Don't Get Mad, Get Writing

Credit to Cellar_Door_Films WANA Commons
Hey gang! Hope your weekends were fabutastic. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to wish the winners of my cover contest well! If you missed it, you can check it HERE.

This week, I want to talk about an 18 year old who just signed a six-figure publishing deal (yes, it's a vampire story), but first ...

New Adult Twitter Chat (#NALitChat) Update

Many of you know that I host a weekly Twitter chat, but there are some new folks following this blog so I thought I'd share a quick update...

For the uninitiated, New Adult is a category of literature aimed at the 18-26 year old demographic. The themes and characters tend to fall into that focus as well. Basically, if you're a fan of YA lit, and wondered 'what comes next?', you simply have to come hang with us. We do talk about a range of writing and reading related 'things', not just  New Adult, so I think there's a little bit of something for everyone. (And all are certainly welcome.) 

If you're feeling a bit naughty, this is the month to join in as we're starting our 'Risky Business' series in which we'll be chatting about sex in New Adult lit, taboos in New Adult lit, and much more steamy goodness. All from a writing and reading perspective. To take part in the chat, just jump on the Twitters every Thursday night @ 9 PM EST and use the #NALitChat hashtag in your Tweets.

For more info on the chat, check out the NA Lit Chat blog, complete with fancy calendar, HERE.

This Week's Good News!

Speaking of steamy, check the cover for this fabulous upcoming New Adult release!


I think my author-pal Carrie Butler is going to set the reading world (as well as a few eyeballs...) on fire when Strength debuts next March! Don't believe me? Check this epic blurb:

"When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, her rumor-laced notions are shattered. Handsome, considerate, and seemingly sane, Wallace Blake doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, screaming and banging on the walls of his dorm room. Hell, he doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, period.

Too curious for her own good, Rena vows to uncover the truth behind Wallace’s madman reputation—and how two seconds of contact had left her with bruises. Of course, there are a few minor setbacks along the way: guilt, admiration, feelings of the warm and fuzzy variety…

Not to mention the unwanted attention of Wallace's powerful, supernaturally-gifted family.

They’re a bloodline divided by opposing ideals, two soon-to-be warring factions that live in secret among us. When Rena ends up caught in their crossfire, Wallace has no choice but to save her by using his powers. Now they’re really in trouble. With war on the horizon and Rena’s life in the balance, he needs to put some distance between them. But Rena won’t let go. If fighting is what it takes to prove her own strength and keep Wallace in her life, then that’s what she’ll do—even if it means risking a whole lot more than her heart."

Epic, right? You'll want to stalk Carrie to stay up on the Strength release shenanigans I'm sure she has planned, and you can find all of the details HERE.

My own good news! 

So, I somewhat stealthily added my book, Blood Fugue, to Goodreads recently. I did so to allow the folks who have received arcs to be able to review it in advance of release (later this month), and planned to officially announce that it was up when I posted about the epic launch blogfest I'm planning (in the coming days).

Well, I got my first review and decided to break out the announcement early. Why? Because the review was awesome! lol Super-duper-awesome author-blogger Eve (aka - The Desert Rocks), and recipient of a Blood Fugue arc, gave it five stars! You can read her full review HERE, and be sure to give her blog a follow. She's an absolute blast, and now on my holiday shopping list. :-)

Also, if you'd like to add Blood Fugue to your Goodreads list (and jockey for position on my holiday shopping list), you can check out the official listing HERE.

Don't Get Mad, Get Writing

An author I follow on Facebook posted this article about an 18 year old girl who recently signed a big book deal with a BIG publisher. She didn't share it as good news ...

The author who shared the story is, like 99.9% of published authors, solidly mid-list. Which is to say she has had to scrap for every ounce of respect, every smidgen of publicity, and every last cent given to her by the book publishing world. She works her tail off, and hopes each book she puts out moves enough copies to get her next story published, much less six-figures. As I said, that's life for most authors. 

I LOVE her books, by the way. They are unique, and beautiful--truly nothing else quite like them. That I've read, at least.

And I'll say this: Indignation over a fledgling adult, much less author, having an agent FIND HER, and getting a big contract for writing ANOTHER Twilight-inspired spinoff is certainly understandable, and probably justified. It's hard to process how one person can bust their ass for years--trying to get an agent, trying to write something good, trying to write something marketable, etc.--and not achieve the success of a first-time teenage author.

However, there is something the young woman in the article got right that I think many established (and otherwise) authors aren't figuring out: she wrote stories, and she shared them. From the age of 15, she was uploading chapters to various social writing sites. She eventually got enough exposure that an agent took notice. 

Now, I don't think I need to write another 'publishing has changed' post today. I think what I need to tell you is this: If people aren't reading your words, it's your fault

Go ahead, get pissed at me. Throw stuff. Quit following me... on second thought, let's not be hasty. You can stomp your foot, maybe even curse me under your breath, but you should keep following. I'll say something you'll like soon enough.

So if it's your fault, how can you fix it? Simple!

- You need an idea for a story. 

- You need to learn how to write. 

- You need to get better at writing. 

- And you need to be willing to put it out there.

These steps apply to EVERYONE. You want to go the traditional route with an agent, etc.? Great! Start getting your work out there. You want to be independent and do your own thing? Great! Start getting your work out there.

The lesson is this: There isn't an established author-process anymore, other than writing something awesome and fighting like hell to get it in front of readers.

A couple of suggestions, if I may. 1) If your goal is to get a novel represented by a literary agent, and one day see your book in a real book store, write other stuff on the side and put it out there. 2) If you aren't sure what publishing direction you want to go in, write a bunch of stuff, and put some of it out there.

Note: This isn't me advocating throwing poop on the wall to see what sticks. Your dry runs are best kept in house, even now. You put out something before it's ready--before you're ready--and the cold Web-world will strike you down with a fiery vengeance. Besides, you owe it to your readers to be the best you can be, at whatever stage.

I'm simply advocating action. As silly as it sounds, the modern writer must write! We are in a content driven age. People want to read about everything, and they want to read about it now. That's truth.  

So the next time you read about some 'instant' publishing success story--or other affront to how you believe things are supposed to work--don't get mad, get writing.

~EJW~


37 comments:

  1. I agree. When you see someone else succeeding, you just have to work all the harder. That's it!

    Congrats on the upcoming Blood Fugue!

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  2. Well said, err, I mean well written! You can't succeed if you don't try...hard! This thoughtful post is going to help a lot of folks E.J.

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    1. Thank you Liza! I certainly hope it does. :0)

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  3. It is frustrating sometimes to read about another author's "instant" success, but it really isn't a competition. Not to my mind anyway. There are so many paths to success that news like that tends to just wash over me anymore. Good for her, and I hope she uses the money to go to a great college. That's probably the mom in me talking. :)

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  4. It can be frustrating, I agree -- but I also agree with the fixes. Great post. And I am excited to hear about your book and review! I need to check it out on GoodReads.

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  5. Chuckled at LG's response!
    Hey, more power to her. You're right, it's not a competition. Maybe if that had been my dream, I might feel envy. But I'm already much further than I ever imagined. So if someone else shoots for the stars and goes way beyond, that is awesome.
    Now to Goodreads!

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    1. Completely agree, Alex. Just do what you do, and do it well. :-)

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  6. E.J ...

    It's just HER time... I believe TIMING is everything. Having had a vey successful modeling career at a young age, I can relate to this girl. HOWEVER. She is young and doesn't mean she will continue to be successful.

    Instant success is fleeting. I have learned this VERY early on in my life. In my case, I grew up, fashion changed, and a new face replaced me. It's the same for writing, or any creative venue.

    But remember EVERYONE. Talent does rule out.

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    1. Michael, I love this response. Timing is truly everything. For the ideas, for the story, etc. It's awfully hard to remember that the journey is so very different for everyone. I'm going to do a post soon with a song I think captures that spirit perfectly. :-)

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  7. Thanks for the shout-out, EJ! I marked Blood Fogue 'to-read' on Goodreads. :D

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  8. Great post, E.J. :)

    And I just might have to break my 'I don't review as my author persona' rule to get on your shopping list. LOL :P

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  9. Similar to what Michael said, the young, successful debut novelists have it tough because then they have to spend the rest of their careers trying to live up to their debut novels. Whereas the writers who have spent more years writing get more time to work on their writing and figure out what works and what doesn't. But yes, I will admit that I do feel a little envious when I hear of young writers who do so well.

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    1. Tons of pressure there for sure. Writing, perhaps more than any other craft or field, requires highly personalized steps to eventually get you to where you and your writing need to be. For some, it'll be 50 steps, others 5,000. She took the steps she needed to take, and I believe we should learn from her example by simply moving. :-)

      Appreciate your thoughtful response, NW. :-)

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  10. Congrats on the awesome review! And great post, too. Writing for publication has always been my goal, but I feel like I need to really get serious now, and these are some great steps I should focus on. :) Good luck with the book release!

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    1. It's hard to see an "overnight success" (which usually isn't as overnight as it looks) in any field without feeling that twinge of jealousy. We need to get over it, the same way we learn to get over agent/editor rejections. Life is too short to spend any of it whining.

      Congratulations on your new book and the excellent review, E.J. I imagine you've already done your happy dance?

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  11. I think success in our business is all luck. Now I'm off to check out that review.

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    1. Definitely think there's a fair amount of luck involved, Michael. But some of that is really just hard work masquerading as luck. :-)

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    2. I disagree. I think that it's all luck. Or you may prefer "mathematical improbability". In a subjective business, the huge sellers just win a lottery. There are lottery winners every week, right? I'm jealous of all of em.

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    3. Ha! Yeah, I think lotto winners suck, too.

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  12. Ooops! I have your ARC and haven't read it yet. I suck. I've got a beta-read another book to finish before I start yours. Hope that is okay.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

    http://www.shellysnovicewritings.blogspot.com/

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  13. Congrats on the awesome review! I've got it on my GR list, and hope to get to it soon.
    The thing with the youngins who garner success--it happens ALL the time. I've been struggling for 5 years now to sell something, all the while watching writers who are WAAAYYY younger than me reach the goal that eludes me. But who's to say they didn't work harder for it in some way?? It's all about personal goals and not comparing your journey with others no matter how frustrating. It's a battle that can't be won.

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    1. Yep, and I've even seen some say that publishers are targeting younger authors, because their age creates buzz (like Paolini-Eragon did). We can't control the industry, only our words. We (authors) have more control than ever before when it comes to finding readers, and I'd recommend researching all of the avenues to find what fits best with your goals. :-)

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  14. Thanks for the shout out and you're so right about just getting it out there. I've been a columnist, a professional copywriter and just because I wrote a manuscript, doesn't mean agents are begging on their knees!(Too bad, huh?)Either way, writing was my goal since I was very young and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. Every sentence, every turn of a phrase or creative thought can lead us closer to our goals. E.J. you're a wonderful writer and that's why I've been following your blog. I enjoy your fresh perspective and wish you all the best with Blood Fugue.

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    1. Thank you dear. :-) You're far too kind to me, but I love it. lol

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  15. You make some great points! When I see someone succeed at a young age, my first reaction is "Why didn't I start trying to get published sooner?!" My second reaction is, "Good for her! Now I have to try and work harder on my own book" :)

    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. I'm the same way! I usually just shine light back on myself and try to figure out what else I could be doing. :-)

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  16. Congrats to you on the great review! How exciting! I enjoy The Desert Rocks's blog so it is great to hear that she is the one that wrote the review. Also- I think when I hear about someone getting a great deal I feel happy for them because they have had to put themselves out there. The more people having a chance to read our books- the better. :) I liked your advice!
    ~Jess

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  17. Congrats on your great review!!! And I think you are absolutely right on getting work out there. I think writers who can do short stories are lucky, as that isn't quite as hard to 'give away' but we all need to give something. Almost all the breakout 'newbies' I've seen aren't newbies at all. Just people who've been working hard for a really long time and have finally broken out with something the audience they've built wants (even if a for a lot of us, that isn't our thing)

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  18. I don't begrudge this young woman her success. Not every teen can have this success, so I get irritated when people are like, ugh she just wrote something random and crappy and got a huge deal. No-- she wrote some thing that other teens really, really loved and downloaded by the millions. She earned her deal, in my book.

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  19. Hey EJ! I feel the same way. I've released flash fiction and short stories for free, used my blog to post snippets of Tough Girl and even put a few stories on Wattpad. Blogs are nice, but it's difficult to know if you like someone's writing unless you've read it. I don't do everything for free, but I try to put enough out there that people can find me. Publishing has changed.

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  20. Wow. That was one worth-a-read post! Firstly, congratulations to Carrie. I've seen this book on a couple of blogs this week and it's going on my to-read pile. Secondly, I'm planning to read Blood Fugue on holiday next week. Super excited! Thirdly, your advice regarding not getting mad is spot on. Don't moan and whinge because someone else achieved what you dream of - be happy that six-figure deals still happen and use it for motivation. Dream big.

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  21. Yes congrats to Carrie! I have to join Goodreads! ;D
    I love this post "advocate action"! Yes, we need to only blame ourselves! Off to read and join in! Thanks EJ for shining the spotlight, where it needs to go! You rock~

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  22. I LOVE your rules, LOL...

    It's true. You just gotta jump in! Put yourself out there! Go for it! ;)

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  23. Congrats on the fabulous review!! And thanks for the writing advice~ you're right, it's easy to fall into pity-party mode when people get big deals, but the only thing you can do to increase your chances of getting published is keep writing.

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    1. And doing that other stuff you mentioned, too :)

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