March 26th, 2008

melissa

Novel Thoughts winner!

Deidre won a copy of Dark Sentinel. Please e-mail me at mel @ melissa - lopez .com (no spaces) with which format you'd like.

Thanks to everyone who entered! :) You made my day!
~Mel
melissa

Oh, what a day!

Ever have one of those “I told you so” moments- only as an adult? And only you’re the one going… duh! How right they were? Yes, *raises hand* I had one of “those” moments the other day.

First let me share recent good tidbits before I share the shoulder slumping moment.

Melany’s Bold Bride is doing very well! :) I’m happy! Thank you readers!

And Boomerang Love received a good review from Romantictimes Magazine! “The first book in the Thorn Brothers series is off to a good start!” —Keitha Hart

Now on to the “I told you so moment” I mentioned above. How many of you’ve heard advice from those in the know? From those that have already lived through experiences in the writing industry?

Me *raising hand* I have. And I’d considered myself pretty knowledgeable. I’ve experienced a little. Ellora’s Cave author chat is quite the conductive place. I’ve also had fabulous people like Lori Foster, Sue Kearney, Angela Knight, Lauren Dane and Sarah McCarty… impart their knowledge on certain aspect of the industry.

Hmm…anyone wondering where I’m going with this? :) Well, a couple, three things set my journal muse into action. One: another e-press folded. No surprise- for me -on this one though I’m terribly, terribly sorry for the authors involved. Two: I’ve been doing several interviews of late. In at least half I’ve gotten asked about guidance for aspiring authors.

Honestly the spaces I’ve been allotted to share advice don’t provide enough room. There is so much knowledge to pass on.
1. Jenny Crusie told us all at the 06 NJ conference to know who our real friends are before we make it in this business. I can count my really good friends on my fingers. :)

2. The very best promotion you can do is to write another great book. Seriously, folks, this should be every author’s priority.

3. Expect to spend money getting you name out there. Besides writing another great story nothing beats building name recognition. And to do this- it takes money.

4. Learn about marketing and branding your writing.

5. Research publishers. Ask questions about publishers you’re interested in. Does the company at least appear stable? Are infants considered stable? No. They need constant care. What about toddlers? I don’t think so. You’re running to keep up and hoping they stay out of trouble and danger zones. As a parent of a houseful I like to use children as metaphors. But seriously, it takes a business five years to know if it’s going to make it or crash and burn. Why would an e-publisher be any different? It doesn’t matter if they’re small or large. If they’re NY house know the imprints. Please for your own peace of mind research, research, research the publishers.

6. A good clean website is any author’s number one tool. #1 I say! Yes, both agents and editors check websites of the prospective authors out.

7. Authors need a tough skin. Rejection happens. Bad reviews are given. Every reader isn’t going to love every book you write. Period. There’s no getting around these aspects of the writing industry. Just remember in these cases they’re simply a single opinion.

8. Set goals for yourself. Writing goals. Career goals. Goals. Goals. Goals. You can’t have enough of them. Check your own progress. Did you meet your weekly writing goal? What did your fresh word count total at the end of the month? Get a goal buddy if you need one. Just follow through on your goals the best you can.

9. Remember not everyone has the same journey to publication.

10. Not every agent is right for every author. Again RESEARCH. Know which agent will meet your needs as an author. Know which agents represent your genre/s.

11. Write what you love, but remember to take a risk from time to time in your stories. Look for fresh premises. Remember you’ll out to be a trend setter not a follower.

12. Besides your really good friends- and if you’re lucky enough to have one -an agent you’re on your own when it comes to you and your storing. I find it mind boggling to read when an author states “this or that publisher is/was so open with us.” “The publisher always keeps us so informed.” No folks, publishers simply give you the barest of facts, the facts they want you to have. Period. Repeat after me. "Your publisher is not your friend." And you can like your editor. (I like all three of mine) But they’re not your friend/s. Publishers are looking out for themselves. Period. And as an author (as a business person) so should you.

Oh yeah, back to my shoulder slumping moment. It no longer matters. *Points up to tip one* :) I shared with my critique partner. And that was enough. Like always she made me feel all better. :)

Bonus tip: Do not post things on your blog or journal you don’t want everyone and their sister to read. Seriously, (my youngest daughter’s favorite new word) remember professionalism even in cyberspace.

Please add any tips for aspiring authors you can think of.

Until later~
Mel