Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ahh, The Writing Life!!

This week we've been talking about the writing life...agents, critique groups, etc., so I thought I'd add my two cents. 8)

First of all, this is a crazy business!!! 8) You're sitting all alone in your office crafting something that may or may not sell. You're like a tight roper walker, trying to maintain a balance between what you want to write, trying to be original, and what the market demands. And if I seem to hit the "what will sell" thing a little hard, in my opinion, that's the bottom line. This is a business, agents and editors may love books, may love authors, but it's your sales that keep the wheels of the industry turning. And if an author doesn't sell, they simply can't afford to keep you around. There are twenty writers lined up behind you waiting to get in the door, and who knows, their manuscript could be the "next big thing!" So why keep a spot for an author whose books aren't making the cash registers ring when the next "new" author could be a megaseller?

Sounds like a lot of pressure, doesn't it? Well, at times it can be. I once made the comment to Ruth Jordan, (who along with her husband, Jon, is publisher and editor of CRIMESPREE Magazine) that I think an author is only as good as their last book. Ruth smiled and shook her head, "No," she said, "you're only as good as your next book." And that's the challenge...to make each book a little better than the last. I don't know how much "better" each one of the Ophelia and Abby have been, but I do know with each book, thanks to the people around me...my editor, my author friends, comments from the readers...that I've learned something about the craft of writing and even things about myself that I wasn't aware of. And for me, that's one of the most exhilarating things about being an author...learning.

What about you? Everyone has things about their job that keeps them going...what are yours?

That's it for now-have a good one!!

Best,
Shirley

3 comments:

Jess Granger said...

I like brainstorming, especially when my friend and cheesecake are involved. :)

Jess

Angie Fox said...

Hey wait. I never got cheesecake. Yeah, well next time you want to kick around ideas, guess what I'm going to want?

Ann Aguirre said...

This is what I've always wanted, so it doesn't take much to keep me writing. I do worry about staying in the business now that I've broken in, but I can't let worry take hold or it would paralyze me.