Friday, September 28, 2012

Hope

Okay, so this is going to be a cryptic post. I guess I could be sorry for that, and this is not necessarily my story -- but I know enough authors and I've watched enough journeys to relate. Maybe you can too.

Okay, so imagine yourself on this path:
1. You write a book. It's a good book. People read it and tell you so.
2. You query the book, and you manage to get a literary agent. And your literary agent manages to get you a book deal.

OR

2. You decide to publish the book yourself.

3. You now have a book out in the wild.
4. You blog.
5. You promote your book and yourself.
6. You do signings, events, speak to library groups, book clubs, the works.
7. This next step could involve any number of things. Blog tours. Scavenger hunts. Conventions. Teaching classes. Facebook pages. Tweeting.

But still, your book isn't doing as much as other books. It's not selling as well as your friend's books, or books that are similar to yours, or whatever whatever.

You might feel like all is lost. That no one will ever buy another one of your books. That your agent or publisher will drop you, or that you won't be able to write something people will read.

I'm here to say it's not true. Your first book does not define your career. Even the first series does not determine whether there will be a second.

Only YOU can define that.

So don't give up hope.

30 comments:

Heather Kelly said...

This adventure is so uncertain. The only thing we can ever do is move forward. Always move forward. :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Love this Elana. I think the fear of it all often holds me back. But there is always hope! :)

Laura Pauling said...

I know this industry focuses so much on the debut but I believe over time, it's not often an author's first book is the one that defines their career or is the one that takes off. And I love that. We all grow as writers with every book. and sometimes it has nothing at all to do with the writing b/c we can't control what the market wants or takes to.

KatieO said...

Thanks for this post. It's always good to read something like this and realize you're not the only one thinking along these lines.

Have a great weekend!

SA Larsenッ said...

Only YOU define you. So very true.

We can't allow ourselves to judge ourselves by how the world perceives us. For the most part, the world does not know us.

Angela Brown said...

This is a post of encouragement. Nothing cryptic in that. We all need a little - or lot - every now and then.

Very good post.

E. Arroyo said...

I so needed to hear this. Thank you.

Heather Sunseri said...

I loved that cryptic message. It was perfect!! So much emphasis is place on that break-in novel. We have to keep moving forward. Keep writing new material. You never know when you'll have written the break-OUT novel.

Thanks, Elana!!

M. Dunham said...

A writer is not one story. They're many stories, and there's NO reason to give up hope based on one project.

You wouldn't do that at a day job, would you? :)

Good post, Elana.

Summer Ross said...

Inspirational. I agree- don't give up.

Angie said...

Thanks, Elana. I needed that!

Martha Ramirez said...

That is SO VERY true! Thank you for this. Will have to tuck this away for when that time comes. :-) Have a good weekend, E.

Karen lee Hallam said...

Perfect words, wonderfully said. Thank you Elana!

Matthew MacNish said...

I still have to get to step two.

T.J. said...

I gotta say Elana, out of all your awesomesauce posts, this is my favorite.

Em-Musing said...

Si, si...my hope has hope.

Natalie Aguirre said...

So true Elana. And we aren't defined as a person by how many books we sell or even if we don't get published.

Nichole Giles said...

Seriously. People who have books or series that debut at the top don't really have very far to climb, but they do have a lot further to fall. On the other hand, the rest of us, who start small and get bigger--we know no limits or boundaries. And if we do fall, it's a lot easier to pick ourselves up and get back to work.

Great post. :-)

Mel Chesley said...

Some books are not for everyone. And, it is a first book, after all. Think of all the stuff you are doing with that first book as practice. Keep writing, keep publishing and get your work out there. As you gain more confidence and each book gets better and better, your sales will grow. People might even go back to that first book, just to check it out and say that they have read every single one of your books. I'm like that with some books, but I do try to start from the beginning. I'm so OCD about that, lol!
But yeah, I agree... don't lose hope!!

Tasha Seegmiller said...

Sometime, when I grow up, I want to be like you. But sometime before that point, I'm pretty sure I will need to hear this again. And again. Maybe just put it on a loop every 60-90 days for all of us?

Cathy Keaton said...

Very good point! It's only a first book and you can always write a better second book. ;)

Krispy said...

Cryptic or not, this was a good post. There's so much that's uncontrollable in this, and that's easy to forget that we can only really be responsible for ourselves and to keep hoping and believing.

June G said...

I was just talking about you to a friend that shared with me her feelings about not pursuing her love of writing. I told her how helpful your insights are.

As always, your posts are golden, Elana.

mshatch said...

Like Matt I'm still working on step 2 but while I hope my first book is a smashing success I'll be more satisfied with a long career.

Heather said...

You are the best, ever. Have I told you that lately? I needed to hear this more than I can say. (((hugs)))

Robin said...

Thank you for this post Elana-you are an inspiration. I don't know how you have the energy for all you do, but I am grateful you do.

John Waverly said...

I've just been thinking lately about how many of my friends are finding success on their 5th or 6th or 10th books. Their previous books got a bit of traction, nothing great, but they kept writing and publishing. Now that they have quite a few books under their belt, they are getting better deals and better exposure. I think there's a lesson in there.

It also reminds me of a great quote: "It takes at least ten years of hard work to become an overnight success."

Carolyn MorningInMay said...

Good! I'm glad I found your blog when you posted on this particular topic :) I have no doubt that this business can easily overwhelm you with pressure and be extremely discouraging. Especially since you've poured your soul into something. I just had to find your site so that I could tell you, Wow! I LOVE your writing. Seriously. I just finished both books in just a few hours - I couldn't put them down, which is saying a lot b/c my kids are pretty distracting ;). You have such talent! I'm disappointed that I have to wait until June 2013 to find out what happens! Excellent job, really. And the concepts you explore in your works are really mind-opening. I've never realized how important freedom of choice is. You're so creative! I feel a little silly rambling on, but I just wanted you to know that you are doing great work! I read somewhere that you wrote Surrender in less than 4mos?! And it's even more polished and interesting than the first book, which is pretty hard to beat. I have no doubt that you'll continue to be an amazing success! Take heart and thanks for sharing your talents!

Alice said...

Thanks for the encouraging words. I'm still hoping to get published, but I know even then you haven't necessarily made it big. I know authors whose first books or series didn't do great, but who suddenly hit on an idea that took off. If they'd given up earlier they never would have made it to where they are now.

Nicole said...

Great encouragement! Thanks for the reminder.

See Elana's recent blog posts

Recent Posts Widget