Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Five Year Plan

End of the year, end of a decade-time for introspection and setting new goals or getting drunk and blowing it all off. Not being a big fan of the hangover, I'll go for introspection. Two of my books, GOALS FOR A SINNER and WISH FOR A SINNER, are coming out in 2010. Between the ages of 35 and 40, I wrote two other novels. A single mother, I hoped desperately for some additional income and toiled away every weekend my ex had the children from morning until night. I set a goal for myself of getting a book publshed within five years. I did have an agent for about thirty days, after which she sent a letter saying she was no longer going to handle romance novels but wanted to concentrate on non-fiction and serious literature. I notice she is no longer in the business at all. That aside, my five year plan failed. I put my manuscripts in the closet, remarried, had another child, moved to a larger house with a big yard, and carried out some ambitious projects at work. Ten years later, I had surgery and could not lift, drive, clean, garden, cook, etc. I read a pile of books during the six week recovery, but soon grew bored. Out came the old manuscripts to be rewritten. Two more books followed, then two more (the ones that were eventually published). I haven't stopped writing since, and can't help but wonder how much farther ahead I would be if I hadn't stuck to the five year plan.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Little Fishes

I've come to think of authors as a vast school of little, silver fishes endlessly circling in a vast ocean and hoping to be landed. The publishers, those huge sharks who take most of the risks and make most of the profits, usually pass us by. Editors, toothy barracudas who intimidate the authors into writing better books, come next in the hierachy. Then, the agents-I'd say they are remoras, but most of us don't make enough to feed a remora. No, agents have always seemed more like fishermen to me. They stand on the shore pulling in many fishes, throwing all but one or two back, seeming all-powerful.
Recently, I got a message from a young agent I'd approached. I was surprised to be on her mailing list since she'd turned me down pleasantly but firmly. She hadn't changed her mind, but rather was announcing the closure of her agency. I was sorry to hear that. Sometimes I forget if the publishers aren't taking on new clients, the younger agents don't thrive either. In the RWR magazine, nearly all the first sales have gone to e-pubs and small presses in the last year or so, no profit for agents there. Lots of casualities in this economy, and it is not only tough on us small fishes either.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Staying Forever Younger

Here they are, the new publicity pictures I received as a gift from my husband. The one I usually post was taken six years ago. It's taken me five years of concerted effort to sell two of my fourteen novels. Oh my, how I have aged. So what do you think? Should I select one of these: The Traditonal, the Serious Author, or the Author Outdoors? Or should I stay forever younger?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I'm nearly out of black ink for my printer again. Might I suggest the classic gift for an author of a couple of ink cartridges and reams of good white paper? To be honest, I do nearly all my writing, editing, and submissions by computer and use the printer mostly for my drafts. You can never have too many backups of any kind. So, how about a nice titanium thumb drive or other off-computer storage device to guard against viruses and meltdowns? Doesn't have to be titanium, but I like the idea of owning something made of space ship material. A laser printer would be dandy, too, but costly and not really necessary to your success as a writer. Still, laser anything is cool: printer, hair removal, surgery if needed.
The second you sign a contract, a request will appear asking for a promotional photo. My last good picture was taken six years ago and so I sent that. Budding authors, you might want to hint for a photo sessions with your best local photographer. I did and got new pics for my birthday. Sad that I now look older, but my best feature, my smile, remains the same. Warning: this can get expensive as it is probably a good idea to purchase the copyright to the photos as well.
And the best gift you can give any published author-buy their book and tell them how much you love it.