It’s interesting to look back on the beginning of my career in publishing. I knew…nothing. Nothing at all. I had very few expectations beyond: holy cow, my book is going to be a book!
I’m still learning a lot, every day and all the time, especially as my career branches out, but I definitely know more than I did when I started.
The first thing I learned may well negate the rest of my post, but it’s an important one: you don’t have to take everyone’s advice. Because what’s right for them, might not be right, or even remotely true for you.
Just because someone tells you that your position with a publisher is tenuous, or that every book will be harder, or that you won’t ever really learn, or that your first book isn’t selling THAT WELL etc, doesn’t mean it’s true. And yeah, I basically heard that (from peers in the industry, not my publisher) when I was first published and it was scary and strange and bleah.
But that’s the other thing, the longer people are in this business the more baggage they collect. And you’ll collect some of your own, but it probably won’t be the same as mine, or as Jane Doe’s or whatever. So while scary warnings might be true for the person giving them, it doesn’t mean they’ll be true for you. Make sense?
When someone comes at you with a lot of negativity, and I mean something different than advice on a hinky publisher or something, ask yourself what they’re getting out of it, and filter it out. And move on.
Another thing I’ve learned is that everyone’s journey is different. Really, really, everyone’s journey is different. Comparing yourself to other people, either their prolificness, or the house their with, or the deal they got, is pretty futile, especially when it distracts you from your own path.
Comparison is the thief of joy. It’s also the thief of productivity. Sometimes it doesn’t seem clear why this person has X and you don’t, but the thing is, maybe you’re not supposed to have X. Maybe you’re supposed to have Y and it will be more successful for you, and more satisfying than X would have ever been, but you have to keep moving on your OWN path to figure that out.
Filtering things that hinder my productivity has been one of the most important things I’ve learned to do (obviously not perfectly…things still happen that ruin my word count for the day). But I do know that I’m an emotion sponge. I know that I don’t thrive well around drama. This means I do everything I can to limit my exposure to industry drama.
I know plenty of people who aren’t affected by it. I know people who need to vent in loops, online, in order to move on. And that’s okay. But I’m one of those people who needs to avoid that stuff. The key is to know yourself, and to know that you’re under no obligation to participate in loops and boards if you don’t want to, or if you feel it’s unhealthy for your creativity.
Some of the best advice I got from my first editor was: Some of the most successful writers never go to conferences, never post in loops or on boards. They simply write their books.
That resonated with me. There are many things in this business I can’t control. From sales rankings to titles, to covers, to release dates, to the way people respond to my books and to me as a person…it goes on and on. But what I CAN CONTROL and what is ALL UP TO ME is the actual writing.
How much I write, what I write, when I write, where I submit…all of that is up to me. So that’s where I put my focus, and I’ve found that, for me at least, it’s proven to be successful.
Basically, what I’ve learned amounts to this: Know yourself, listen to your heart, eyes on your own paper. Do your work.
And speaking of things I’ve learned…I’ve learned that Xander’s book has a title and release date: Pretender to the Throne will be out March 2014! This was a totally reader driven effort. I wanted to write this book, but I wasn’t sure if I would be able to, and since so many of you asked, my editor and I made it a priority! So thank you all for that.
Also, for those of you who bought and read Unbuttoned, THANK YOU! You’ve made the launch of the Silver Creek series so fun. I can’t wait for Unexpected to come out so you can read Kelsey and Cole’s story! (August 20th *cough cough*)
Take care! Happy reading and writing!