writing a book

When Your Worst Fear Comes True

I’ve heard this a lot lately:

“What was your latest book again?”

If I Forget You.

“Oh, yeah! I remember now! That one sounded good!” Lowers eyes. “I haven’t read it yet.”

Not that I expect anyone in close proximity to read my books right away (or at all if they aren’t interested in them) because I seriously don’t, but I think I kind of cursed myself when I titled and based a book on forgetting stuff.

When I put out my novel IF I FORGET YOU, I had high hopes for it, but many great fears, as well … all of which have come true so far, and I’m pretty sure most of it is my own error. I made some pretty massively huge mistakes, the biggest one being that I didn’t market it one bit at all outside of announcing that it was published and out there. Why did I not market it? First of all, I was afraid for people to actually read it because the main character is a lot like me and I didn’t want to have to stumble upon reviews that tore it apart. Secondly, I think I released it too soon after OUT OF TUNE. Thirdly, I wanted to see if not marketing a book at all makes any sort of difference in sales. A big duh to that answer, right? It’s because I happen to know several authors who don’t market at all and their books sell just dandy. But they aren’t me, and they don’t write in a genre that doesn’t fit anywhere (i.e. clean new adult with no steamy erotic sex). At least I like to blame it on those two things, but who knows? Other people write clean new adult and do fine, but again, they aren’t me.

If I’ve learned anything in this business, it’s that there is no magical formula to selling books, and while there is a lot of luck involved in financial success, it’s also a matter of putting yourself in good situations to create that luck. It doesn’t just pop up out of nowhere (even thought it seems that way sometimes when you’re getting green with envy over another person’s success).

The thing is, folks, I’ve reached my worst fear: a novel I put out there completely 100% bombed on pretty much every level outside of the fact that I think it’s well-written, some people I highly respect who have read it say they loved it, and I’m proud of it. But a book failing the way this one has sales-wise, and after losing my publisher and feeling very alone this past year, I’ve felt at the bottom of the barrel emotionally, financially, etc. I’ve reached a point where I’ve spent way too much money on this publishing thing and dug myself too large a hole to climb out of with just selling books. So. Worst Fear Come True right there. I’ve had to attain a part-time job now that has nothing to do with writing, so now I have less time to write, and if I look at it with the bleak vision I usually look at everything (pessimist by nature here), I’d have a good mind to quit writing altogether.

Expectations are killer!

But I’m not going to quit. I’m still writing. I’ve shifted my goals, let go of some hefty dreams that have weighed me down over the past four years, and turned my eyes to different horizons. I don’t know if I’ll ever reach the goals I’ve set. I’m halfway through a novel I believe in wholeheartedly, and I’m not stupid enough to believe I’m a bad writer or anything, but when I look back on the path I’ve traveled, I wonder if I’d set out on it again if I were to start all over. At this point in time, I’m not sure I would because this is just a tad bit soul sucking and it’s hard not to ask WHY AM I PUTTING MYSELF THROUGH THIS?

But like a friend of mine told me the other day after she read a blog post about what writing and publishing is like, sometimes you’re simply in the middle of a mountain meadow and you have no idea where you are, no idea if you even have a peak to climb after the ones you already reached and fell from, no idea which direction to turn. But you have to keep wandering, even if it feels aimless. Because eventually you’ll make your way out of the meadow if you don’t sit down and give up. And eventually you’ll find another peak to climb and you’ll think you’ve reached the top, but in reality there’s just another peak to climb. The trick is you usually have to go down first, and cross more meadows, then climb that peak just to find another one. There is no final destination.

So, it seems I’m in a meadow right now. A rather large one. With no flowers. But hey, I’m still writing and that has to account for something. I’m in the process of beginning to market my failed book and my other books, and I’m planning on being involved in many authorly things next year, like, gasp! conferences. All of that means I’m wandering, not sitting stagnant. One day I’ve got to make it to a spot I can at least see another peak, right?

Posted by Michelle D. Argyle in About Me, All Things Publishing, If I Forget You, 12 comments

Expectations

There is something to be said about the enthusiasm of others for things you are working on. For many years, I think I thrived on this enthusiasm. I think I lived and breathed it and let it fuel pretty much everything I was doing. For instance, if I started a new book, I simply couldn’t hold it inside. I had to tell someone about the idea because if I didn’t, there would be no fuel to keep that project going until the end. So, eventually, by the time I finished any novel, I had leaked the idea pretty much everywhere. People knew I was writing a book about a tone-deaf wannabe country music star, for instance. But I think all that enthusiasm can actually be a killer in the end. Because, while people may show excitement and interest and enthusiasm for a project, that only means their expectations and ideas of how it will turn out have time to grow and blossom and turn into something that will never, ever live up to what they imagined. So you lose in the end, I think, if you build something up too much.

To me, the perfect reading experience has always been one in which I pick up a book with little or no particular expectations beyond a general desire to read something engaging, and then find myself blown away by the story or the writing or both. I’m pretty sure that any book I have ever picked up (outside of classics, which have withstood the test of time) with high expectations has always proven a disappointment in one way or another. So, while I read a lot of books these days, I try not to talk too much about them with other people, especially ones on my to-read list. And, while I’m not writing at the moment, I have a feeling that when I do start writing again, it’s going to be a more private affair than it has ever been in the past. I’m not sure why this change has come about, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I’ve published enough writing to finally realize — deep down into my bones — that my writing will never 100% please anyone but myself. And that really is okay.

Posted by Michelle D. Argyle in About Me, All Things Publishing, Writing Process, 6 comments

IWSG December 2013 — Sick and Tired of Thinking This Isn’t Worth It

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I stood on my porch and stared out at the snow, felt the dropping temperatures creep around me, saw the icy roads and the cars driving by way too fast, and I felt despair in the pit of my stomach and thought, Why am I doing any of this? Why am I making myself miserable over writing when so many other things in life make me miserable? Like snow and winter and cold. I might as well get rid of the things I have control over. Right? 

Right.

Except, then I read this lovely post from Cassie Mae about mediocre being extraordinary. At first I thought, gosh, if she thinks she’s mediocre, then what am I? She was wildly popular with one of her self published books, then she got an agent. She has published with small presses and big presses now, and she says she’s still mediocre. So if she’s mediocre and has done all that, then where does that put little tiny me, who now has no publisher anymore and has decided to just go at it on her own — small sales and all? Does that make me below mediocre or just mediocre right alongside Cassie? Who the heck knows. But as I stood and looked out at winter today, I finally realized none of it matters anyway, whether we believe we’re mediocre or not. In the end, it truly doesn’t freaking matter. I read this study awhile ago. 268 male Harvard undergraduates were tracked from classes 1938 – 1940, collecting data at regular intervals during their life for the next 75 years. The conclusion: Love really is all that matters. “A man could have a successful career, money and good physical health, but without supportive, loving relationships, he wouldn’t be happy (‘Happiness is only the cart; love is the horse.’).’

So why the heck am I so hung up on all these little things that will, yes, give me the cart, but not pull it? I should be more hung up on how happy I’m making my husband and my family than anything else. And honestly, I haven’t been doing that lately. I’ve been more worried about sales and publishing and writing and figuring out how to make this career work so we can pay off debt and … what? Not have debt anymore? What will that accomplish? Sure, it’s important to pay it off, but it’s not going to make us any happier than we are. There will always be something we’re working toward. Right now debt just happens to be it.

I’m sick and tired of thinking this isn’t worth it, that I need to be on top to make it worth it, that I need to reach such-and-such numbers to make it worth it, that if I don’t reach certain goals and milestones by such-and-such time, I’ll throw in the towel and call it quits. Whatever. I’m done. I want to write and whether I succeed or fail with the numbers, I’m going to do it anyway. It is worth it to me. I’ve become a better person because of it. I’m braver than I used to be, and I’m getting braver every step of the way. And that’s pretty dang awesome.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Posting is first Wednesday of every month. Click here for more info.

Posted by Michelle D. Argyle in IWSG | Insecure Writer's Support Group, 29 comments

IWSG November 2013 — Taking Really Hard Risks (and Not Backing Out of Them)

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I’ve come to accept the fact that I’m the slow tortoise with five boulders strapped to its back, limping up a mountain. I’m moving upwards, or at least sideways, which is something at least, but it’s slow and sometimes I look back and second guess my choice to pile on those boulders. That was a risk, and one I’m not sure will pay off in the long run even though everybody else with boulders on their back told me it would be worth it — and also that a lot of other people have told me the boulders are unnecessary and I would do better pouring my time, energy, and money into something more lucrative. If you ask some of my friends, they’ll tell you I’ve come awfully close to hurling off the boulders so I can head back down the mountain and live once again without such risks piled on top of me. No more writing. No more spending precious time and money on things that are never guaranteed to succeed according to the world’s measure of success. I mean, wouldn’t waitressing or a cashier job be more secure? It’s especially tempting to quit when little hares are bounding past me, giggling as they chomp away on cupcakes and talk about unicorns. I don’t know who these hares are, if they’re a figment of my imagination, or if they really do exist. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Maybe they are the ones who took more risks than me, or they’re simply luckier or more talented. What matters is remembering that even if I get rid of the boulders, I’ll still have to pay for them (with little or no reward since I’m not following through with them). So I might as well follow through, you know?

I’m a “once you start, you should finish” kind of tortoise.

And sometimes … sometimes when I’m trekking up the mountain, which I’m not even sure is a mountain more than a flat, wide field where no direction is wrong as long as you keep moving, I almost feel like I’m one of those hares bounding along. I’m pretty sure I’m delusional at that point.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Posting is first Wednesday of every month. Click here for more info.

Posted by Michelle D. Argyle in IWSG | Insecure Writer's Support Group, 24 comments

Five Reasons Not to Do NaNoWriMo — If You’re on the Fence

National Novel Writing Month is a highly anticipated event every November. Hundreds of thousands of people join in, and let me tell you, it seems to take the world by storm! I did NaNoWriMo way, way, way back in 2008. I wrote Monarch, and it was later published by Rhemalda Publishing in 2011. I just recently republished it on my own. NaNo was a good experience for me while I was doing it, but not so great afterward — which explains why I’ve never done it again. About 85% of my writer acquaintances and friends are participating in NaNo this year, making me question yet again why I’m not doing it. But, if you know me at all, you know I usually shy away from doing what everyone else is doing, so that’s one reason right there. Some better reasoning might be needed, though, eh? That’s why I’ve made a list for all those even questioning if they want to do NaNo or not.

1. If you don’t work well under pressure.

If you normally don’t work well under pressure, chances are that NaNo is not for you. I only work well under pressure when I’m getting paid at the end of the project (and no, possible publication doesn’t count), so that’s why Monarch didn’t work out so well when I wrote it in one month and then had to rewrite it completely from scratch later because it totally sucked. Basically, what NaNo gave me was a ridiculously in-depth outline. If you do work well under pressure and NaNo doesn’t stress you out, heck, you have nothing to lose. Do it!

2. If important family members aren’t going to understand or support you — resulting in resentment on both ends.

I’ve heard on more than one occasion fights and resentment breaking out because of NaNo, especially if a writer does it every single year and things like Thanksgiving, family gatherings, etc. are either completely ignored or shoddily attended or planned by you. If you’re putting your writing above things that should be taking priority, that’s probably a good reason to do NaNo some other month where there’s no big holiday, or simply refrain altogether and write at a pace that doesn’t force you to make decisions between word count and visiting family you haven’t seen for a long time. If your family and friends support you all the way, go for it!

3. If you’re a seasoned writer already.

Back in 2008 I had a huge problem with word count, so NaNo was good for me in that way because Monarch was only my third novel and I needed to learn how to write 50,000 words in a month. These days, though, if I’m seriously drafting, 50,000 words in a month is something I do over and over and over. It’s not a huge hurdle for me anymore, so NaNo seems like a totally pointless thing for me to do. I could do it, sure, but knowing I have to get 50k in a month — making it feel like a competition of sorts — will completely and utterly kill my creativity and ultimately my productivity. I just don’t find that fun like many authors do. If you’re a new writer, NaNo can do wonders, so you might want to try it.

4. If you haven’t done the pre-work.

Yeah, I’m guilty of this one. I jumped into NaNo with NO planning on Monarch at all. No research. No mulling over or marinating the story for a few months. Nothing. I just jumped in and went for it. That’s why I ended up with one of the worst first drafts I’ve ever written. I don’t think this is the best way to write — at least for me and anyone who values good, solid research and planning before beginning a draft. If you have done all your pre-work, or you like the pure discovery method, maybe NaNo would be a great idea.

5. If you don’t need a kick in the pants to start and finish a novel.

Let’s face it. We all need a kick in the pants sometimes. But I feel like a lot of seasoned writers don’t actually need NaNo as a motivation to write. If you do need a kick in the pants, maybe NaNo is exactly what you need to finally get that novel written.

The bottom line is that some writers do NaNo just for fun, and sometimes to relax from other more stressful projects. Some writers do it because they haven’t been able to finish a novel yet. Some writers do it because writing 50k in a month is a breeze and they actually set a higher goal of 100k or something. Take your time in figuring out if NaNo will work with your style and personality. If you love it, awesome! If not, you can join me in my lonely little boat while I watch and cheer from afar. Woot!

Posted by Michelle D. Argyle in Writing Process, 10 comments

IWSG October 2013 — I Am Surviving!

Insecure Writer's Support Group BadgeMy last post was pretty depressing. Sorry about that. I like to freak out, and sometimes it leaks out into posts and social networks. For the most part, I try to keep these freakouts to myself. It’s best for everyone, I think. The truth is, I’m surviving! Before I bore you with details, I’ll entice you with the news that I’ll be announcing a new book release date very, very soon. Double yay! Then, once that is out of the way, things will calm down and I’ll get to drafting my next novel.

So, my insecurity for this month? The wonderful thing is that I feel less insecure right now than I have in a long time. Not sure why, but it’s a great feeling. My family is happy and healthy, the weather has been beautiful (despite the fact that we have snow in the forecast for this Friday), and I’m feeling confident about my writing. Let’s hope all of this lasts! My encouragement to others is to hang in there and keep your sights focused on what is most important to you. Things almost always sort themselves out, maybe not in the ways you expect, but sorted nonetheless. More than likely, I’ll have something huge to be insecure about next month, but I’m hanging tight for now. I hope you are too! Let me know what is good in your life right now, even if it all seems bad. Find one good thing and share if you can.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Posting is first Wednesday of every month. Click here for more info.

Posted by Michelle D. Argyle in IWSG | Insecure Writer's Support Group, 14 comments

IWSG September 2013 — Two Reasons Why I Haven’t Quit

Insecure Writer's Support Group BadgeMany of you might have read my post yesterday about my publisher closing their doors. I didn’t talk too much about my emotional turmoil over the whole thing, but I’m not sure it’s the greatest thing to dwell on, in all honesty. I’ve decided what I want to do, and the point of this post is to say that quitting is not in the decision I made.

Now, I’ll admit that quitting crossed my mind, but not for very long. When I considered throwing in the towel and never writing again, I ended up with two very strong reasons why I should not do such a thing. Yes, I boiled it down to two because sometimes when you’re freaking out, simplicity is the best medicine.

I Am Alive and Anything is Possible

This might sound a little cheesy, but it’s true. As long as I am a breathing, functional human being, anything is possible. I was listening to the radio yesterday about a football player who had to have his leg amputated. The man seriously didn’t give up. He said, I will be back on the field someday! I promise! And he totally did it. He got a prothetic and he’s back on the field playing professionally. He says it hurts every single damn second because the prosthetic grates against his bone, but his love for what he’s doing makes it so that it doesn’t matter.

That, you guys, is something to learn from. Sure, stuff hurts, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it, and as I told my seven-year-old daughter the other day, You can do hard things. She kept saying she only wanted to do easy things because they were easy, and I stopped and I thought about that. I thought, well, if you only stick with the easy crap, there sure isn’t much payoff, is there?

Even if I Haven’t Meant to, I’ve Made a Difference

My writing — this thing I do that causes pain and joy at the same time — really does make a difference in so many ways. Even if it’s just a difference to me. My publisher might close their doors, but I’m finding another way to share my stories. That way might fail at some point, and if it does, I’ll find another way. THIS IS NOT ABOUT HOW I AM PUBLISHED. THIS IS NOT ABOUT INSECURITY OR INADEQUACY, OR MONEY, OR WASTING TIME ON SOMETHING THAT DOESN’T MATTER. Because it has made a difference for good in my life, and I haven’t given up yet.

You never know what your example will inspire in someone else, what your words can do to change another, and where your motivation will lead.

As I told my husband when I was considering walking away from all of this — “If I quit writing, what else would I do that I love just as much? I would probably find something, sure, but then I’d probably want to quit that too because anything I love as much as this will require the same amount of effort, pain, and dedication. So why not this? Why. Not?”

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Posting is first Wednesday of every month. Click here for more info.

Posted by Michelle D. Argyle in IWSG | Insecure Writer's Support Group, 39 comments

IWSG August 2013 — When Should You Call Yourself a Writer?

Insecure Writer's Support Group BadgeYears and years ago, I used to own a photography business. I had a license and everything (really). I knew what I was doing (not really), and I was on fire about making that business work (really). Eventually, I realized that everyone and their next door neighbor’s dog owns an SLR digital camera, and everyone and their next door neighbor’s dog wants to make money off their newfound photography skills. I did find that many people actually were making money off their legitimately professional skills, but sadly, many people I ran across were not quite making it. They were making a little money off their little businesses and providing decent products to their clients, but from what I could observe they were not anywhere near those big-league professional photographers with studios and paychecks to support themselves. I was one of those artists who wasn’t quite making it, and I gave up because I believed I’d never be a “real” photographer.

This brings me to writing because I feel that when I switched over from photography, which had been a brief respite in the long haul of my writing career, I was still an amateur in a business filled with truly legitimate professional writers and authors. Although I now get paid for my writing, I still feel small-league. But it’s fine. I’ve finally realized something very important — something I wish I’d realized back when I was doing photography (but I’m kind of glad I didn’t because then I probably wouldn’t be a writer right now). What I realized led me to these questions:

When should you call yourself a writer? What makes any writer a professional writer?

My answer to Question #1 is — If you make a conscious effort to sit your butt in a chair/sofa/bed/floor and write on a consistent basis, you are a writer. If you are consistently producing material, whether you are publishing it or not, you are a writer. If you’re taking a break from writing and you have plans for when you will begin again, you are a writer. If you don’t have any honest plans to write again … I’m afraid you are on a break from being a writer, as well. If you’ve completed writing projects in the past, or published projects in the past, and you are no longer writing, then you are only an author, not an author and a writer. I think there’s a big difference there.

My answer to Question #2 is — That’s a tricky one, isn’t it? What makes a writer a professional writer? I’d have to say it’s a combination of things, but no one person can tell you if you’re a professional writer or not. I think one qualification is if you’re making money off your writing and you are still writing and you’re treating that writing as a career, then you’re a professional writer — even if it’s a small amount of money. Nobody can start throwing out numbers for that, so in my opinion, as long as you’re making consistent money off what you produce, you’re likely a professional, whether or not you’re living off that income. If you’re no longer actively writing and you’re still making consistent money off past projects, then you’re an author who makes money off past projects, but you’re no longer a writer. If you’re not making money off your writing yet, and you’re aiming to do that at some point, I hope you don’t call yourself “just a hobby writer”. It’s not just a hobby if you’re genuinely aiming to make a career out of it!

These are, of course, just my opinions. I’ve heard many times that you are only a professional when you are making a living off your work. This is what I bought into when I was trying to make my photography business succeed. I was so far away from reaching that “professional” status that it drove me to quit altogether. I treat photography as a hobby now, and that’s okay. But my writing is currently not a hobby. It’s a real career for me, and I proudly call myself a writer, an author, and a professional. I won’t let labels drive me to quit this time! If you’re on a similar path as me, I sure hope you don’t either.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Posting is first Wednesday of every month. Click here for more info.

Posted by Michelle D. Argyle in IWSG | Insecure Writer's Support Group, 22 comments

Accepting Yourself as a Blind Author

I’m deep into revisions on my novel, Out of Tune, which I submitted to my publisher a few weeks ago. I waited and waited for an answer and received a lovely editorial letter thick with the message, “Your book is great! But you need to change all this stuff before it’s ready for publication.” And it’s some big stuff. Ouch, because I thought all the big revisions I did before sending it in were enough. Wrong. So, that’s what I’ve been busy doing lately because #1, I want a publishing contract for this book so bad, and #2, I want to get this book out of my way so I can continue working on my new novel, the forgetting book.

As some of you may know, I tried to query Out of Tune awhile ago. I wrote the thing in nine weeks back in January and February, and can you believe I thought it was a great novel at that point? These were my thoughts:

This book is so good! I ADORED writing it, so it MUST be great. It won’t need that much work at all. Remember Pieces? I wrote that one fast too and it all went so smoothly, even with revisions. This one will be the same! I’m growing so much as an author. I SO ROCK! I’m going to query this and get an agent and go super-big super-fast and my life will be all sorts of happy-unicorns-and-cupcakes-sugar-induced awesomeness.

Yeah, kind of forgot that Pieces is a sequel/companion to an existing book. Characters already solidified. Backstory already completed. World already created. Out of Tune is a whole new story, a whole new world, a whole new set of problems.

I was so blind.

I was stupid and queried it way, way, way, way too early. I had beta readers for it before that, and I did some big revisions, but nothing painfully extensive. Obviously, I didn’t get an agent. I think I screwed up some good opportunities I probably won’t ever get back, so yay for me. You know what I was thinking? Really? I thought:

The more I write, the faster I should get, the less work I’ll have to do on each novel.

To an extent, that might be true, but I was blinded by that thought. I let it give me an excuse to be lazy and arrogant. So, I realized if I want a book out in any decent amount of time, I’d better submit Out of Tune to the publisher of my other books instead of chasing after different publishing opportunities for the next year or longer. And I love my publisher, so it’s not like this is a bad thing, far from it. But now that I’m slogging my way through some heavy revisions, embarrassed out of my mind that I queried this book in such a horrible state, I’m learning my lesson that every first draft I finish is going to suck. This is what I said to a friend last night:

It’s just … you know, after doing revisions like this (and it’s not like I don’t go through this with EVERY book), I go to work on a new book, and I’m terrified. I keep thinking, I’m going to do everything wrong and there’s no way to stop it. The only thing to do is just write it and then fix it later, no matter how long it takes or how hard it is.

I’m blind. In every first draft I write, it seems like I’m totally 100% blind, traveling through an unknown world, charting things I have no knowledge of, and most of it will need major reworking.

I’ll admit, I feel completely foolish putting up this post, because most of this seems like it should be obvious to any author. I just thought that since I’m writing my tenth novel, I would have figured it all out by now. Apparently not. So learn from my mistakes, I suppose, and accept your blindness and keep writing anyway. Unless you’re so brilliant that you churn out perfect first drafts. In that case, can we switch brains?

Posted by Michelle D. Argyle in Books, Out of Tune, Pieces, Writing Process, 12 comments

My 10 Guidelines to Staying Sane as a (Published) Writer

1. Even if you take a break from writing, don’t actually stop writing. Always try to keep something creative boiling on the back burner of your mind. Feeling consistently productive is usually the greatest source of a writer’s motivation.

2. If you insist on reading reviews and you feel the need to punch the computer screen with your fist, don’t. And don’t ever respond in any form or fashion. Be careful what you say about reviews in any form or fashion, even to your friends in private. Saying bad things about other people’s opinions (because they really are just opinions) rarely comes off making you look good in the long run.

3. Don’t ever assume you are worth less than another writer, no matter how on the bottom-of-the-publishing-barrel you feel.

4. Even if the publishing world crumbles around you (or it threatens to crumble your world) remember nobody can ever take away the books you have written and how they have changed you.

5. Don’t call your friends liars by not believing what they say to you about your writing, good or bad. However, rely on your intuition for choosing what to change from criticism. If someone tells you exactly how to fix something (unless it’s grammar), it’s usually wrong for your book. Take feedback. Figure out the fixes yourself.

6. Making time for reading is as important as making time for writing. Period.

7. Don’t ever judge a method of publication, including your own.

8. If you feel like an outcast in the publishing world, it probably means you’re incredibly unique. Live it up. Nobody really wants to be a lemming.

9. If you’re trying to make a living from your books, remember that for most of us it’s slow-going. Always be writing another book (see above about back burners), and don’t forget to, you know, live. 

10. “Breaking out/making it big” on a first book, or fifth book, or tenth book, isn’t always the best way to go. A solid, quality backlist that sells is a stronger foundation and will make you even bigger in the long run. So. Keep. Writing.

Posted by Michelle D. Argyle in All Things Publishing, 15 comments