Monday, March 8, 2021

"Write the Next Book"

 Q: How have you changed the way you promote and support your work, and generally go about the business of being an author, since “Lockdown Life” began a year ago? Anything you’ve learned that will remain in place as we move forward? 

-from Susan


My most recent book came out in 2018, and I’m not under a contract at the moment, which means I haven’t got any sparkly new book to sell and am sliding away from the front row. Both of my French village mysteries are still available (hint, hint) and got wonderful reviews, so I still hope people will find and love them as much as I loved writing them. 


I haven’t done a lot of “business” in 2020. I might be tempted to feel sorry for myself if I hadn’t just submitted a manuscript I like very much to my agent. Of course, the moment I hit Send, I began to feel less confident, to assume she will hate it, and that I may never be published again, doom, doom, doom. I emailed that an extremely successful crime fiction author who is a dear friend and cheerleader and she said, “Oh I always feel that way if she doesn’t get back to me in 24 hours!”


And, on Saturday, I attended a Sisters in Crime webinar that was exactly what I needed. Three best-selling, award-winning authors talked candidly about the challenges they have faced when they couldn’t find an agent, lost an agent, lost two agents, lost an acquiring editor, lost three acquiring editors, lost a publisher, had a series abruptly cancelled, got dumped by a publisher…They learned not to let any of that define them, stop them from writing the next book, stop listening to their instincts about good book ideas but be open to listening to what publishers want (without giving in and writing something they don’t enjoy). 


Here are the business strategies they ended with, the most important long-term ways to stay in this crazy business we love:


* be open to doing things differently


* try something that’s a little scary


* don’t ever think of yourself as a loser


* find a writing friend you can share pages or support with




Brenda Chapman said...

Hi Susan - I just joined Sisters in Crime and sat in on the same webinar! I agree some encouraging motivation. Your French village books are on my list as we're hopefully heading to France spring 2022. My fingers are crossed for acceptance of your latest submission.

Susan C Shea said...

Thanks, Brenda. I hope you get to la belle France next year. I miss it!

ajay said...
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