Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ten things I'll do with my next books that I didn't with the first ones

1. Write faster. Uncut Diamonds took 10 years to finish. House of Diamonds took 3. My newest work, a gritty romance, was finished in less than 2 months. It will be in editing for a year and released next fall.

2. Link to reviews on my blog. There were some amazing blogger reviews on Farm Girl and Uncut Diamonds. Why didn't I create a link list for them? I wish I had, and intend to do so for my next books, maybe even a page of links, if there are a lot.

3. Schedule a blog tour. Again, did not do that before because I had just begun blogging, but plan on it for House of Diamonds. I am really excited about my first blog tour!!

4. Laugh immediately at the horrible, one-star reviews on Goodreads and Amazon that I might get, instead of needing to give them a year before appreciating the silliness of them. "losey book" and "hated it" LOL LOL.

5. Not bother with book signings or appearances. It's not my cup of tea. I don't meet people well in these kinds of settings. Online is where I shine, not in person.

6. Have a clear vision of my demographic instead of wasting time promoting to those who will *hate* my book and call it *losey* (which btw should have been spelled *lousy*). 

7. Worry less about numbers sold. A solid review from a reader who enjoyed my book enough to review it means the world to me. It's like money in the bank on my emotional happiness scale.

8. Get right on to the next one. Needing to make up for lost time in my so-called writing career, procrastination is not an option. If I publish a bomb that doesn't sell, so what? I will just write another book. And if I publish one that sells really well, that *holding my breath* becomes a huge seller, I will just write another book.

9. Let go of comparison and competition. It doesn't matter what other writers and other books are doing in comparison. Period. Let it go, and focus on doing my best work.

10.  Write what I write, despite not knowing what to call it.  Although women's fiction is not the best-selling genre out there, it's what I've got. I could say "literary women's fiction" but I hesitate because for one, I don't think I'm good enough to put the "literary" label on my work, and two, literary isn't what people are reading these days. I could say "commercial women's fiction" but that's the new label applied to chick lit. So is my genre "realistic women's fiction"? Not sure. I write what I write, not sure what to call it.

43 comments:

  1. You definitely need to do a blog tour. I've done one for every book and had a blast.

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  2. That is an absolutely brilliant list! Can I link to this blog post on my blog, please? I want to read it every day to keep my writing motivation spirits up! :)

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  3. That's a very helpful list, message coming through loud and clear. I'm working on my first novel so it might help me avoid a few pitfalls (maybe). Cheers.

    mood
    Moody Writing
    @mooderino

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  4. Karen, I would have the exact same list.
    Karen

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  5. I think you may have just created the Ten Commandments for writers. These are perfect! I'm going to print this and post it next to my computer. And I agree with Diane - blog tours are a blast!

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  6. The one thing I would change on your list to apply to me would be the blog tour. I think book signing and presentation would work for me as it plays to my intended audience and I'm so looking forward to it. Of course, a captured audience of kids in a classroom or auditorium would be an easier target than blogging around on adults' blog site. I'm going to need to go where the kids are. Eek! I may even have to learn Facebook and You Tube!

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  7. Great list Karen. I'm now already laughing at number four.


    Amazing how you completd the last book so quickly. That was inspiring news for how I might tackle my fourth book, and hopefully the fifth, once I get my present revisions to book 2 and 3 out of the way. I certainly won't be over-writing anymore.

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  8. Great list! Especially #9. It's a toughie, but essential in order to stay sane in this biz. :)

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  9. Sounds like you've really got your head together. But don't mind if O cringe at the 'literary isn't what people are reading'. ;o) LOL I think that should say 'what MOST people are reading'. That's better! hehehe

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  10. Jessica, Hey, maybe we can turn that around? I say write the absolute best and readers who love it won't care that it's a genre they aren't supposed to like, right?

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  11. Just write another book - sometimes easier said than done!
    I've kept track of every review I could find of my book and have links to a few of them on my blog. I need to update and add a few new ones.

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  12. This is a very wise list, almost all of which I should take as my own!

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  13. This is a great list! What's important is that you do what works for you. You want to enjoy the publishing process as much as possible!

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  14. Awesome list! I like #4. You just have to laugh at those people who can't articulate their negative review and obviously didn't put any thought into it. I like your attitude of marketing and writing more and worrying less! Great advice for all of us!

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  15. Just keep on writing — as in, "write another book."
    That's my approach to blogging. I guess it works for books, too.

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  16. Karen, I love your list! You don't like book signings? I've wondered about that for a long time (if they would be something I would like to do or not). I'm leaning more on the not, but I'll do them if I have to. ;p

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  17. I swear, one of the reasons I'm pushing myself w/ book #2 is to apply everything I learned in book #1! I like your list here, especially #10. But to me, that's what's cool about not messing w/ an agent---no need for a label, just good stories.

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  18. Nicki, About 6 months after Uncut Diamonds came out, I was complaining to my non-writer sister about poor sales and *lousy* reviews. (This was before I got on Blogger and found a supportive group and appreciative readership). Anyway, she said, "Just write another book." I thought, Yeah, you think it's so easy, you try it. But she was RIGHT. It makes all the difference in one's attitude and approach. And a great way to implement what was learned before!

    Carolyn, I've done quite a few book signings, and they're ok if you bring a party. Or if you are famous, and then the party comes to you. But I just feel awkward most of the time around strangers. It's me, not them.

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  19. KarenG!! Well done you!! I think these are amazing positive attitudes to have for your next books! May your novels roll out and just wow the world! Yay! Take care
    x

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  20. Thank you very much for sharing your lessons learned, Karen. Because of posts like yours I'll be able to have a better marketing plan for my historical YA. A blog tour is high on the list, but I'm glad you reminded me about the importance of linking to reviews. And, yes, always write that next book!

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  21. What a great list. Will RT. Since I'm preparing the launch of my first book since social networking happened, this is a great checklist for me.

    I especially like the suggestion of learning to laugh at the one-star reviews.

    I sometimes check the one star reviews of classic books for a laugh.

    Somebody should start a one star review blog. Authors could submit their most absurd, clueless and ungrammatical "reviews".

    I think we might find interesting patterns. I'm seeing some evidence that trolls are actually hired to trash books in a certain genre by people who want to move up the Amazon lists. They tend to criticize every book with the same words.

    OK, if somebody wants to get together on a one-star review blog, I'm in.

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  22. I imagine I will have difficulty with #9. Great advice.

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  23. oh, man. I would kill to be able to just submerge myself in the story and do #1... alas, Life! But #2 sounds like a fantastic idea. I LOL'd at #4, and #6 is brilliance as us #8... Is #7 possible? ;p

    This is a super great plan. Best with it~ <3

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  24. And if I break your ten rules does that mean I become rich and famous?

    Kidding, I love 7 and 9. 7 says heart and 9 says courage to me. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  25. Great list, and also very encouraging. It's good to know that the writing process has become shorter since your first book.n

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  26. Karen, thanks so much for taking the time to do that list. You wrote it for you but I read it for me. Still working on my first book but now I know exactly what to do for book number two and three !

    Many thanks

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  27. Hi Karen .. great ideas .. and I'm so looking forward to reading Farm Girl .. cheers Hilary

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  28. Fantastic points, Karen! Especially the one about laughing at one-star reviews instead of letting them get to you.

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  29. A top class list, Karen. I am not one to promote myself but will definitely promote my book. I have learned watching others with their blog tours etc.

    To laugh off the 'losey' reader review is important. I noted they also got the name of your POV wrong. A touch of the green-eyed monster emerged I think.

    I will host you when you are ready, just shout out! x

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  30. Good list. I'm right with you on No. 8, too. I can't wait to get Book 2 finished so I can start on Book 3!

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  31. Great list! Reading 'that' review wouldn't have put me off because I couldn't imagine what 'losey' was.

    I agree about the online promotion. I've stopped doing talks because I've decided my time is better spent online. Besides, I don't have to get dressed up. ;)

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  32. Perfect list. Write faster - oh yes, gosh yes. This first novel I've now spent...hm. Four years? Yup. But I think with this, my first book, that this is all necessary time - I'm learning so much. Perhaps it'll speed up and soon I'll be right in the swing of it. Oh how I hope so!

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  33. Jayne, I spent 10 years on my first novel. But that's what it took to make it publishable, because as you say I was learning so very much!!

    Shirley, Promoting in pj's, ahh, that's the way to go!

    Paul, You are a natural who will keep on writing no matter what. You inspire me.

    Glynis, Thank you I will be notifying you when I'm ready to set it up. Sometime in October I imagine!

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  34. Good for you, Karen. Always great to learn.

    Woohoo! Go you. Rah.

    Don't stop.

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  35. Looks like you've learned a lot - your strengths and your weaknesses. I can learn from the experiments you've done. I'm glad you can laugh at losey reviews. I hope I can take it with grace.

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  36. Congrats on your success as a writer and thank you for this blog. Some helpful stuff in here. I have given up on submitting work for the time being and am trying to make a name for myself solely through blogging. I'll have to check out one of your books sometime. I'll definitely be checking back.

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  37. Sounds like a great plan. I should add many of those to my list.

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  38. Karen,

    We write in such different genres and you live half a world away - but, damn, that is all completely on my wavelength. Great post.

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  39. Karen, this is AWESOME! You have the most amazing attitude, and this post just took about 20 pounds of weight off my shoulders. Thank you.

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