I've been absent from the Wicked, Write in the Shadows and Everything Erotic roster for a few weeks. My life has been changing, which, from what I understand, is a good thing. To never change is to lie dormant, to lie dormant is to decay... and that is the beginning of the downward spiral into death.
I liked Jimmy's post on Friday - made me think about where I was a year ago. I entered a huge contest, never thinking I'd get to the semi-finals, only to find out I did. I had to drop out of participating in NaNo to do a final polish on my MS for the requested submission. It was an exhilarating time to say the least.
I begged everyone I knew, and everyone remotely connected to me on Facebook, to vote for my book in the contest. They did. Readers hold a power within them, one they are mostly unaware of. Their energy and sheer dogged determination catapulted Vampire Vacation to the Fan Favorite spot in the contest, for which I'm still grateful.
While my title ultimately did not win, but achieved second place, it turned out to be a gift in disguise. The publisher holding the contest has since gone to an ebook model (Dorchester) and lost almost all of their authors, including the third and first place winners from the contest whom were under contract.
During the contest I conceived the idea for Wicked Writers and approached some fellow writers. Only two still remain from the original group of five; the others joined other blogs, blog on their own, or dropped out of blogging to focus on writing. We launched in January and it's been a grand ride all around.
The year has held more personal and business ups and downs for me than any other time in my life. I turned the big 4-0 last week and I'm at peace with myself and my life right now. I never thought I'd be here. I never thought I'd be a writer. I never thought the crap I spew daily would be interesting in the least.
But here I am.
Published in under two years of writing "Chapter One". Owner of a publishing company with a mostly empty website (stop by for a laugh on the Submissions & Reviewers tab: www.rhpublishing1.com), but we've published two books with one more due out this month and one more before the end of the year.
Change is good...
... but belief is better.
Did I think I'd be here a year ago? No.
Did I naively think once I landed an agent my book would have a contract lickety-split? Yes.
Have I learned more about this changing industry in the past six months than I thought was humanly possible? Yes.
This is the time. If you market the heck out of yourself, social network until your fingers and brain go numb, and work your ass off to produce a damn good book, then (and only then) are you ready for this new time in publishing.
Above all, your work must be good. I cannot stress this enough. And no, I couldn't have done it on my own. Which is why a community of writers is key to success. There will always be readers if you spin a good tale, but you will never be able to produce a work worthy of being read unless you spend hours and hours on it.
Are you ready for change? Or are you still hoping an editor in a publishing house will believe in your work and help you perfect it?
Wake up - times are changing.
You must believe in your work first and foremost. Then you need to get a thick skin so other writers can tell you what's wrong with it and you can fix it. I'm not saying they are always right - I had a ton who hated my style. But you will eventually find ones that work well with you and can help you improve your work.
Listen to your readers. They will never steer you wrong and they will tell it to you straight.
Change with the times or get left behind. Take a risk. The worst that can happen is you fail and that's something we've all survived before.
I believe in you and your work.
If I can do it, you can too-- you just have to be willing to evolve.
Have any questions about publishing, self-publishing, starting a publishing house, or how the industry works? Just ask. I'll answer to the best of my abilities.