Monday, May 10, 2010

Persistence: Profits, Perils and Plans



Janet here. I met my friend, Ruth Kaufman, our guest blogger in Seekerville today at the Romance Writers of America conference in Chicago. I believe the year was 1999. We've kept in touch ever since, chatting on the phone, sharing our struggles and achievements. Ruth is no stranger to hard work and persistence. She has completed 10 manuscripts from medievals to YA. Six have finaled in numerous contests, including runner up in Dorchester/RT Book Reviews’ national American Title II contest. An attorney with a Master’s in Radio/TV, Ruth left her sales, marketing and training job to pursue writing and acting full time. She presents a variety of writing and acting workshops including "Sales Skills for the Author" and serves on Romance Writers of America's board of directors.

Ruth is giving away a 20 minute "discuss your writing with confidence" session at a mutually agreed upon time during the RWA conference in Orlando or via phone (not as effective, but...). This includes pitching tips and suggestions for authors at all stages of their careers on how to best present projects to readers/friends/contacts. Leave a comment with your e-mail address to get your name in the drawing.
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I’m giving away a bag of chocolate covered turtles. What could be more fitting than that slow moving, hard-shelled icon of persistence? When we reach the finish line, we'll find it sweet indeed, just like this yummy candy. For a chance to win, leave a comment with your e-mail address.
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Persistence: Profits, Perils and Plans
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You’ve probably heard stories of authors who got rejected many times and finally, finally got “the call.” But we don’t hear about those who give up....winners never quit, as the saying goes. If you’ve written several manuscripts, win contests, submit and submit but still haven’t sold, how do you keep going? You weigh the profits and perils of persistence. You embark upon a persistence plan.
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The profits of persistence include more complete manuscripts, more contacts and friends for socializing, networking and support. Writing seems like a solitary pursuit, but via in person and online writers groups like RWA, we build a community that may include critique partners or just someone to lend a sympathetic ear. The more you write, the more you should learn about the craft of writing. You may earn more contest credentials.
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Perils include the time, effort and money spent pursuing publication. Most of us enjoy the process of writing, but most of us also want to be published. Even after you sell, you may have future proposals rejected, your publisher may not give you a second contract or your line may be dropped. Can you handle the roller coaster ride?
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Before you take the next steps on your journey, consider pondering this 10-step persistence plan:
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1. Time: With all the commitments in your life, do you have the quality time to devote to writing? To rewriting? Not just one ms, but several? Time to submit, promote, etc? Are years of not selling getting you down?
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2. Money: Can you afford the expenses of being a writer? A computer, printer and Internet access are givens these days. Add in paper, toner, postage for any snail mail submissions, contest entry fees, dues for RWA and/or other organizations, conferences (including registration, transportation, lodging, even food), research books, your Web site, industry publications like RT Book Reviews... and over the years you could invest quite a sum in your career without earning any in return, except maybe a contest win prize.
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3. Product: How many manuscripts do you have, and how many do you need? One ms or even one genre may not be enough in today’s competitive market. Very often I’m asked what’s next, what other projects I’m working on and even how long it takes me to write a book. It’s great if your persistence to date has been spending many years completing one manuscript, but more might be required of you.
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4. Submissions: How many is enough/are you willing to send? How many is too many? Years ago, Kresley Cole gave a workshop about having 25 things out at a time. That’s right, 25. She counted requests, queries, contest entries and upcoming appointments. Are you going to pursue agents only, or both? The time and effort it takes to research industry professionals and prepare submissions (some agencies now have online forms, and each requires different info) can put a significant dent in your writing time.
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5. Rejections: As it happens, last night at 11 pm I got a particularly harsh rejection email from an agent on a full ms. Ouch. Do your rejections feel like stabs to the heart that set you back, or can you take them in stride? Can you set them aside easily and keep writing/submitting? Is there something you can learn from personal rejections? Does the rejection have a silver lining: an opportunity to revise and resubmit, or to submit other projects?
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6. Contests: for published and unpublished. Why are you entering? If unpublished, to get feedback? To hope you’ll final and get your pages in front of the agent/editor of your dreams? To earn credentials? If published, do you believe contest finals or wins yield additional readers? Contests can be beneficial, but tweaking your entries and going through the rigmarole of entering can take a lot of time.
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7. Industry & craft knowledge: Writing great books is the most important thing, but we can’t write in a vacuum. We need to learn about our craft and our industry...so we know that, for example, very few editors if any want a 120,000 word manuscript. Are you willing to expend effort on this?
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8. Networking: Connections and building relationships can prove useful at any stage of an author’s career. Whether you’re sharing industry info or seeking a critique group/partner, you’ll want to use your time wisely...or you could end up spending the entire day on Twitter or Facebook.
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9. Patience: Long response times, slow payment, waiting for contracts, contest results...need I say more? Does waiting make you fret, or can you let it go? How do you feel when someone asks, “Have you sold yet?” or starts offering unsolicited advice about what her friend Sally did? Can you reduce the angst of waiting by focusing on your next project?
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10. Determination: What is your goal? Wanting to sell, working hard for years and not achieving the results you want unleashes powerful emotions that can run the gamut from feeling like a failure to desperation to frustration. Some may think “I’ll never sell,” while others are motivated to just work harder. On occasion I even find myself in the slippery well of self-pity.
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Sometimes I feel like a gambler: Just one more bet (submission/contest entry), and my horse will come in (the call). Sometimes I wonder why friends have sold/gone on to win awards while I haven’t. What made the elusive mix of talent and timing--both in finding the person that loves your work and what the market wants--come together for them?
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If you’re new to writing and wonder these things, analyze what you’ve written...is your ms really ready? Maybe you could improve your craft. Or maybe your stuff pushes the envelope too much. Sometimes even a great book/the book of your heart just won’t sell in the current market.
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Once you’re “almost there,” there is no pat answer. Though it’s easier said than done, we need to stop wasting our brainpower on negative, self-defeating thoughts and focus on things we can influence and control... writing new pages, revising to our best ability, and getting our work on the desks of those who can buy/represent us.
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You can decide that you’re not really being persistent, you’re actually beating your head against a brick wall...so it’s time to quit. Or you can decide to persist, and believe that every rejection means you’re one ‘no’ closer to ‘yes.’
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Learn more at http://www.ruthjkaufman.com/ and http://www.ruthtalks.com/.
© Ruth Kaufman 2010
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Janet again. Be sure to check out Ruth's Web sites. I had a blast hearing all sides of Ruth's talent on www.ruthtalks.com
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For breakfast this morning, I brought sugary, cinnamony baked apples to go with a huge stack of pancakes. I've made these apples oodles of time and they're good. Just not as good as my mother-in-law made, but hey, I keep trying. One day my persistence will pay off.

90 comments :

  1. What a beautiful post, brutally honest yet motivating, inspiring and heart-warming all at the same time. I feel like printing it and taping it to the wall by my desk. Please enter me in the contest, I'd consider it an honor to meet this great lady.
    Sincerely, Debby Lee
    sanddlee[at]aol[dot]com

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  2. What a wonderful post - fits right in with the three P's ~ prayer, persistance, patience.

    God bless All!

    Please do NOT enter me in the drawing - I'm not attending the conference.

    PamT

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  3. Ruth, you nailed it. This industry is not for wimps and it doesn't ever get easier. You must love it. Period. That's the only way to make it when you have no positive reinforcement in sight.

    Day after day, you work in a black hole, so you better be your best cheerleader.

    We've got a lot of hard headed persistent folks in Seekerville I've noticed. :)

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  4. AMEN!!!

    Great post and filled with encouragement.
    Perspective is so important - and so is counting the cost.

    Thanks for the reminder.

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  5. This a very realistic post of what a writer deals with day in and day out!

    Please don't enter me in the contest.

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  6. Debby, Pamela, Tina, Pepper & Rose,

    Glad you like the post.

    Happiness is supposed to come from within...but sometimes good news like a contest final or request for a full after a partial can be that shot in the arm to keep us going. Ruth

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  7. Welcome to Seekerville, Ruth! Great post. Janet, your delicious food will add too many pounds--good thing it's cyberfood.

    Writing is a tough profession, but more rewarding than anything else I could do. But it's definitely not for wimps. I didn't have a clue when I started out! I'm so thankful for writers organization,writer friends and all the helpful info on the internet. It would be too hard to do on my own!

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  8. No one understands the ups and downs of the writer's life better than another writer. I can't imagine where I'd be--perhaps in a padded cell LOL--if it were not for the friendship of writers and a place like Seekerville, where I can share and learn.

    Leave your your email address if you want a chance to win the turtles! There's two separate drawings. Thanks!

    Janet

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  9. Debby Lee, you said it perfectly. Ruth tells it like it is. Thanks for entering.

    Janet

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  10. Pamela, we've prayed our way to publication here in Seekerville. Not that we didn't do our part by working hard, but the outcome is out of our control. But not out of Gods. :-)

    Janet

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  11. Tina, hard-headed is an apt description of every successful writer I know. Too stubborn to give up. Hey, chocolate helps too.

    Janet

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  12. Hi Pepper, I can't think of a single worthwhile thing I've done that comes without a cost. Good to look at Ruth's balance sheet and see if we're up to handling it.

    Janet

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  13. Great post, Ruth! Writing is a lonely, cabinet-kicking, sometimes frustrating existence--but I couldn't imagine doing anything else that gives me as much joy!

    Please enter me in the drawing--pattywrites(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  14. So true, Rose. And publication doesn't really change that. Pubbed authors get rejections, lose contests, face market changes, struggle with time and money issues.

    Janet

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  15. I hear you, Cara. Cyber food has lots of benefits. Lack of calories, ease of preparation and everything is guaranteed to be delicious. I'm a happy cook in Seekerville. LOL

    Janet

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  16. Welcome to Seekerville, Ruth, and WOW, what a perfect blog to kick off the week with -- the bottom line with lots of hope, heart and honesty.

    And, boy, Tina is right -- this biz is NOT for wimps, published or unpublished! Pouring your heart into a book that may or may not sell, may or may not get noticed after it sells, or may or may not garner acclaim in sales, contests or reviews, is NOT for the faint-hearted. One has to decide which is stronger in your life ... the desire to write or the pain of rejection. Talk about a boot camp for the soul -- aspiring to become published OR being published will definitely whip one into shape or chew them up and spit them out.

    But, OH, the end product is sooo desirable and worth it ... a "soul"dier who is a lean, clean writing machine! Of course, I'm still waiting to get there ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  17. Since I've never had the apples your mother-in-law makes, I think yours are delicious. :)

    Thanks, Janet, for putting this together, and Ruth, for your words of motivation.

    It's difficult to move this thing called writing from being your nice little "hobby" to an all-consuming passion, and it's hard for family and friends to understand the motivation that brings you to that point - but it's worth it. If I never become a resident of "Pubbed Island," I will have made some of the best friends of my life through this process of writing.

    I just hope I have the persistence to see it through!

    Please enter me in the drawing for the chocolate (it IS cyber-no-calorie chocolate, right?), but not the meeting,unfortunately. No RWA for me. I'm saving up for ACFW. PLUS, I want someone to have the opportunity meet Ruth in PERSON!

    Thanks for being here, Seekerville!

    Regina
    trmerrick@bellsouth.net

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  18. So, so true. Persistence is a must, and one must count the cost. You don't set out to build a new house without first counting the cost. So too with a writing career.

    There are many reasons why I didn't quit as I waited to get the "the call." One of them is that I was just too stubborn to quit! And I believed it would happen. I didn't know when or how, but I believed if I didn't give up, it would happen.

    Thanks for this post, Ruth. And I would love to win a marketing session with you. I've got to go out and talk to some local bookstores about carrying my book when it comes out in September, and about possible booksignings in their stores, and I'm scared! My fear is that I'll sound like a second grader. "Do you like my book? Isn't the cover pretty?" :-) So please enter me in the drawing! I need it!
    melaniedickerson at knology dot net

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  19. But, OH, the end product is sooo desirable and worth it ... a "soul"dier who is a lean, clean writing machine!

    Julie, love it! And see you clearly in that result.

    Janet

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  20. Regina, getting family and friends on board isn't always easy. They may support our dream until it impacts their lives in what they see as negative ways. There's a learning curve for all involved.

    The prize is real chocolate. DeMets. Yummy. It's sweet of you to praise my baked apples! Thanks!

    Janet

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  21. Hey, Mel, I can relate to that fear. I enjoy meeting and talking to people, but promoting my books is scary.

    Janet

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  22. Great post thanks Ruth. It came at a good time. I've been feeling kind if scared about my upcoming release. And kind of invisible to the world though God sees me. I needed the reminder Infact it's my second. I guess God is telling me something. Hang in there, I've been hanging for 20+ years why the fear now.

    Writing does cost alot. whether published or not you have to keep your focus on God.

    Just listened to something about how readily we hit the web when we should go to God first cause he has the apps you'll need for the day.

    Thanks again

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  23. Hey, Ruth. Great post. And welcome to the Persistence Center of the Universe.

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  24. Ruth you hit on so many things we talk about here in Seekerville. A great post that sums up a lot of it.

    Rhino Hide. Submit your work to an agent, editor, contest, then GET TO WORK ON THE NEXT THING.

    Persist.

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  25. Melanie, when you go out to talk about your book, make SURE and work Zondervan into the first sentence.
    The store owners will immediately recognize the name and treat you better.
    I think they're all wary of authors who are self-published. Which isn't to say they might not stock a self-published book, but they are really comfortable working with publishers they know.

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  26. I have a little trouble worrying too much about the expense of being a writer.

    My husband's a rancher.
    So, he buys at tractor. Well, we don't buy NEW ones...which easily run $100,000, but used ones cost plenty.

    I buy a computer which costs ... I think the last one was a laptop under $500. It's a little hard to get him too worried about my expenses.

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  27. Great post! Hope everyone had a great moms day!

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  28. Right on target, Ruth! The realities of pursuing a writing career can sound intimidating. We each have to decide for ourselves if we have the stamina to stick with it.

    It took me 25 years from the time I took the first steps toward becoming a professional writer until I sold my first book manuscript. Even with regular magazine sales and lots of encouraging rejections, I look back now and see I still had a lot of learning to do.

    But imagine what I would have missed out on if ever I'd given in to the urge to quit!

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  29. What a great post, Ruth, one that's a nice blend of honesty and encouragement.

    Thanks for inviting Ruth, Janet. (I love the turtle analogy, but I'm not a fan of the candies so please don't enter me in your drawing.)

    Of the ten items on Ruth's list, Janet, which would you say were the biggest factors for you in your pre-published days, and how did you deal with them?

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  30. Straightforward. Succinct. Stalwart. Solid.

    Must be in the name!!!! ;)

    RUTH!!!! Welcome aboard, Sugar Bean and thank you for a great post about reality.

    And Pam T., you're right. Those famous "P" words... Love 'em.

    Umm, Keli...

    Keli.....


    Keli.... Do you not get it, girlfriend??? YOU may not like the turtles.

    I DO.

    So you enter (because I can't) and then you maybe win them and MAIL THEM TO ME....

    Oh my stars, this isn't rocket science.... I'm sitting here trying to reach through the computer to grab those turtles (I love the chocolate kind and I actually like the salmonella bearing ones too. So cute. Snappers???? I get them in my garage now and again. Oh my stars, I'm lucky to have all ten toes.)

    Just sayin', Keli. Janet wouldn't have to know a THING!

    And Connealy posted five times. In a row.

    Five.

    Ruthy

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  31. Hi Ruth:

    What you wrote is very informative and useful. I have a question about marketing.

    I noticed on your web site that you offer many different services. Do you think you could offer a marketability evaluation service?

    I see many writers who work for years trying to improve a manuscript that is almost unmarketable regardless of how well it is written. Yet, average written books, that are highly marketable, get published on a regular basis.

    How about a service, (that truly knows the marketplace), that would assign a marketability score to a story proposal?

    The writer would send in a one page proposal and get a score back. I am not talking about ‘hot’ trends here. I’m talking about universal marketability factors which change very little over the decades.

    The service could require certain questions be answered on their form like: word length, POV, location, intended audience and so on.

    I’d like such a service. Do you think it could be done?

    Vince

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  32. Janet, on second thought, I may have spoken too soon regarding those turtles. I understand they are really quite yummy and may be just the thing to share with a friend--or even a slightly pushy writer pal who shall remain nameless. :D

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  33. So, Ruthy, yesterday I was--and I quote--"a peach." Today I'm a slow-on-the-uptake non-rocket scientist type. I tried to redeem myself though. Do you think Janet will buy it?

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  34. I had several thoughts. Each, in my own opinion, so worthy that they needed their own comment box to emphasize them.

    Thank you for noticing.

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  35. Although counting to five did, for one moment, teeter Seekerville on the very brink of becoming Sesame Street.

    Which is a risk we all take every day, of course.

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  36. Ruth, I like your list. It's nice to know that so far I'm on track. I even have four manuscripts, three of them I'm working on at the same time. I have my eye on a few contests for two of my manuscripts and I hope to begin the submission process by June 1.

    Thank you for sharing this.

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  37. Tina P., I was scared silly right before I sold. I had all these fears that I couldn't handle publication. What if I couldn't write a second book in the series? What if my sales were bad? What if I couldn't handle the pressure?

    So by Dean standards you're normal, Tina P. No white coats here. This will pass. And something else will take it's place. LOL Now you know why I start my day with my devotionals. And a strong cup of coffee.

    Janet

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  38. Mary, it's nice to know you are the loose change in your rancher husband's pocket.

    Love you.
    Nameless

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  39. KC, I had a wonderful Mother's Day. Family, gifts and carry-in. LOL

    Janet

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  40. Oops, that should've been Kerri C. Sorry, Kerri.

    Janet

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  41. Myra, I'm sure glad I didn't sell my first book too. I thought it was ready. But I was wrong.

    Those 25 years of sticking to it prepared you to handle your career once you sold.

    Janet

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  42. Thanks, everyone, for all the kind words.

    Unfortunately at the moment I'm more in a "it's time to give up place" than a "jeepers, I just need to write another ms and get it out there" place.

    Knowing there are so many supportive fellow writers out there helps. Ruth

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  43. Vince asked about a "marketability evaluation service." I think it's a great idea in concept.

    However, in practice, one page isn't enough to tell IMO because the execution of the actual pages is more important. I've often been told by agents/editors, for example, that this or that premise is very marketable, just had one tell me she thought I was on the cutting edge of a new trend...but yet to her the ms didn't have enough worldbuilding, even after I revised the beginning to what I thought were her specifications.

    Which gets me to the second point...just because I or an evaluator or one editor think something is/is not marketable, the next person might love it. A friend recently got rejected by almost 100 agents (not kidding), yet as it happens, one of the very last ones to respond took it on and sold it within 2 weeks.

    So any evaluation service is just that one person's opinion.
    Ruth

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  44. Tina, Melanie, Janet, and anyone else who is scared of promotion: just stop that right this minute. Let that fear go. What good does it do you? None.

    The fact that all of you have succeeded in getting published and have a book(s) to promote is a HUGE, wonderful gift earned by your hard work that many have not been given/attained. Keep that in mind as you accept that any opportunity to promote/discuss your work is an extension and continuation of that gift.

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  45. Hi Keli, I'll spill my guts. Anyone else up for it?

    My biggest perils and weaknesses:

    #3: I should've written more and revised less. Or done both equally.

    #4: Submissions--the flip side. I probably submitted too soon.

    #10: Determination. Mine can come and go with highs and lows so I can't promise I wouldn't have given up at some point. But I didn't.

    My biggest profits:

    #6: Contests. I learned so much from contest feedback! Finals and wins energized me. I loved the excitement. Though it is harder not to final now that I'm published.

    #7. Learning craft. I love to take workshops, read craft books, work with my critique partner and editor.

    Janet

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  46. Renee, congrats on your plans to enter contests! You're working hard and on your way!

    Janet

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  47. Keli, I see marks on your arm. Has Ruthy been twisting it? Ruthy, you're scaring Seekerville's faithful. Stop that! Pretty please.

    Janet

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  48. Turtles carry salmonella? I had them in my classroom when I taught first grade. My husband gave them baths, even washed under their arms. :-) LOL

    Janet

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  49. Cheryl, I'm grateful Ruth agreed to come to Seekerville. She's meeting a need for sure.

    Janet

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  50. Ruth, hang out in Seekerville. We support one another and that is huge! This is such a lonely endeavor. Hey, watch out for Ruthy. She's a butt kicker.

    Janet

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  51. I tried to buy my daughters a little turtle. I had one as a child. Sturdy little things. Not so easy to kill as fish.

    But when I went shopping...no turtles.

    Why, I asked. I mean BIG ones, sure, but no little ones.

    Because they have turtle feces on their feet and will poison children who put them in their mouths. So only bigger-than-mouth-sized turtles are now legal.

    Huh??? Can't you just tell the kids not to put them in their mouths? And, uh, are kids REALLY putting turtles in their mouths?

    I think it was all caused by some kids book. Junie B. Jones or Superfudge put a turtle in his mouth and apparently salmonella outbreaks were so rampant (one case?) that little turtles were banned.

    You all needed to know this, right?

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  52. Mary, it sounds as though SOMEONE needs to write a children's book extolling the virtues of NOT putting turtles in ones' mouth.

    Just an idea . . . ;)

    It could be a Western . . .

    Regina

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  53. After reading today's post by Ruth and Janet I'm even more determined to stay on the writing path. All the sharing of experiences and honest comments have encouraged me. It's just what I so needed today. Many thanks, ladies. Pat

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  54. Mary, seriously kids put turtles in their mouths? Not sure why I'm surprised knowing kids, except a turtle would be moving! And they have these little nails. I shiver to think of it.

    Just shows the power of the printed page, which ties in beautifully with Seekerville. Thanks Mare. Another reason to persist. We can lead readers to do disgusting things. LOL

    Janet

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  55. Pat, I'm glad you were encouraged by Ruth's Persistence post. It's helpful to have the realities of this business laid out so we can examine the cost, plan and not be thrown by it. Kind of like getting a bird's eye view of a roller coaster's track. When we see the worst twists, turns and drops it offers, we can prepare to hang on.

    As Tina said, you must love it. Period.

    Only a deep love of storytelling will keep us moving toward our goal.

    Janet

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  56. Janet and Ruth K.

    thanks so much for the encouragement and the gentle kick. You're so right on all counts.

    That spirit I find here, truth and love and get your game on, is why I love coming here, and love yall so much.

    And Mare,
    all I can think about now is someone tumbling down the stairs, saying ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE... Five Mary Connealy posts

    make my poor brain work.

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  57. Ruth, thanks for planting the seed that promotion is a continuation of the gift we've been given when we sell. You're so right. It is a blessing.

    The bottom line: Writing will stretch us, perhaps out of our comfort zones, but stretching keeps us flexible and helps us grow. A very good thing.

    Janet

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  58. Janet

    My biggest Perils,

    #editting my manuscripts.

    #Afraid I'm invisible sometimes.

    #Fear of inadequacy. Already shared that I'm scared. working on that one.


    Beneficial Things

    #joining this group

    #writing several stories, (which I need to edit.)

    #contests have helped.

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  59. Hi Janet:

    Just Curious.

    You wrote: #3: I should've written more and revised less. Or done both equally.

    Do you mean by this that if you had written more you would have worked on more writing projects (completed more books) or would you have written longer books? Or did you mean that too much revision was counterproductive to writing quality? Or did you mean too much revision was a waste of time?

    I love to write the first draft but I don't like to revise. I like your thinking.

    Vince

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  60. Hi Ruth:

    Thanks for your comments. I am working on an article about story marketability and your comments have helped.

    Vince

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  61. Tina P, your kind words made my day!

    After all day at the computer, I appear to have teetered over the brink into Sesame Street, exactly as Mary predicted. Excuse me while I crawl into my garbage can and plop on the lid.

    Janet

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  62. Excellent Tina P! Taking inventory is good. Fear is a biggie. Break what scares you into smaller pieces.

    Congrats on the completed stories! You are not invisible. We see you most every day and thank you for that!

    Janet

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  63. Hi Vince, obviously I need to write with more clarity. :-)

    I was trying to say that I wish I'd written more books before I sold instead of revising and revising the same stories.

    Not that I don't believe in revising. I actually love it. And I hate to give up on a story after sinking my heart and soul into it.

    Unlike you, I find writing the first draft daunting. I believe I'd have stronger writing muscles and be more productive if I'd written more and revised less.

    Still, if I hadn't revised and revised the book that sold, maybe I wouldn't have sold anything.

    So who knows?

    Janet

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  64. Ruth, word after word, your post today found its mark and hit home!!

    Brava!

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  65. Janet, thanks for asking Ruth today.

    As a fairly new person to this profession, the learning curve is steep. I'm looking forward to learning more and always know where to come - right here to Seekerville.

    Thanks Ruth for your time and sharing your thoughts. It helps to have someone on the path ahead!

    ksf895 at citlink dot net

    KC Frantzen
    www.maythek9spy.com

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  66. After the divorce (from #1. The second husband is SUCH a blessing - thank you LORD!!!!!), I took an Outward Bound course. Yes, I can say Penobscot Bay. Ahhhh...

    Learned that "Can't" was to be removed from my vocabulary. I also gave up fear and guilt. It's quite freeing.

    :)

    KC Frantzen
    www.maythek9spy.com

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  67. Wow, talk about timing.

    Like you, I'm right now more at the "it's time to give up place" than a "jeepers, I just need to write another ms and get it out there" place.


    This has been a STINKY week, one that has had me ready to hang it up.

    Monday I got a really big rejection. Then it was followed up by the hotel cancellation and change of venue for the conference. In the face of discouragement, heightened travel complications, and additional expense, I saw no choice but to cancel my plans for national this year. THEN my computer died. It's in the shop, and I'm on my old backup. It's sl-o-o-o-o-ow and temperamental, but much better than nothing.

    Okay, now I've ranted. I think I feel better already. Is that what you meant about networking?? Come to Seekerville so you can get---not just sympathy--but EMPATHY---right?

    Anyhow, thanks for the post. And don't enter me in the drawing since I'm not going to make it to conference.

    Helen

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  68. Keli, no, Janet's wayyyyy too smart for that.

    Dagnabbit.

    Take it under advisement for future contests, 'kay???

    I'm just sayin'...

    And honey LOTS of people aren't rocket scientist types. Me among them. I'm a simple country girl with a penchant for chocolate and romance and God.

    Quite pastoral, actually.

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  69. Ah, Helen, some weeks suck.

    Plain and simple.

    I remember one summer dealing with three deaths in 10 days, one of whom was a full term baby.... Computer died.... Mortgage rolled over to a new percentage that necessitated me RUNNING to the nearest store and begging for job #2.... The roof was leaking on one section of the house.... there was no money for conferences, I'd had a big rejection, and my heart just felt numb....

    Do you remember a Dear Abby or Dear Ann Landers letter that went something like this:

    Dear Ann Landers, I'm 39 years old, have a good job, a nice home and a great family and I've always wanted to be a doctor but if I apply and get into medical school, by the time I complete school and my residency in seven years, I'll be forty-six years old.

    Signed,

    Frustrated



    Dear Frustrated,

    And how old will you be in seven years if you DON'T go back to school?


    I loved that. She made it simple.

    Life kicks you in the head no matter what you're doing. Nora Roberts gives a great talk (and I've never, ever, ever been able to afford to go to RWA before so this will be my first one, but this story has been repeated to me by friends who've gone and met Nora...)

    And the talk is about talent and persistence (one of those "P"s mentioned today) and that the spoils don't go to the most talented authors. They go to the ones who just don't quit.

    I'm sending Turtles your way and cyber hugs. Big ones!

    This is a tough business, but we've been there. Done that. Still doing it. You've come to the right place, Sistah!!!

    Smile and nod. Smile and nod. Smile and nod. ;)

    Ruthy

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  70. Ruth, thanks for painting a very realistic picture of the writing life. It's not an easy road to travel, but the reward of wonderful friends--like those we find in Seekerville--makes the journey so, so sweet!

    Thanks for being with us today and for offering such a great prize to one lucky winner! Good luck, everyone!

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  71. KC, you made giving up fear and guilt sound easy. Any tips on how you managed it?

    Thanks for your support of Seekerville!

    Janet

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  72. Oh, Helen, I'm sorry. About the R, the computer, having to cancel the conference. I'm bummed. I was looking forward to meeting you.

    Maybe networking should be renamed netholding. As in being there for each other so we won't land too hard.

    Hugs.

    Janet

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  73. Thanks so much for being with us today, Ruth! What a great list! Thanks so much for sharing and making us think.

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  74. Janet, your Turtles are torturing me! I don't have any around the house. But I believe I do have a Heath bar somewhere...

    :)

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  75. Oh Helen, I am so sorry. Monday and already a stinky week. Sending you a big hug.

    Maybe the ACFW will be more manageable..and you have until September to plan!

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  76. Debby, you make a wonderful point. Giving up writing would mean having less contact with writer friends made along the way. Worse, giving up could be contagious, spreading to others hanging on by a fraying thread.

    Janet

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  77. Ruthy, I love the Ann Lander's letter. So true. Thanks for sharing!

    Janet

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  78. LOL, Missy! I have a Heath bar too. I'm saving it for the topping on that yummy chocolate/caramel cake. Mmm. Wanna see who can make it to the kitchen first?

    Janet

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  79. Oh, Helen, you poor thing. I'm so sorry for your awful week.

    Hang in there.

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  80. Wow, absolutely great post. I love everything she said about persistance and measuring if we're read. Thanks so much!

    Enter me to talk to her, please.
    :-)

    jessica_nelson7590 at yahoo dotcom

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  81. Oh, Roofie:

    You are such a comforter. Now that sounded like a quilt, didn't it? But those are warm and comforting, too.

    I'm one up on you in national attendance, having been to one back in the eighties in Minneapolis. But I'm still SOOOOO disappointed. I was looking forward to meeting you guys.

    Janet, Tina, & Missy:

    Thank you so much for the kind words.

    Yes, I'm weighing the possibilities for ACFW. I've got some time, so will see how things develop.

    Okay,I had three days there that I produced NOTHING. But I've recovered enough since Thursday to write over half a chapter. Seems that nothing can make a writing addict quit.

    Helen

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  82. Hi Jessica, glad the post resonated with you. And that you're interested in a chat with Ruth on promotion/pitching tips.

    Janet

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  83. Proud of you, Helen. Writing addict has a nice ring to it. :-)

    Janet

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  84. On the conference, believe me Nashville would LOVE to be hosting y'all. UGH. What a mess.

    Hmm the fear/guilt thing.

    It comes down to a decision you have to make. Would you rather be known as fear less or fear full (spelling purposeful there or should that be full of purpose?!)

    I'm the daughter of the King, ya know? Jesus died DIED for me, taking my place. Whom shall I fear?

    Guilt is a sin so 'nuff said there.

    I'm not saying I don't fall into them, from time to time, but it's rare these days. I do my best to keep my eyes on Jesus and "the things of earth grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory & grace."

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  85. Awesome post! Thanks so much, Ruth and Janet!
    Camy

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  86. KC, so true! That decision may have to be a daily one for some, but how we live is a choice. A choice we have the power to carry out.

    Janet

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  87. Helen, so sorry to hear about your week. It does seem sometimes that bad things happen in 3s...

    Hope you get some good news soon.

    Ruth

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  88. I'm a day late, but I just wanted to pop in and say "Hi!!!" to The Seekers and wave to Ruth! Thanks so much for your excellent post. You 10 steps are really well thought out and SO helpful for writers at all stages. ;)

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  89. heatherburch@live.comMay 12, 2010 at 10:07 AM

    These truths need to be printed and taped on our computer desks. It's all about a great story, then it's all about getting it out there.
    I've counted times when I had 25 things out making the rounds.
    Thanks for a terrific post!

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