it. They can slow you down and set you back, but the only person between you and the career you want, at the end of the day, is you.
About The Author
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Someone Else's Fairytale by E.M. Tippetts ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours
Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway
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Contest Dates: March 18 - April 8
Book 1: Someone Else's Fairytale series
Publisher: Independent Self-Publishing
Publication Date: December 6, 2011
Format: Paperback - 354 pages / Kindle - 1325 KB / Nook - 2 MB
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Chick Lit / Women's Fiction
BUY THE BOOK: Someone Else's Fairytale
BARNES & NOBLE
BUY THE SERIES: Someone Else's Fairytale
Book 1: Someone Else's Fairytale
Book 2: Nobody's Damsel
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Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.
Jason Vanderholt, Hollywood's hottest actor, falls head over heels for everygirl, Chloe Winters, who hasn't gotten around to watching most of his movies. She becomes the woman every other woman in America is dying to be, but it just isn't her fairytale.
My Book Review:
A famous Hollywood actor falls in love with an ordinary girl ... but for her ... it's someone else's fairytale.
Chloe Winters is a normal everyday girl, and she likes it that way. All she wants to do is finish college at the University of Mexico and pursue a career as a forensic scientist. She also wants to put her traumatic childhood past behind her. But that all changes when her friends Lori and Matthew convince her to go on an audition to be an extra on the set of the new Jason Vanderholt movie that is being filmed on their college campus. Chloe is far from being starstruck or a fan of the Hollywood actor, but that doesn't deter Jason when he is taken by Chloe and wants to get to know her better. And that's when Chloe's life turns upside down ... or maybe it will turn out to be her fairytale after all!
Someone Else's Fairytale is an entertaining story that is more than just your average romance between a normal everyday girl and famous guy. In the first book of the Someone Else's Fairytale series, author E.M. Tippetts weaves an intriguing tale of romance and relationships. Written in the first person narrative, the reader follows along with Chloe Winters as she experiences life issues and deals with a traumatic past, and learns to open herself up to love, relationships, and help from people.
This story has a nice mixture of romance and suspense with twists and turns that draw the reader into Chloe and Jason's story. I loved that the author has created characters who have flaws and a past that they have to overcome. Their strength and ability to overcome adversity and move forward with their lives makes the story that much more interesting. I loved how the author slowly developed Chloe and Jason's relationship, and while it wasn't all wine and roses, theirs is a heartwarming romance with realistic ups and downs.
Someone Else's Fairytale has a little bit of everything in it from drama, to light humor, to family issues to love. It's a fast paced entertaining read that engages the reader, while leaving them wanting more ... which is exactly what the reader will get when the story continues in the sequel, Nobody's Damsel.
RATING: 4 STARS ****