Friday, July 17, 2009

Career-Minded: What does it really mean?, Part 2

If you haven't read the first part of this post, you can find it below.

I left off asking an ambigious question(s). That was my point. Success is in the eye of the beholder. Some qualities of a successful author is universal. Some are not. Each journey is different.

Yet these are the five things I saw when I sat back to look at the successful authors around me:

1. Most, if not all, had a fan base.

2. That fan base came from them writing several books.

3. Those books tended to fall into the same genre for a while.

4. They knew about the industry. If they didn't know they knew where to look.

5. They talked about writing as if it had split personalities--writing and Publishing.

There's more to this list, but I think these are the important ones. At least in my journey at the moment. Some of these may be instinctive for you. Like writing in the same genre. You love paranormal, so you write it and only that. You love historicals, so you write it and only that. *please refer to my last blog post to see how many different books I've written.*

The importance of separating writing (the creative act) and publishing(the business side of writing) cannot be stressed enough. I’ve found it easier to write when the door (the business, editors, agents, what my readers will like/dislike) is closed. I’m not alone in this. Matter of fact, Stephen King said in his On Writing how to- the first reader you have to please is you.

But, once you open that door, all bets are off. You need to open that door and think of your book as a product. That’s the purpose of the query and the synopsis. These are the tools you use to say, “Hey, this is why this book is great and you CAN sell it.” It becomes instinctive to think of your book in genre, word count, and the hook when you switch off the creative side. Don’t fool yourself into thinking this isn’t the business side.

Anyway, this revelation made me sit back and re-think what I was doing and how I was acting. I want to be the author in example number one. I want to have a career as a writer. That's going to take work, but I'm already half-way there. I have whimsy goals that need to be ironed-out and made into an actual plan. I need to stop being a slave to my muse. She can be all flighty only because she doesn't pay rent. And, I'm egotistical. Yes, I said it out loud. I want a fan base. One that doesn't consist of just my parents.

I was writing whatever came to me and submitting it. It never crossed my mind that once I sold *insert genre* that my publisher would expect more *insert genre* My mind jumped straight to the romantic suspense I wrote. I barely made it through that story and then I would have to write more than one? *Cue heart palpations* Now *insert whatever you aren't being business-minded about* and let it settle over you for a moment. Did you just have a few palpatations of your own?

Welcome to the club!

What type of author are you? What type of author do you want to be? If you want to tell me where I can put this post that's ok. The line is on the left, and the comment section is on the bottom.

*You can find more snark from me on my website:*

~Melissa Blue and I'm out~


  1. Great post, Melissa.

    I’m in the process of growing into author example number one. The publication of my novel brought me a huge learning curve to maneuver. I want and need a fan base. I know I must put myself out there in the danger zone—Networking & Promoting.

    My question to you: How do you juggle all that you need to do to develop a fan base and still have time to write your stories?
    ~ C.C. Wiley

  2. "How do you juggle all that you need to do to develop a fan base and still have time to write your stories?"

    I've failed horribly at this, so let me tell you what I've since learned.

    1. Know your next book is the best way to grow a fanbase, and it is the best form of promotion.

    2. The first two months is probably when you'll see the highest movement of sales. (It's an e-book if I remember correctly.)

    3. Planning ahead of time how, when, where, and who in regards to getting yourself in front of your target audience. Smart Bitches, Romancing the Blog, a number of review sites have an avenue for you to promote on their site. It might be expensive for the full-throttle, but there are also inexpensive ways--like a static banner.

    4. Forums are also a good place for networking. And yes I saw you at Divas! Great place to get savvy.

    5. Know when you're doing too much. If 90 percent of your time is spent on reader loops, forums, putting together press releases, book signings and such, then you are ignoring advice number one.

    Lastly, you should prepare yourself to pay dues. Everyone wants to be Nora Roberts over night(myself included). It's likely not going to happen with your first book. (If you are lucky it could happen. Then I want you to rub against me so I can have what you have.)

    Persistence is more than submitting book after book in the face of rejections. It's about carving out a niche for yourself in this industry. It's about growing as an author. It's about not giving up on YOU and/or YOUR BOOKS.

    Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes. I must go now to take my own advice. :)

  3. i'm in WI RWA. great blog. i'm following you now. you should check mine out. i do author interviews with book give-a-ways!