Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Are You an Aspiring Author in Need of Encouragement? by Kate James


I read a statistic some time ago that over eighty percent of North Americans "have a book in them". More recently, I remember hearing a report on the radio that when asked what their dream profession was, the number one response from Canadian women surveyed was "author". Based on the statistics, I expect at least a portion of our readers of this blog may be aspiring authors.

And why not? How many of us can spend most of our working hours living in a dream world of our own making!

The simple laws of supply and demand—a huge number of people wishing to be published versus a much more selective process for publishers to acquire debut authors—means the odds of getting published are ever more daunting. It's easy to see why so many aspiring, talented authors may get discouraged. The fact is, if you have a passion for writing and don't keep trying, you will never know if you could have succeeded.

I have been conducting author interviews on my website, and one of the questions I have asked is what advice these successful authors have for aspiring authors. I believe the responses can be words of inspiration for any of us—published or not. I would like to share some of the responses with you.


From Brenda Novak [New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak is the author of more than fifty books. A four-time Rita nominee, she has won many awards, including the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Book Buyer’s Best, the Daphne and the Holt Medallion. Brenda is also a RITA finalist and Booksellers' Best finalist for Home to Whiskey Creek.]

"Believe! If you believe in yourself and what you are doing, you will do everything necessary to succeed. It’s also important to realize that every path is different. I know so many authors who were frustrated a few years ago. They just couldn’t get ahead in publishing. Then the digital revolution came along, they self-published the books they hadn’t been able to sell to New York and have made millions. You just never know what is right around the next corner—it might be your lucky break."

You can read Brenda's full interview at: Brenda's Interview

  
From Tara Taylor Quinn [An author of more than 65 novels, in twenty languages, Tara Taylor Quinn is a USA Today bestseller with more than seven million copies sold. Tara won the Reader’s Choice Award, is a four time finalist for the RWA Rita Award, a multiple finalist for the Reviewer’s Choice Award, the Bookseller’s Best Award, and has appeared often on local and national TV including CBS Sunday Morning.]:

     "My advice is the same now as it has always been. If you 
     need to write, do it for yourself.  Write the book. Make
     yourself sit in the chair and type. Do not let your internal 
editor speak a word until the book is done. Same goes for the inner critic. Just sit and write. When you have a product, then look at content, at the necessity for edits.

Then figure out what to do with it. If you want to sell it, get your work out there. And if it comes back, learn, make it what it needs to be or start on another project, and get it out there again. And again. As many times as it takes.

Bottom line, if you want to be a writer, write. Don’t ever give up. Don’t ever let someone else tell you you can’t. Just write."

You can read Tara's full interview at: Tara's Interview


From Elizabeth Heiter [Elizabeth's debut novel, Hunted, has been getting very positive response and is already translated in a number of languages. She had originally contracted for five books with Harlequin and has just got another contract for another two. We happen to share the same editor, the amazing Paula Eykelhof!]:

     "My best advice for aspiring authors is the advice I 
     received myself before I published. I attended a book 
     signing many years ago of Suzanne Brockmann’s. To
     paraphrase, she told me, “the difference between an 
     unpublished writer and a published author is perseverance.”  For years, I had that quote pinned up on my inspiration board. Beyond that, I think the best advice is to join a writer’s organization, find a critique partner you can trust, and never stop trying to improve your craft."

You can read Elizabeth's full interview at: Elizabeth's Interview


And last but by no means least, I also had the opportunity to interview our very own Heartwarming author, Rula Sinara. Although I did not ask her this same question, The Promise of Rain is her debut novel and you will likely find her journey to getting published inspirational.

You can read Rula's full interview at: Rula's Interview

If you are an aspiring author in need of encouragement, I hope you found some in one of the above excerpts. In summary, believe, focus and persevere!

Now, I have a questions for you:

Published or not, what inspires you to keep writing?

Please leave your answers here or on my blog on my website at: Kate's Blog

I hope you have a great day and happy writing!

Kate




28 comments:

  1. I'm always grateful to published authors who share their journey with those who are still aspiring to be published. Their personal story to success inspires me to keep writing and to remember that by having faith, working hard and persevering I too can fulfill my dream of getting published. Great advice from some wonderful authors, including you,Kate!

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    1. I hope you found inspiration in the post. I wish you all the best for fulfilling your dream of getting published!

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  2. Thank you for this post, Kate, and for gathering these helpful and inspirational tips from such a successful group of writers.

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    1. Thank you for visiting our blog, JT. I am glad you enjoyed the post!

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  3. Love this post, Kate! I am not a published author yet, but I am working on it. I've wanted to write professionally as long as I can remember. I have wanted to do it in conjunction with other things over the years, but the desire to write has always been a constant for me. Over the years I have stepped away from writing for a while, only to come back to it. I can't stay away. Even when I'm not writing, I have my own little epic romance that I watch play out in my head (someday I may write their story). I even enjoy proofreading and editing (in red pen, just like in English classes the world over). I can't not tell the stories that I have inside of me.

    What inspires me the most to keep writing are having critique partners and a beta reader who are excited about my writing and who spur me on to continue with stories when I think every word off my fingers that day is crap. Also, reading good writing pushes me to up my writing and dig a little deeper into my characters. The thought of my mother, who has always listened to my convoluted story ideas since I was a motor mouthed five year old, getting to hold one of my published books in her hands keeps me working towards publication.

    Very inspiring post, Kate!

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    1. Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post and leave your comment.

      It sounds to me that you have some of the essential elements for success: passion, perseverance, support and positive feedback! If you are looking for some "good writing" for inspiration, Harlequin Heartwarming novels are a great place to start! ;-)

      Keep at it and I wish you success!

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  4. Kate, I loved reading your interviews with Brenda, Tara and Elizabeth! You ask the best questions and all three authors said things that truly hit home and inspired me. And of course, I loved being interviewed by you too :). Thanks for that and for the mention here :).

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed reading the other interviews, Rula. I certainly enjoyed doing them!

      As you know, I read your debut, THE PROMISE OF RAIN, and loved it.

      Your road to getting published is inspirational! I encourage anyone reading this comment to visit my website and read your full interview. I still chuckle over the "lizard on your head" part!

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  5. I think perseverance summed it up perfectly. Writers write-they can't help it. (Believe me, I've tried lol.) So, I really believe that if someone is truly meant to be a writer-they will find success in it, because they won't give up until they do:)

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    1. Jennifer, you just gave me another idea for a post! It would be fun and informative to get as many Heartwarming authors as possible to share their story about how they got their first publishing contract.

      (Advance warning to Heartwarming authors: watch for an e-mail from me in the near future!)

      Thank you for your comment!

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    2. lol, I was asked to blog about my publishing story on the Harlequin blog last year:) I'm sure I can dig it up again:)

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    3. lol, I was asked to blog about my publishing story on the Harlequin blog last year:) I'm sure I can dig it up again:)

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  6. What a great post! As with anything you really want, perseverance and the interest in bettering yourself to get there are key.

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    1. Thank you, Mel! I agree with you completely, Mel . . . as do the authors I have had the privilege of interviewing

      One of the benefits of writing for Harlequin is that we get to work with an extraordinary team of professionals who know the business extremely well. Even in the relatively short time I have had the pleasure of working with the amazing Paula Eykelhof, I have learned a great deal. I do believe it's a continuous process of development.

      Thank you for your comment.

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  7. Wonderful post Kate. As a published writer, I still often need inspiration. This is strange, but what keeps me going is rereading my manuscript before sending it off and discovering that I managed to communicate a difficult idea. So often when I'm writing I get to the point of explaining a feeling for which there seem to be no words. But I just keep poking at it, burrowing inside it, looking around and listening for the frail voice that explains it to me. Then I pass that on to the reader. (Obviously, we're not talking cold fusion here, but all those pesky, inexplicable details about love.)

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    1. Muriel, I am so glad you enjoyed the post! We all need encouragement at some point.

      I can relate to your comment about rereading your own manuscript. We can be our own worst critics when we are working on early drafts of our manuscripts. It is wonderful when you can step back and reread it with a bit of detachment and feel good about what you wrote!

      Thank you for this comment.

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  8. Thank you, Kate! As a published writer with only one book out there I think all of this still applies to me (and I can't imagine the day that it won't). I loved reading these words of wisdom from such talented, established authors.

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    1. I enjoyed doing the interviews (and plan to keep doing them). Those words of wisdom inspire me, too!

      Thank you for your comment, Carol.

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  9. Inspiring post! Travel, short or long hauls, seems to get my juices flowing again. Imagining what could have happened in new places and coming up with characters to fit the locale. I once heard Harlan Coben speak. He said something so simple and so true: "Only writing is writing. Thinking about writing isn't writing, doing laundry isn't writing, only writing is writing."
    Cynthia

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    1. Thanks to you -- and Harlan Coben -- for the laugh!

      Travel has always inspired me, too. Last November, I visited five places (Istanbul, Dubai, Bangkok and Hong Kong, with a quick side-trip to China) in ten days. With a very hectic schedule during the days, you might imagine that I would have been trying to sleep on the night flights. I caught a few hours of sleep here and there, but I used much of the time to outline the stories I wanted to write! I suppose that explains why it took me a little longer than it normally does to readjust to EST after my return -- sleep deprivation can have that effect!

      Thank you for this comment, Cynthia.

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  10. Kate, great post. The thing I think a lot of people who don't write think is that all our ideas pop out of a big warehouse in the sky. Some believe writers have private wells of inspiration and that for us writing is a snap. I happen to know a couple of writers who have over 100 books out, and each time they're out of contract, they worry and scrounge for their next set of ideas and characters. And everyone worries--is the next idea good enough. Luckily we all draw inspiration from one another. I love books by all of the authors you profiled. Reading them and others, new and old keeps me keeping on.

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    1. Roz, you are an inspiration! 56 books and counting, and writing since . . . well, okay, I'm not going to say how long, just in case you don't want it in the public domain. :-)

      If anyone has that "big warehouse in the sky", I think it's you, Tara Taylor Quinn (65 books and counting) and a few others.

      As a relative "newbie", I am grateful for the warm welcome, support and inspiration I have been receiving from other Harlequin authors.

      Much thanks to you and others!

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  11. Great post and thank you for offering up the advice!

    For me, I find a song that either influences the story or in the case of a romance is one that sums up the couple. Then I download the song so that when I get stuck, I can play it so that it brings me back to the place that influences my story.

    And that perseverance thing. That helps too!

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    1. Great comment, Syndi. I have heard other authors indicate that they love to have music in the background for inspiration while they are writing.

      I think you and my husband would get along great! He's the musical one in our family. Not only can he sing just about any song a cappella (yes, he remembers words and music!) with perfect pitch, he's the one who is inspired by music.

      I prefer to sit on our patio or the deck at our cottage and listen to bird song!

      Thank you for this comment.

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    2. I think it's important to write what you love and tell the story that demands to be told. Don't follow trends, don't worry about what's hot or selling right now. By the time your book comes out the trend is gone. The best thing is to focus on writing a story that is true to your aesthetic and you will enjoy the process, no matter the results.

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    3. Thank you for this comment, Karen. I happen to know that you also get inspiration (in addition to wonderful support) from your family and some of their circumstances/experiences, correct?

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  12. Lovely interview, Kate! I think every writer, whatever point they are in their journey, needs encouragement and inspiration at times....I love that you pulled together some advice here (and I'm thrilled to be included).

    Elizabeth Heiter

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  13. Thank you for visiting our blog, Elizabeth, and for your comment.

    I enjoy doing the interviews. (Check out the one I posted yesterday - it's a little different from than the others!). It was fun to summarize the words of advice. I appreciate you participating. I had more than one person comment to me that they were inspired/encouraged by your advice!

    Happy first day of summer!

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