Heads up: Today’s post is one of the most inspirational I’ve ever read here on Writer Unboxed. (Therese here, by the way.) I’m so pleased to bring you our guest blogger, author Robin LaFevers. Robin is a multi-published author and the co-founder of a blog I’ve long admired, Shrinking Violets–a site geared toward introverted writers. Her latest novel, Grave Mercy, released just this week and has been receiving raves. And though I promised myself I wouldn’t purchase any new books until I’d made a dent in my teetering to-be-read stack, I’m heading out this weekend to look for this one. I just can’t help myself. This out-of-the-box book has scored starred reviews from just about everyone–Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and School Library Journal–and it’s a 2012 Indie Next Spring Pick. What’s it about?
Seventeen-year-old Ismae was fathered by Saint Mortain, the God of Death, and one dark and stormy night, she is brought to a mysterious convent where his many daughters are trained as assassins. When she is given an important assignment to protect the Duchess of Brittany and kill the traitor in her court, Ismae begins to learn that being a handmaiden of Death may not mean what the nuns taught her. But her burgeoning independence comes with consequences, and the fate of an entire country–and the only man she could ever love–hangs in the balance. Set in medieval France with historically accurate details, Grave Mercy is the first book in a gritty, fast-paced trilogy, and gives thrilling new meaning to the term “girl power.” –Juliet Disparte (Amazon Best Books of the Month, April 2012)
I don’t even know what to tell you about this post. It’ll knock your socks off, then wash them for you before tucking them back in the drawer of your choice. It’s that good. Now without further ado…
The Writer’s Life is Full of Second Chances
(or: Abandon Despair, All Ye Who Enter Here)
We’ve all heard it; how the biggest advances and best promotional opportunities are reserved for those splashy debut authors with their shiny new ideas and their untarnished sales records. Debut authors are a clean slate on which a publisher can project the P&Ls of their dreams.
This is especially painful if the first time you hear it is after your first—or third—book has just come out with little fan fare. It does not matter a whit that many of those splashy debuts don’t come close to earning out or breaking even; the myth persists. Honestly? It feels a lot like that old line about how men only marry virgins and never the girls they mess around with.
So what’s a multi-published, mid-list author to do? Must she kiss her dreams goodbye and live a hard-scrabble existence as the mid-list dies its slow and lingering death? (One that has been predicted for well over twenty years, I might add.)
This was even more devastating for me since I am a dyed-in-the-wool introvert. While I have spent years getting comfortable with book promotion and public speaking and networking, I will never be the kind of person who can acquire a huge following through the cult of my scintillating personality alone. It seemed as if I was destined to be a floundering mid-list author for the rest of my days, or until the numbers dwindled enough that my career flamed out altogether.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the ignominious demise of my career. It turns out that writers, like cats, have multiple lives. [Read more…]