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Thursday, August 4, 2011

More Author Insight: The Business of Publishing

Has there ever been a time when you were ready to quit or thought you weren’t cut out for this business? What brought you back?

"Every rejection, every finished manuscript that just wasn't good enough, every bad review, I've wondered if I wasn't cut out for this. I still do. But I've never seriously considered stopping. I'm not good at anything else, and I would be absolutely miserable if I wasn't writing and creating stories for other people. I don't think I could give this up for anything. And doubts are normal - they're a good thing, even. For me, personally, those doubts are what drive me to be a better writer, to come up with a better story, to put my all into every single thing I write. And without them, I would be stagnant." - Aimee Carter, author of The Goddess Test

"Oh, plenty of times. First, when I'm at that point in writing a book where I hate everything about it. Secondly, if I accidentally come across a review that trashes a book of mine - I'm privately devastated. I NEVER respond to negative reviews, it's totally unprofessional to do so, but I don't have a very thick skin so I do take things to heart. You need a thick skin in this business, I just haven't figured out how to get one, and I've been in the arts all my life. I get over it, though. I ask myself if I'd rather stop and the answer is always to keep writing." - Leanna Renee Hieber, author of Darker Still and  The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess.

"I never completely gave up, but there was a sticky month or two when I thought it was about time to check the teacher openings in my community. (I had taken a two year leave from my job as a high school English teacher to seriously pursue publication.) Fortunately, my first sale came through just in time. Not that I dreaded the idea of returning to teaching -- I just knew I'd never be able to manage writing and teaching at the same time. Others do it, but I'm not that skilled." - Sonia Gensler, author of The Revenant


"I quit all the time.  I am certainly NOT cut out for this business.  The business aspect of being an author is deadening.  It would make Richard Simmons disconsolate.  The actual writing brings me back.  When I’m writing, I’m a working artist.  I am writing to learn and to surprise myself.  When I’m not writing, I am doing other things I find fascinating and surprising.  I come back to writing when I start missing it.  And I start missing it when I realize there is something I haven’t tried yet and I really want to see what that might be like.  It’s like being in love with someone and coming up with something, or having something occur, that makes it all fresh again." - Randy Russell, author of Dead Rules.

"I’ve had a lot of low moments, but what brings me back every time is the story. The new ideas that excite me, inspire me. I could give it all up, but I’d still write stories. Always have. Always will." - Suzanne Young, author of A Need So Beautiful.

"One night I cried my eyes out because someone told me my writing was silly and obtuse, right after another person had told me I should step away from writing. My husband wouldn’t let me quit." - Miranda Kennealy, author of Catching Jordan.


"No." - Lesley Livingston, author of Tempestuous

"Yes: when I was on the final edit of Die for Me, I was really stuck on a section that my editor (quite rightly) said wasn’t working. I had tried several scenarios and couldn’t find a solution, and I went through a couple of days of thinking, “Who the hell do I think I am—not only writing fiction, but writing something that all of these important publishing people are expecting to be good?” I really felt like chucking it in at that point. The only reason I made it through was because by then I had no other choice but to finish. And once I had slogged through that awful week and my editor accepted what I had done, I knew I was capable." - Amy Plum, author of Die for Me

"Every author has struggled with thinking they’re sucktastic at some point. It’s natural to doubt yourself, especially in a profession like writing, where you’re putting a piece of yourself out into the world for everyone to criticize. That said, I really haven’t ever considered not writing. I haven’t had time. I wrote Personal Demons in the spring of 2009, found my truly fabulous agent in September that year, and it sold in December in a three-book deal. I’ve been pretty busy." - Lisa Desrochers, author of Original Sin

"Oh goodness, yes. There are many, many times a writer doubts their craft. And anything can bring that on. A review, a comment, a rejection. The key thing to remember is why you love writing in the first place and grab hold of it for all you're worth. It brings you back to your happy place in no time."   - Jennifer Murgia, author of Lemniscate.

"There was this one time after my first book came out fifteen years ago and got great reviews and won some awards and I thought I was all that and more, but instead my agent couldn’t sell the next book and I went through a terrible divorce (they’re all terrible, even the ones that people say aren’t) and my children were suffering and I was struggling to put my life back together. I somehow managed to write another book but my agent decided it wouldn’t sell either and she didn’t want to represent it but good luck if I wanted to take it somewhere else. I got remarried instead and we had a baby and we adopted another little girl and I figured good lord, there’s enough going on in this life with four daughters and my marriage and my day job teaching college and the myriad other things I’m doing—working with abused and neglected children in the juvenile courts, teaching yoga, directing the Religious Education program at our Unitarian Universalist church. Why complicate it by trying to write and get published with all the concomitant frustrations and doubts and wild mood swings between hope and nihilism. But then a small literary press brought out a collection of my short stories and the Los Angeles Times gave it a nice review and I signed with my wonderful agent Kelly Sonnack and she hooked me up with Kaylan Adair at Candlewick Press and now I’m on my third book with them and we got a dog (me and Janet and the girls, not me and Kelly and Kaylan) and now the dog, whose name is Greer, sits there and stares at me when I’m not writing, as if trying to tell me that I’m not doing right with my life so time to get my ass back in the chair, and get back to work. Or it’s possible he just wants me to take him out for a walk." - Steve Watkins, author of What Comes After.

"This business can be really, really hard. Thank goodness I love it so much.  I’d be lying if I said I haven’t thought of quitting (more than once). What brings me back is the need, the urge, the desire to write. It really is all about the writing in the end.  Or I guess it should be." - Janet Gurtler, author of I'm Not Her

Find out Tuesday who the authors would choose as their co-author if they could write a book with anyone.
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