Monday, August 24, 2015

Agency Lessons: That time I disappeared

You guys are awesome, did you know that?

So you may have noticed that I've been absent from the blog for the past several weeks. I want to thank those of you who reached out to me with kind words and wishes that all is well. It means so much to me to have you all as part of my little community and to know that my slice of the interwebs has made a difference for you.

Let me start by saying I am fine. I haven't been horribly disfigured or stricken with a deadly disease. I have only been beaten over the head repeatedly by the busy stick.

This past month I was part of our local theatre's summer melodrama. It was filled with mustaches, tons of popcorn and amazing people. Performance is a creative release for me and while I don't get to do it often, I'm always a happier person with a little stage time. That said, being a part of a production takes a lot of time.
My production head shot. The mustache is fake.

Add to that, the news that we have to move. Again, not earth shattering, but a huge pain the rear. We've been renting a home while we decided if we were going to stay here and Texas and then deciding where to live. We weren't in any hurry to get out until we found out that the house is being sold and we have to move out. So when I wasn't on stage, we were scouring the internet, newspapers and random yard signs for a home of our own. Thus far, our search has resulted in three offers and zero new homes. And the search continues, with the new challenge of viewing homes in-between my husband's rigorous teaching schedule. Because my life is glamorous.

I decided to top all of this off with some contract negotiations, client submissions, manuscript editing and general agenting duties. I also decided I had to get the next book in the Acceptance series out before the very polite emails asking for the next book turned into blood-soaked death threats. So in those brief hours when sleep wasn't completely required, I've been writing and editing until my fingers bleed.

All this to say, I've been gone. And while I'm hoping to do better with updating the blog, I can't make any promises. Also, because I'm still completely behind, I am officially closed to queries and will probably stay closed through the end of the year. If you were planning to query me soon. I'm sorry, but trust me, now is not a good time for me to read your query. If you are still waiting on a response from me for a query or manuscript request, I promise I haven't forgotten about you. I also promise not to go nuclear on my inbox. You will hear from me...eventually.

I will have more to say on the marketing front as a rev up the marketing engine for book two. I've got some new ideas cooking and I can't wait to share them with you. I'd also like to incorporate some more guest blogs into the site so I can provide you guys with some alternate perspective. So if you think you've got a great topic for a guest post or an author you'd like to see guest post here, shoot me an email and let me know.

I think that's it for now. Once again, thank you all for your emails and messages. You rock my socks off!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Agency Lessons: Don't be a sucker

Agency Lessons is a weekly post that gives authors and readers an inside look into the mind of a literary agent and a peek behind the curtain of how books are made.

I subscribe to quite a few marketing lists. It's a good way to pick up tips and tricks. It's also a great way to drive yourself crazy. Here's what I mean. I opened my email today to this subject line:

Easiest Way to Become a New York Times Bestseller?





Gaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!!!

Emails like this are counting on you being a sucker. So let's just talk about how completely awful this email is so you know exactly what to avoid.

1. It's not ever easy
This subject suggests that there are plenty of "easy" ways to hit the NYT list and that this email contains the easiest of the easy. Can we all just  stop with the constant search for the magical unicorn that is an easy button. There isn't one. I promise if I had one, I would share it with all of you.

There is luck and hard work. Most good authors need a combination of the two to hit the big time. It might look like some authors only had to show up to be super successful, but I promise that isn't the case. We never see the hours of hard work, late night pep talks and mountains of rejection that these authors went through to get where they are.

There is not easy solution and anyone who tells you there is is a big, fat, liar.

2. Define your own success
I'm not gonna lie. If by some stroke of good luck and hard work I ever managed to hit the NYT bestsellers list, there will be a massive party involving lots of fried food and adult beverages. And if you hit that list (or any other big time list) you should absolutely celebrate. 

But you don't need to wait to hit this list to consider yourself successful. I've exceeded all my expectations as an author and I'm not even in the same galaxy as the NYT list. Too many authors get caught up on these arbitrary definitions of success and then, when they aren't met, they feel like a failure. And that's a shame.

Don't let someone else tell you what you need to accomplish. Set your own goals and focus on the path that brings you happiness.

3. Not all advice is created equal
There are lots of services and products out there designed to help authors reach their goals. Some are free and others are ridiculously expensive. This isn't an indictment on expensive products. However, know that not everyone out there looking to sell you coaching, courses and opportunities has your best interest in mind. It doesn't cost anything to make a load of promises.

It's important that you take the time to investigate both the people and products being offered to make sure you aren't going to throw your hard earned money away. There are a lot of really great people out there who offer books and courses for reasonable fees that can be a huge benefit to you as an author. There are also lots of not so great people who know how to take advantage of a new author's insecurities and talk you into "help" you don't need.