Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Searching for the “Path”

Hi everyone –

I had a SUPER hard time thinking up a blog this week. Why?

Well, first off, I’m not much of a “craft” blogger. See, I have this internal non-fiction editor in my head that whispers “this is boring” and “no one cares about this”… She’s really mean and vicious!

But for some reason when I’m writing fiction, she sits back and shuts up. Maybe she enjoys going along for the ride to see where the story goes?

Now she’s over here with a raised eyebrow whispering that this has nothing to do with the topic.

But she’s wrong.

When I set out to be a published author, there was a “path” to follow, almost like a recipe. You finished your novel and started querying agents. If you were very serious, you also worked on building your publishing credits on the side with short fiction sales.

I followed the recipe with dedication.

I finished my novel, started on the next one, and sold short stories to magazines and anthologies. I collected agent rejections and watched as, to my horror, the path started to fork.

ACK!

So there I was in the middle of a forest of unknown, staring at the worn places and wondering if they might be paths too. Which one do I take?

In the end, I tried a couple of them.

I gave up on agents for the moment, and self-published a too-long-for-a-short-story-anthology-but-too-short-for-a-novella, Across the Veil.

I learned a LOT. Mostly that I can’t imagine editing and formatting an entire novel on my own, so while that path definitely leads to the goal of getting my story into readers’ hands, it wasn’t going to work for novels, for me.

Backtracking, I followed the next path and submitted to a new publisher with a great new business model that I admired.

And it worked! I got the call, and my first novel was released.

In fact, in May, Night Walker will be re-released in mass-market paperback and on Barnes & Noble shelves across the country! Woot!

But wait… the story’s not over.

My problem is that my goal is to be a full-time writer.

I need more than a couple books to be out and available if I’m ever going to make enough money to write full time. Well shoot!

So now I’m staring longingly at the agent path, and I wonder if maybe they would be able to point me in the right direction.

Why?

I have another series in my back pocket. (okay on my harddrive, but I’m trying to keep this in character… LOL) The first two novels are complete with the third underway. If the ultimate goal is to write full-time, then I need them to run out into the world pronto, so that I have a backlist to build from.

But where should I send them?

See why the agent path tempts me? LOL

I do have requests from a few places to see the other series, so I opted to submit it without waiting around to find an agent.

Now we come full circle, and that mean vicious voice is whispering in my head again. “What if none of them want it? What will you do then?”

*SIGH*

With all of the options for writers out there, the “Path” seems to get more twisted, with off-shoots that all hold promise. This is a good problem to have, but it’s also scary for those of us with a nasty voice in our heads that thrives on neurotic insecurity.

So I stumble along, unsure which path to take and very grateful that I brought some yummy trail mix to help me remember to enjoy this crazy the journey.

Which path have you chosen? Are you happy with it so far, or are you gazing longingly at another?

Hope I’m not the only one! LOL

Lisa

22 comments:

  1. The path. I see me on the same path, but getting snagged by briars, or blown off course. My goal is just to keep writing, because once I start asking myself if I want to go this way, or that way, I stop writing. If I keep writing, at least I'll have something to present when I do take a different path. Thought provoking post, Lisa.

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    1. Thanks for commenting Gerri!

      And you're so right about just keep writing! When I feel completely lost, I try to remind myself to "Keep your head down and write!" LOL

      I hope you find the perfect Path for you and your books! :)

      Lisa

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  2. Interesting post, Lisa. My path has big bumps--almosts--causing me to stumble. However, I pick myself up and keep trudging on. :)

    Good luck on your journey!

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    1. Hi Dawn -

      The stumbling and very close almosts are so tough! I think that's when our writing buddies definitely help. Sometimes you need a friend to dust you off and walk with you for a while...

      Thanks for commenting!!! And I hope your path smooths out soon!!! :)

      Lisa

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  3. Hi, Lisa, my path took me from my books to short fiction. I've sold a lot of those. Now, I'm looking back at those books and thinking is it time?

    Have fun on your journey!

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    1. Hi Vicki -

      Congratulations on selling the short stories! :) I hope the time is coming for your novels too...

      Thanks for commenting!!!

      Lisa :)

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  4. Wow, Lisa. It's the writer angst coming up. We are so vulnerable, aren't we? As everyone as said so far, I just keep writing. The ideas never seem to stop, so I jot things down all the time and hope something really delicious turns up.
    I sold my first novella to Kensington myself, unagented. after that I tried on for size (yes, it's like fitting new pants), and one of them tried to lead me astray from my personal goal. Needless to say that didn't work out. Then I found my dream agent, and she sold one of those projects I had been working on... and then 11 more after that.

    Keep writing. Explore all options. Keep your spirits up. Surround yourself with light and beautiful people. These things are key. Then pound that keyboard like you always do, and turn out more of your neat work, and hey.... what's not to love?

    Crazy business? Yes. But we're all in this together, and hopefully sharing the love.
    xo
    Linda Thomas-Sundstrom

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    1. Hi Linda!

      Ha! It is like fitting pants! LOL

      And I definitely keep pounding the keyboard, it's when I lift my head to try to see down the path that things get crazy! :)

      Good thing I have fabulous writer friends who definitely walk together on this crazy journey...

      Maybe that's part of why I love it, right? LOL

      Thanks for commenting!

      Lisa :)

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  5. Lisa, what a mean voice you have inside you! What a catch-22 this business is! In order to make enough money to write full time, you have to write a lot of books. But how do you have to write them if you can't afford to write full time? Sigh.

    Like Linda said, at least we're all on this crazy journey together. In the end, your work ethic, kindness to others, and optimism will make all the difference, I truly believe.

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    1. Hi Melissa -

      It is sort of catch 22-ish, but it seems like if I could figure out a clearer path I'd at least know where I'm headed! LOL

      Instead, it could be dark and scary out there!

      Good thing I have the best writing friends on earth so I know I'll never really be lost... Wandering maybe, but never lost... :)

      Thanks for commenting Melissa! And for being my friend even when I'm feeling neurotic! LOL

      Lisa :)

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  6. My path/plan is to run around screaming as the madness of trying to become published finally kills my last brain cell.

    Hmmm- not really helpful is it? ;). My goal is to just keep writing and submitting (might I add that I hate that part? Just incase you didn't get that from the first sentance).

    I am going the agent route just because there are fewer options for SF/F than there are for romance that are non-agent-needed. But who knows what the path holds?

    Great blog and tell that mean inner voice to cool it ;)

    Marie Andreas(at work- can't log into blogger)

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    1. Hi Marie -

      You never know what the path holds... You may have more options ahead for you too! LOL

      Submitting is really sucky, but we defintiely have to keep doing it...

      Even though that mean voice whispers! LOL Yeesh!

      Thanks for commenting chica!!! And for always being close by when I need a friend... You rock!

      Lisa :)

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  7. Lisa, luckily we can switch paths. We aren't ever locked into only one way of doing things, and that's good. Yes, lots of opportunities, and thank goodness for it! There are doors and windows all over the place - we just have to be ready to climb in when they open for us.

    Hugs, hon!

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    1. Hi Christine -

      You're SO right!!! And battling the fear to climb is huge too... Having so many choices also comes with its own set of worries! LOL

      Thanks so much for the comment and support!!! You rock!!!

      *HUGS*

      Lisa :)

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  8. I'm sort of wandering in the forest right now, standing where the roads diverge and scratching my head. In the end, I think the thing to do is to just keep walking and not just sit down and give up!

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    1. Amen Georgie!!! No giving up!!! :)

      And as long as we're not wandering around the forest alone, we'll be all right...

      Thanks for commenting!

      Lisa :)

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  9. YEs..... what Georgie said. Or just pick a path and try it out openly? Really, Lisa, girlfriend, no one knows what's ahead, (except maybe Sherilyn). LOL. Submitting never gets easier or clearer, even after selling a bunch. We all have to submit new ideas and hope (wish, pray) that those ideas are viable to someone else. Angst. Hope. We sure did pick a strange time to be in the business, eh? Even Target no longer carries many books. Bummer!
    xo
    Linda

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    1. It's definitely a crazy time for sure! LOL

      And you're right, submitting is full of worry, hope, and pray! :) Angst is right! LOL But it's worth the risk to someday have your stories free in the world, being read...

      Thanks for all the sunshine Linda!!! you rock!!!

      *HUGS*

      Lisa ;)

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  10. Wow, you hit the nail right on the head with this twisty path. I think I'm on a hilly, twisty path at present. It's good to have options though, and everyone's path is different.

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    1. Very true SHelley!!! WHat works for one person, won't work for the next... SOmetimes our paths intersect but they don't seem to ever be the same...

      Good luck on your hilly twisty path... I hope it straightens and levels out for you soon! :)

      THanks for commenting!

      Lisa :)

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  11. Like you, I've taken a few different paths. I've had moderate success self-publishing, enough that I plan several more books in my series. I've also published a series with a wonderful new publisher (yours, in fact), and have the thrill of seeing that series go mass market this July. Do I still dream of an agent? Sure. But at this point in my career, I'm willing to wait to find the perfect one.

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    1. Hi Rosalie -

      I think I'm with you on the agent front. I do wish I had someone in my corner who could guide me through the forest, but so far the paths I've chosen haven't led to a witch who eats children, so I think I'll keep stumbling along while I wait for the perfect agent to cross my path... LOL

      Thanks for commenting!! And congratulations on the mass-market release!!! I'm so excited for all of us and for Entangled! :)

      Lisa

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