Where never is heard
a discouraging word,
and the skies are not cloudy all day!
Our first guest blogger is the lovely Aubrianna Hunter, author of erotic romances including Hidden Depths and Beyond the Mask. She'll give you the scoop on the emotional side of traditional publishing. Take it away, Aubrianna!
Encouraging words from a published author... Hmmmm. That is a really tricky question, especially considering I'm not entirely sure I've done anything the 'right' way. I wrote two books, queried forty different publishers and agents, and they were both rejected by everyone. That part is pretty traditional.
However, my third book (the first one published), wasn't even completed when I sent out a query. Fully expecting another refusal I sent it to one publishing house on a whim. I didn't even submit the query with the requested formatting. I opened with a quip... "Long time friends, one time lovers..."
It was accepted twenty-four hours later, which meant I had to finish writing the book! Oh. My. God. I was some weird combination of excited and absolutely terrified. Now, I not only had to finish a book in a matter of days, I had to let the world read it! Eeeekk.
So, my Encouraging Words are...
First and foremost, keep trying. If at first you don't succeed, write, write again. You will hear "No;" you will have haters. It's part of the process and the best way to look at it is not to take it personally. Just keep at it. Submit to as many people as possible, as often as possible. There will be a lot more no's than yes's. Contrary to how I got published, I would say make sure you have a completed manuscript and that it is as polished as you can make it before you try and submit. That last minute panicked rush was absolutely no fun.
Find and stick with your style
Be true to your own style. The one thing that I have heard repeatedly, from both fans and haters, is that I don't sound like anyone else. Which is probably quite true. Some love my writing style, and others don't. However, I refuse to change my approach simply to please a critic. And trust me when I say it has been suggested in more ways than one. Find your style, write what you want to read, and stay true to yourself. Your writing will be more natural and infinitely better if it is not forced.
Marketing! Aaahhh, marketing
Then there is marketing! Aaahhh, marketing. Sadly, it doesn't matter how amazingly good your book may be if you cannot convince people to read it. Marketing is hard, it is slow, and it is time consuming. The reality is that even the most successful authors, the most amazing series, did not hit it big right out of the gate. Twilight was first published four years before it became a household name. There are a million marketing strategies and techniques, and they have all seen some success. The best advice I can give is to look for a publisher that handles marketing for you. Then... do what they tell you! It is a lot of work, but ultimately it is worth it. Just give it time!
Best of luck! I look forward to reading your work.
Aubrianna and I will be happy to field your questions and comments! Thanks for joining us. We look forward to a great discussion.