Stop, hop and blog. I was tagged by suspense writer and superb gardener, Elizabeth Buhmann, to participate in the Sisters in Crime (of which I am a member) blog hop. I love Sisters in Crime. I am a YA mystery writer and I get a lot of advice from SinC members. It’s a great organization.
Here we go…I’m going to answer this one question: If you were to mentor a new writer, what would you tell her about the writing business?
First, I have not been in the business long enough to mentor anyone. I’m barely giving myself good advice. My debut novel has been out for 4 months and its sales are diminishing. I’ve gotten great reviews, but few requests from bloggers. I’ve exhausted my friends and family for sales, and now I’m hoping strangers will somehow discover the book via my Goodreads page or giveaways or word-of-mouth or my book signing or blatant pleading. Some days, I spend more time online networking than I do with my children. Selling a book is tough. Incredibly tough. And yet, I’m on working on another project. Cuz I love to create. Next to motherhood, writing is the only job I’m not be paid to do that I love. It’s the only career I want.
Writers are an amazing breed of people. We will spend years working on a novel. We’ll sacrifice family time and fun in order to finish a project. We’ll send it out to agents and/or small presses in hopes of it finding a home. If it does get to an agent, we hope it sells to a publishing house with an advance. Of course, that might not happen. We write another book and start the process all over again. If it gets to a publishing house, we’re still not done. Because after edits and cover reveals and release, we need to sell that book to readers. Hustle that book like our life depends on it. Work. Work. Work. Then write, write, write.
What would I tell a new writer? I’d tell her to write and learn about craft. I’d tell her to research the business. I’d tell her to write that YA dystopic vampire novel, even though the market is flooded, because it’s what she loves. I’d also tell her to be realistic in her expectations — to know that publishers acquire what they believe the market demands. I’d tell her that she may not sell her first novel or her second or her third. I’d tell a new writer not to give up and to forge the path best suited for her needs. I’d also tell her that no one owes her anything. She might write the best novel of her career, but no one has to read it. Publishing isn’t easy. Writers write because they need to and they hang on to a slim hope that others will read their work and connect. And that’s all we can do. Publishing is not a business for the unmotivated and cocky. Lastly, I’d tell her to be gracious to those who help her.
If you’re an author, what advice would you give a new writer starting out?
Tagging my dear friend, Kate Moretti, for the next hop. She’s the NYT Bestselling author of Thought I Knew You and Binds That Tie and she is my mentor.