Some advice

PhotobucketPeople will tell you to do this or that to make it in this business. Sacrifice a goat. Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me. Never write at 3 a.m. Stop killing your main characters. (Okay, maybe that one’s good advice.) The truth of the matter is: there is no one truth path to publication. There are no magic beans. Nobody has a secret formula for success, and nobody’s writing process is cast in gold. For most people it takes trial and error to determine what will work best.

That said, never feel like you have to mortgage your vision in order to see your words in print. I mean, if you write a coming of age road trip story and you get an offer, only you’re told that you need to make one boy a girl, add a romance, insert some vampires, and change the setting from the Midwest to New Orleans? That’s not the book you wrote. And most editors won’t offer on a book they want that many changes to. It’s either pretty close to ready to roll as is, or it’s not what they’re looking for. Don’t feel like you have to cut your dreams to the bone in order to make them happen. I hate to see anyone thinking small.

Mind you, I am not advocating lack of professionalism or telling industry personnel that they don’t understand your genius. We all take our knocks. We struggle on. Writers, in general, are a neurotic lot. Some days we feel like we’re pretty good. Others, not so much. But in this business, you only need one person to love what you’ve done. Ideally that person is an agent, not your mom. And then that agent only needs to find one editor who gets it. With one crucial step does the career-journey begin. The rest is up to marketing, timing, placement, publisher push, etc.

Which brings me to my next point. Once your book is out there, people will judge it. Their yardsticks may not be yours. They may have experiences you couldn’t begin to anticipate. Everyone views a book through a very personal lens. Sometimes people don’t trust the author to deliver a satisfying conclusion several books in, so they get annoyed if all the information isn’t available in the first installment. It’s important not to let criticisms get in your head and prevent you from writing your next book. As long as you write the best book you can at that time, then the rest doesn’t matter.

Keep the faith. Write on, in the dark before dawn, in the silence before your family awakens and long after they’ve gone to sleep, in coffee shops and on your lunch breaks, write on.

Photo courtesy Flickr’s Phineas H

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About Ann Aguirre

Ann Aguirre is a bestselling, multi-published author with a degree in English Literature. She is a prolific writer, with nine releases planned for 2011 alone. She writes romantic science fiction and urban fantasy under her own name. As Ava Gray, she writes high-octane romances. She also writes "hot paranormal apocalyptic action" with fellow author Carrie Lofty under the pseudonymn Ellen Connor. Follow her on Twitter.

Comments

  1. says

    So what you’re saying is don’t sacrifice my goat? :)

    Good call. I’ve had this kind of conversation with others, and sometimes I wonder if what I write could be offensive (i’m not a deliberately offensive kind of person, but I don’t have a great filter system in my brain which can be disasterous at times)to people that will one day read my book. But the truth is, people are going to interprete you work as they like and some will hate it and some will love it, there’s nothing you can do about that – nor should you! I agree that all you can do create something you are proud of and see what happens…

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  2. says

    Great motivational post Ann. I will share it on my blog to spread the word. This is what got me into believing in the writing world. If you’re tight and smart, it doesn’t matter what you write about. Find your niche and you’ll find success.

    Keep posting them, I’ll keep reading them!
    .-= Benoit Lelievre´s last blog ..Open Invitation – Unpublished fiction writers =-.

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  3. says

    Great advice, and thanks for sharing. I’m working on book 4 of a series, although book 3 hasn’t been sold. Although I love the writing, I sometimes ask if I’m spinning my wheels.

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  4. says

    I had a discussion recently with someone on all the varied rules of writing. In the end I admitted beginning to detest the writer me.

    I think yes, some rules are needed; but in the end everyone has their own unique way of writing. Do whatever makes the process work for you. What works for one person, may not be a good fit for you. (Hugs)Indigo
    .-= Indigo´s last blog ..Mother of us all… =-.

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  5. says

    Great post, Ann.

    “The truth of the matter is: there is no one truth path to publication. There are no magic beans. Nobody has a secret formula for success, and nobody’s writing process is cast in gold. For most people it takes trial and error to determine what will work best.”

    Now, I just need to REMEMBER this on those dark, stormy days.
    .-= Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist´s last blog ..A case of the Mondays =-.

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  6. says

    What a great post to read first thing this morning! You reiterated what we have always been taught. The “quitters never win” and “practice makes perfect” mantras are essential for aspiring authors. I am a mom raising 3 kids and there are many things that I could see as obstacles. As long as we are continually writing and doing what we love, what we produce will reflect that. And hopefully get better the more we do it.:) Thanks for the pat on the back and “get back out there” talk.
    .-= Hallie´s last blog ..PVSS; Post-Vacation Stress Syndrome. Writing, kids, bills, OH MY! =-.

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  7. Kacey Hayes says

    “Writers, in general, are a neurotic lot. Some days we feel like we’re pretty good. Others, not so much.”

    “As long as you write the best book you can at that time, then the rest doesn’t matter.”

    I am officially in love with this blog. This is a wonderful, encouraging post and I’m really glad I caught it! Nothing pushes me along like the right words… :D

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  8. says

    Great words, Ann.

    Sometimes, it is hard to silence other voices that swirl around, so you can hear your own voice that is beautiful in its own way.
    .-= Jewel/Pink Ink´s last blog ..Passion =-.

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  9. says

    “And then that agent only needs to find one editor who gets it.”

    I find this part an amazing–and amazingly appalling?–foundation for the publishing industry. One person. No wonder authors feel like sacrificing a goat to fate :)
    .-= Sarah Woodbury´s last blog ..Offa’s Dyke =-.

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  10. says

    Thank you so much. This is very encouraging.

    However, I would like to add that the only interest we, a writers, need to capture is our reader’s. That reader may be an agent or publisher but, if you self-publish, it may be the “reader”. There is always a way to bring your writing to the reader. Believe in yourself is key.

    I have self-published. I have worked with a publisher. Both routes were very enjoyable.

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  11. says

    Thanks, Ann. I haven’t sacrificed a goat, but I’ve sacrificed sleep. For me the most productive writing hours stir at 5:00 a.m. But to be mentally awake at that hour, I have to set the alarm for 3:00 a.m. and put a caffeine IV into my vien. It’s hard out there for a writer. Coming here always help.

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  12. says

    Thanks for the encouragement. I have a number of people giving me critiques on my work and it’s discouraging sometimes when the advice is conflicting or focussed solely on not annoying the agent/editor/publisher.

    Some of the advice works and some doesn’t for me. I feel more confident in ignoring the advice I don’t think works, now that I’ve read your post.

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  13. says

    Or in the words of Dori from “Finding Nemo,” just keep swimming just keep swimming just keep swimming . . .

    Thanks, Ann, for the motivational push!

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  14. CS says

    Point taken. Excellent reminder, Ann. Why kill your inner vision and destroy your own pleasure in your writing? If it sells, it sells. If not, it was good practice and you didn’t betray the story. Thank you!

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  15. says

    I suspect the only rule in writing is that there are no rules to writing. This said, studying how great modern writers work and write will, in the long run, improve your own process. The key is to cherry pick the bits that fit you and reject the rest.
    .-= BubbleCow´s last blog ..The Importance Of Book Genre =-.

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  16. says

    I tell myself all of this at 5:15AM and at all moments of doubt – frequent and infrequent. I write because I am compelled to do so. I want to publish but not at the expense of what I believe to be ‘my vision’. Thank you for the reminder of the real reason for late nights and early mornings.
    .-= Leigh Verrill-Rhys´s last blog ..Resurfacing =-.

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