You should have heard me squeal when I got the email offering my first publishing contract. There is nothing more magical to an unpublished writer than the words, “If your story is still available, we would like to offer you a contract.” My family thought I’d found a snake in the house...again.
Before my first release, I didn’t know much about becoming a published author. I thought all I had to do was write a great story. Silly me! After two years, I’m still finding out what it means to be published. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.
10. Hiring an agent is not like hiring a plumber to fix your sink. -- Because there are so many unpublished writers wanting access to the big publishers, agents can afford to be choosy about whose work they represent. One doesn’t hire an agent. An agent hires a writer.
9. People can be blunt, thoughtless, or even mean-spirited when reviewing a book. – It is easy to be harsh hiding behind the Internet. Sometimes reviewers forget there is a human being with real feelings behind the book. The key to understanding the reviewer is that she considers the review to be her review of your book not your review of your book.
8. Books do not sell themselves. – Readers will not automatically know a book is available for purchase. Promotion can be both time-consuming and expensive, sometimes with very little return for the effort, but there is nothing more satisfying to an author than the words, “I bought your book and I loved it.”
7. Readers have certain expectations and some of them will get testy when those expectations are not met. -- An author’s vision for the book is useless if no one is interested in the premise or the way it’s delivered. A writer must be familiar with generally accepted expectations for her genre and remember to give the reader what she wants.
6. Most authors will support you instead of treating you like the competition. – There is a definite vibe of “we’re all in this together” running throughout most of the writing community. Some of a writer’s best friends are writers she’s never met face-to-face.
5. Unless you make time for it, there will be less time for writing. – Promotion can consume a writer’s every waking thought if she lets it. If a writer does nothing else to further her career as a writer, she should make time to write.
4. Writers leave gaps in their stories and don’t realize it. -- A writer’s mind will fill in plot gaps because she knows the backstory, the details, and the reasons for her characters’ behavior. A writer should ask people she trusts to read her work, people who are willing to tell her when her story is missing something. Which leads me to my next thought...
3. A good editor is priceless. I’ve had some good editors, and I’ve had some less than stellar editors. If a writer is lucky enough to acquire an editor who knows what she’s doing, she should make sure she lets her know how much she appreciates her.
2. Success will not come overnight for most writers. – What writer doesn’t dream of being discovered and having her book baby turned into a movie? The truth is that most writers will never make a living from being published. A successful writer has committed to a long-term publishing career, sticking with it until she has an established fan base. Which leads me to my last thought...
1. Once a writer is published, it’s too easy for her to forget why she writes. -- Being a published author can be the most rewarding thing in the world for a person who loves the power of the written word, but a writer can lose her joy if she becomes bogged down in everything that comes after releasing her first book. The writer should never lose her focus and remember every day why she began writing.
Why do I write? It’s a compulsion. If I can’t write, I might as well not breathe. I promote what I write because I want someone to read it.
Sometimes the end is only the beginning.
Almost a year after her husband dies, Ellie Marston opens the file for Tab’s last manuscript, a thriller so compelling it reads like a true story. His manuscript needs an ending, so Ellie writes the obvious conclusion. The same morning she types The End, her career as an assistant district attorney falls apart. Accused of throwing the high profile Patterson case, she resigns in disgrace. The only friend she has left in the criminal justice system is Det. Paul Santiago, a man she has worked closely with on numerous cases. While she was married to Tab, she squashed her growing feelings for Paul, determined to make her deteriorating marriage work, but circumstances after Tab’s death bring Ellie and Paul together.
Ellie’s paranoia increases as she becomes convinced Patterson is harassing her, certain that someone is searching her belongings for any hidden evidence she might have that would reopen his case. It becomes clear there was a conspiracy to release Patterson. She seeks help from her former co-worker, Presley Sinclair, but soon discovers Presley is deeply involved in the subsequent cover up. Worse yet, Tab’s affair with Presley drew him into the twisted conspiracy as well.
Together Paul and Ellie attempt to uncover the conspiracy in the District Attorney’s office, the set up that forced her to resign. The key to the mystery is hidden in the pages of Tab’s manuscript. Once Paul and Ellie come to the correct conclusion—Tab’s manuscript is a true story and Ellie’s added ending is the only logical outcome—Ellie attempts to reveal Patterson’s hidden partner in the District Attorney’s office, but the co-conspirator she uncovers is not whom she suspects. Danger swirls around her as she steps further and further into the conspirator’s trap.
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Genre – Romantic Suspense
Rating – PG
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