By Laura Drake
From the title, you probably guessed my big news – I SOLD!!!
After 13 short years at this, I’ve sold a 3 book deal to Grand Central! My first, Total Bull, a PBR world romance, is due out early 2013. For the uninitiated, “PBR” stands for Pro Bull Riding. (Who doesn’t like a cowboy?)
The deadlines will show up in my inbox soon, but over the weekend I had some time for reflection (at my age, you’ll hurt yourself if you dance for more than a half hour at a time.)
I thought over what I’ve learned in the last thirteen years that I sure wish I’d known earlier.
- Despair doesn’t last
I’ve been stymied at a zillion points in three books, not knowing what to do next. The plot was ka-ka, and I was stuck — there was no way to get from where I was to where I needed to be. Optimism seemed VERY far from where I was, floating at the bottom of the tank, trying to stay belly-side down.
But amazing things happened when I sat my butt in the chair (or rode my bicycle.) An idea would break, brilliant and perfect, and I’d scramble to get it down before I forgot it. I went from loser to genius in less than a minute!
Unfortunately, delusions don’t last either.
- Positive reinforcement can become crack
I placed in a contest. Then I won a contest. I got an agent. I got to acquisitions at a publisher. My days were spent in a happy blur, waiting for the next hit of good news. When it didn’t come, my clammy hands shook and I got snippy with people.
Then I got rejected. The crash was legendary. I realized I’d gotten addicted to the winning and lost the love of just doing the writing.
- Buzz is one of the great powers of the Universe
You’re shopping a sale at your favorite department store. A woman beside you picks up a blouse. It’s gorgeous: perfect color, the right size, and OMG the price! You just passed that blouse by a minute ago, but now that she has it, you want it. Bad.
Buzz is like that. The problem is, no one knows how to harness that power. But there are a couple of things you can do to put yourself in the shadow of The Force. Which brings me to my next point.
- Put yourself “Out There”
Submitting is only a small part of what helped me sell. I got my agent indirectly through volunteering at my local chapter. If you network, give of yourself, and reach a hand back to help others, it can pay off ways you can’t even foresee. And you get the added bonus of feeling good about yourself at the same time. Win-win!
- I’m never done worrying
I just move from angsting over one problem to the next in line. Repeat.
For those of you who have already sold your first book, what do you wish you’d known in advance? For those of you still writing your way toward that goal, what do you worry about the most?