Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Guest Blogger Mia Ross with the Top Three Things She's Learned Since Leaving the Island!

Happy Birthday, Seekerville! It's Mia Ross, stopping by with streamers and party hats to help with your celebration. It feels like you've been around forever, connecting authors with readers, with a large helping of writerly advice thrown in for flavor. I'm not an original Seeker, but Ruthy invited me here years ago, assuring me I'd find some kindred spirits on Unpubbed Island. Boy, was she right!

As my contribution to the party, she asked me to share some of the things I've learned since leaving the island 2 years ago. There are s-o-o many, but here's a countdown of my top 3.

3. When an editor starts working with you on your book, it's not your book anymore.

This hint might seem obvious, but we're talking about your baby, the project you've spent months or years polishing. So it can be tough to hear things like, "We need to pick up the pace," or, "Take out the first 3 chapters and start with the funeral." Yup, heard 'em both on my first Love Inspired book, and it wasn't easy, let me tell you. Neither were the other 10 pages in that revision letter. I found myself wondering what Melissa Endlich saw in this story that was such a mess. We went back and forth twice before I got that first contract, but I learned a lot, so the next revision letter was only 4 pages. Definite progress!

2.  Ignore the noise.

Actually, this was the motto for the rebuilding Houston Astros baseball team this season, but I recently adopted it for myself. When I start feeling overwhelmed, it's never my writing that does me in--it's everything else. When you're an author, your product has two parts: the books and you. That means you're responsible for things like websites and media postings, and if you pay too much attention to reviews and how many people mention you on Twitter, your writing will suffer and you'll go nuts. Find a level of connectedness that works for you and stick with it. Keeping your emotions on an even keel helps you not just professionally but personally as well.  

1.  Life first.

For me, this means family first. Kids only grow up once, and I want to enjoy those years because once they're gone, you can't get them back. Also, I still have my original husband, and I'd like to keep it that way ;) When I realized I was at the bottom of my own priority list, I revised it so it went like this: family, me, work, writing. That approach to life suits both my professional needs and my personal philosophy, so it's a much more comfortable situation for me.

Okay, now it's your turn. We learn a lot throughout our lives, and I know lots of you must have other lessons to add. They can be writing-related or not, your choice. Post your favorite and you'll be entered in the drawing for one of 3 copies of Rocky Coast Romance, the first book in my new Holiday Harbor series for Love Inspired. Have a great day!

I love great stories. I enjoy reading about fascinating people, long-ago times, and exotic places. But only for a little while, because my reality is pretty sweet. Married to my college sweetheart, I’m the proud mom of two amazing kids whose schedules keep me hopping. Busy as I am, I can't imagine trading my life for anyone else's--and I have a pretty good imagination. You can visit me online at


  1. Hi Mia,

    I'm working through the post-sale cycle on a three book series, so I'm open to the kind of information you've shared tonight.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Coffee's brewing.


  2. Hi Mia:

    I love your cover. I’d buy the book based on that cover and the fact it is a Love Inspired book. I look forward to reading it.

    As for advice with working with editors, I have much the same as your #3.

    Be willing to change anything.

    You can’t afford to fall in love with something you wrote and refuse to change it and still be a professional. Remember: the editor is buying the book.

    Now I have a question for you that I would find helpful.

    How much better do you think your book became after you made those nine pages of edits? Could you give it a percentage like 20%, 50%, or even 100% better?

    I ask this because I am concerned with Indie publishers who, when an editor gives them nine pages of edits, just go off and publish the book themselves. It’s hard to tell in these cases how much was lost to the reader. What do you think about this?

    Please put me down for a chance at one of those three books.


  3. Welcome Mia,
    I like your tips. I like the put family first.
    congrats on only 4 pages of edits the second time. I bet that felt great.

    I remember an author who had a book rejected but the editor took the time to give suggestions to improve the book but they dismissed all the advice even had reasons why not to change it. One was about pace and to much background story and they decided to keep it saying the story needed the background story so readers knew what was happening. At the time I thought here she got great advice from an editor who took the time to offer advice for her to improve the book and she rejected it.

    By the way I love the cover of your new book. Please enter me.

  4. Good advice, Mia,
    It was tough having to cut a couple chapters my first round. Especially when I liked them so much. Oh well, I suppose they can be used as free reads later on.

    I have been trying to be good to myself. Not much else I can do I hurt my back a few months ago which has forced me to take it slow. Which is kind of a pain while trying to move.

    Any hoo have a lovely day.



  5. Hello Mia,

    Yes. There are tough lessons for pre-published writers to learn in seekerville and those of our own. I had such high hopes after the 2012 DFW Conference and a pitch to Melissa Endlich. She answered my question "If I ever write for HLI," as more of a matter of 'When.' Great encouragement then - tougher in practice.

    I hired a critique-editor and learned I had Seven solid skills in my writing but three that were not ready for prime time so to speak. Little did I know I had others I would have to work on.

    My biggest mistake was to forgo my strengths (dialogue) and writing a first draft of dialogue before going back to add layers to the novel and edit down as well. Instead, I started writing a chapter at a time, sent to my editor, and then looking at it trying to make revisions. Trying to master every rule so subsequent chapters would not have as many edit marks (or balloons) of my crit editor.

    What it turned me into was mechanical. I lost that creative love and spirit. And I could not be perfect in writing a first draft. I became my own worst critic and enemy to where I was not writing anything.

    Reading so many books (Wyatt, Daley, Martin, Gibson, Marchand, James, and yours [A Gift of Family & A Place For Family) in addition to Coble and Kingsbury I'd get further depressed. Looking at perfection in those books and then thinking about my 1ST or 2ND draft and saying 'this is garbage.' Just isn't perfect or good enough to submit now (or may be ever).

    I wrote two MS start to finish (Contemporaries) then 1 Historical (the WIP now). But like surgery on each chapter. Not that its my baby. None are. I love having an editor and value the growth experience to do what they suggest. But in the process I don't feel much more than mechanical and wonder 'if it will ever become automatic to become perfect.'

    Your counsel reassures it is a process and what priorities to take is as it grows into a work in progress with an HLI editor. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Stephen Myers
    Arlington, Texas

  6. Oh I love this!!

    Every one of these is so true! I just picked up my Nov. release and read a few pages, then thought I'd found a mistake!! But no... it was just a major change that went through and I'd forgotten about it. And just tonight a friend messaged me and said how much she loved Evie's story... and it took me a while to figure out what/who she was talking about. The name had been changed, along with major story parts, and it just didn't click at first. haha!

    But this one: Kids only grow up once, and I want to enjoy those years because once they're gone, you can't get them back.

    This is why I write between 11pm and 3AM. Up at 7AM, and snag a nap on Saturdays, because I want to write AND be there for my kids. Of course, I'd love to write during the day, but I'm also committed to homeschooling them. So, all of those things bring me to... the night shift.

    Great post, Mia! Love hearing advice from someone who's been there and knows the drill!

  7. Years ago I had issues with procrastination. I heard a phrase back then that I tried to put to use, and in fact it helped, but procrastination butted it's head in once again. The phrase by Anthony Robbins is "the road to Someday, leads to the town of Nowhere". I'm a big one for saying, "Someday, I'm going to..." I posted the phrase all around my house back then. But then I moved, got married and many years later I'm finding myself back to the "Someday" speech. I told my husband I am really tired of procrastinating and I need prayer to overcome it. I guess I'm still a WIP. :)

    I also love the cover of your newest book and would love to be entered to win.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  8. Cindy, I'd lay that one right at the feet of Jesus. When I'm faced with a quirk or personal choice I can't overcome, the cross is the best place for it. And I'd repost those notes because (like Stephen said so eloquently above) fear of not being as good/good enough is often what curtails us. Pshaw. No one starts at the finish line in this biz. We all start the same way, hunting and pecking our way through. Go for it!

    Stephen, I'm not Mia but her struggle parallelled yours in some ways. Don't quit! Hang in there and tell your story, then clean it up. We all have different ways of self-editing and I slog through an entire book before letting anyone see it. You're a-okay in my book if you do the same. Otherwise my flow is messed up. Can't be messin' with the flow!

    Drinking Helen's coffee and getting to work! Happy birthday Seekerville and Mia, great to have you here!!! I took a blue party hat from the box, the one that will sit just so behind my tiara.


  9. Wow, I LOVE how so many of you mentioned being there for your family. That is so huge. That's one of the things I've learned in the last year or so. It's easy to get obsessed with the writing. Life is so busy and I often find myself looking for every scrap of time that I can find for writing. In the past this meant putting on the TV for the kids or giving them busy work. My life has been SOOOO much better though since I've decided NOT to do that anymore. That time is my kids' time. So Virginia, I'm with you. I've created a night shift. Yes, I'm tired, but writing energizes me. It's a small sacrifice to make :)

  10. My family is important. Not losing my voice in trying to be perfect. But the biggest lesson I've learned is:

    Focus on your health.

    Now I need to get back to polishing.

    Steve, I'm with ya.

    Peace, Julie

  11. Good morning, everyone! I'm enjoying Helen's coffee while reading through, so if I slurp a little, forgive me :)

    VINCE: I have to be honest and admit that my agent went through my first book twice before Melissa got it, so it was already in good shape. After working with two pro's, though, it was 100% more MARKETABLE than when I started. They didn't change my style or voice, but they definitely made it flow better for readers. Some experienced authors self-edit well and can produce quality material on their own. Ruthy does a fabulous job on her indie books, but I'm not there yet.

    JENNY: It's great to see you! I don't mind mailing to Australia, so consider yourself entered :)

    TINA: Back trouble is so tough to manage. Reading some good Seeker books will help fill in your time :)

    STEVE: Once my proposal chapters are edited for submission, I NEVER read the rest of the draft until I'm done. I used to, but second guessing myself slowed things down and killed the creative spark that makes my writing unique. I read in large chunks to get into the story, so I write the same way. Wishing you luck with LI--it's a great place to work!

    VIRGINIA: I know from your posts that your kids come first for you everyday. It might not be easy to write in the wee small hours, but you do it well. Keep those books coming!

    CINDY: We're all WIPs--that's what keeps life interesting!

    RUTHY: That blue hat looks great on you. Do you need more jewels for your tiara, dahling?

    ANNIE: Congrats on reordering your own list! It's. It's not easy to cram everything in, but you're on the right track. Way to go!

    JULIE: Great lessons for the rest of us. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Hi Mia, I'm a reader but wanted to tell you I liked your post of putting family above your writing. You are right you only have them for a short time , as life tends to speed by. Your books sound very interesting I will.
    have to add to my reading list Thanks

  13. Mia,

    You make a great point about once you have an editor, the book isn't yours.

    Writer's are told to polish your work until it's perfect before you submit, which is true, but perfect is subjective because as soon as an editor sees it, they will find things to change.

    Bottom line...your story CAN be improved! Trust that editor!

    Good luck with your current release.

  14. Hi MIA, Welcome back to Seekerville. Always fun to have you aboard and what great advice.

    Yep, family is first and so glad you reminded us.

    Agree with VINCE, the cover is great.

  15. Hi Mia,

    Great to see you in Seekerville!

    It is good to hear that you put family front and center. That matters a great deal. I have only one DS and he is growing so fast (literally) that I need to take time and enjoy him while I can. Thanks for the reminder.

    I got your wonderful book at RWA, so no need to put me in that drawing!


  16. Mia, what great tips and mindsets. Thank you for that. I haven't been following my own advice lately. It seems like ever since I got back from ACFW, I'm having trouble finding time to write. So, I'm going back to what I've done in the past—getting to bed earlier and getting up earlier so I can write at o'dark hundred.

    I guess my tip is make it a priority and then follow through. Make it an appointment on the calendar if you have to. I sure appreciated your thoughts today. :)

  17. Great advice, Mia. I especially like your reflections on editing. I'm beginning to understand that being a professional author isn't just about creativity. Don't you wonder what J.K. Rowling's edit requests were like?!

    Don't enter me in the draw because I'm already a proud owner of Rocky Coast Romance. Awesome read!

  18. Mia, always glad to see you in Seekerville - as a villager and a poster!

    All your tidbits and discoveries are so true. Once the editor has your book, it's no longer yours. You've got to realize and accept this point right off the bat!

    And I love that you recognize kids are only young for a short time. I once had a writing friend who got frustrated with my schedule with the kids as opposed to time with her and writing. She flat out said I needed to focus on my writing because this is MY time, too. Wow. Really? Not that I ever gave any credence to what she said, other than realizing even more how important family is to me.

    I've learned to start each writing opportunity I have with prayer, otherwise it's a wasted effort.

    Thanks for the great post and I LOVE your cover!!!

  19. Mia, I like your book cover. I could almost be called a 'cover collector'. I'm glad you shared what you've learned through the course of publication.

    Any subject we decide to become proficient in requires instruction from those who have already attained the level of expertise we seek.

    Why ask for help and then not follow the instruction given?

  20. Mia, I am struck by your second point. Ignore the noise. Another way to put that is. Protect the work.
    Write the book.
    Write the best book you know how to write.
    Give them the best book in the world.
    Whatever promotion and marketing, blogging and facebooking you do, it is worthless if you don't have a book you are excited about and proud of.

  21. And the editors are PROFESSIONALS. What they wants it to be taken with the utmost seriousness.
    They are in the business of selling books and they want to sell yours.
    So give them all the respect in the world.

  22. Hi Steve, it sounds like you worked so hard. Don't think of all that hard work as wasted.
    Have you taken all that hard work and then gone BACK to your creative voice and gone BACK to work?

  23. Well good morning,
    Thank you, MIA, for reminding us that the agents and editors are professionals and know what they're doing. We need to trust them. From what I've heard, there's very little worth "going to the wall" over Maybe if they try to take Jesus out, but that's not an issue in most of the publishers we aim for. I want to be the best I can be. Critique groups and critique partners have helped me get ready for my "when, not if."
    Nice to have another man join us, Stephen!
    God first, family second. Writing in the top five. Time management is the only way most of us are going to be able to do it. My children are 32 and 34, but they still need me -- they're my best friends -- and of course I want to spend time with my husband. It's a balancing act (balance was my word this year) but it can be done. I watch very little TV, and usually when I'm doing something else like clipping coupons. Exercise is not an option, I'm a diabetic. Sometimes I have to compartmentalize, but the ultimate goal of everything I do is to bring honor to God.
    I am on a roll this week. A high, a mountaintop experience, but scared of falling. I have had THREE requests for proposals this week -- one for a basic proposal following a single-page query, one for first 50 pages following a query, synopsis and chapter package, and one from LIH for a proposal. This after a long dry spell. I am working SANDRA'S 28 days of devotionals for writers and was stopped short by this morning's, What are you afraid of?
    Well, I'm afraid of screwing this up.
    I'm having a hard time navigating the LIH submission site. Can anyone tell me WHAT they want to see in a proposal? So I can have it ready before I go on the site again? If anybody would know it would be Seekers and Villagers.
    Kathy Bailey
    Still on "If" in New Hampshire but moving very gingerly toward "When."

  24. Thanks so much for all the compliments on the cover of Rocky Coast Romance! I can't take any credit for that, because the art department at Love Inspired took some vague ideas from my file and made magic with them. They've been very good to me on all my books, and I owe them a shout-out :)

    In the editing area, I forgot to mention the dedicated copy editors and proofreaders who work on my books. I catch many glitches during my polishing phase, but they frequently highlight things I missed. Without them, readers would find those mistakes--and probably email me about them!

    JACKIE: I appreciate you adding my books to your TBR list. Hope you enjoy them!

    ROSE: Finding an editor I trusted (and who trusted me) was a total game-changer for me. Melissa Endlich and I work as a team to make sure people get solid books with a hopeful message. For both of us, it's all about the readers :)

    SANDRA: So glad to be back! This is a special place for all of us, and I'm honored to be part of your 6th birthday celebration.

    PIPER: I completely agree with your perspective on your son. The cool thing is, that philosophy comes through in your writing, which makes it even more heartfelt than if you didn't share that emotion with your readers. Good luck in the SYTYCW contest!

    JEANNE: Great suggestion on making writing a commitment to yourself. Best of luck with your WIP!

    AUDRA: Fabulous advice, and not just for writing! Things that start out with a prayer generally go better, don't they?

    MARY: I hear that. I'm always baffled when editors talk about generating revision letters for submissions and then never hearing from that writer again. I think if someone gives you a map to where you want to be, you should put your ego aside and follow it :)

  25. KAV: Not only did you read it, you helped me out with an awesome review! Thanks so much :)

    MARY C: Totally. Well put!

    KAYBEE: AWESOME NEWS!!! I even have a suggestion for you. It might sound odd, but join Twitter. Emily Rodmell is very active there, and if you read back a little bit, you'll see her hints for submitting to LIH, along with a link to the tip sheet she gave out at ACFW. Good luck!

  26. Priorities...if we can get through life with no major regrets we are doing good! Especially where our children are concerned.

    Mia, thanks for putting editing in perspective!

  27. You know, I have been blessed to work with Melissa Endlich and several of the Love Inspired staff, and they've done nothing but make my work better.

    Their work has taught me to be self-critical, to excise the fluff and flutter and to concentrate on the meat of the story and the timing and pacing. Because I'm a TALKER(surprise! surprise!!!) I tend to do that in stories, so learning to be more concise is huge. I practice that daily.

    Not here. That would spoil the fun!!! (laughing!!!)

    The other thing about editors is that they Know Their Line Best.

    Second guessing someone who is well paid to produce an award-winning line of books is like shooting yourself in the foot. Why do authors do that????

    The freedom to publish independently doesn't mean we should publish indiscriminately. Thank heavens for a great agent who wasn't afraid to turn me loose for those two books while working on a new contract for Love Inspired and a Harlequin continuity.

    How amazingly wonderful is that???

  28. Hi Mia and welcome to the party. I am in awe..YOU HAVE A LIFE, you stinker you!!

  29. Sheesh, Virginia. I remember those zombie years. Lifting you up with prayer.

  30. Mia - I am so excited to read your Rocky Coast Romances. That cover just makes me want to jump right into it -- now! Beautiful! Which brings me to the statement you made about priorities. How did you talk yourself into making "me" second place? My "me" always comes in dead last. It's too easy to put me at the bottom. No one argues with that. Not even me. I'll try to learn from your experience.
    Oh - and work before writing? Yeah I suppose that's a necessary evil but it sure is hard to practice some times.
    Great post.

  31. Keeping your emotions on an even keel helps you not just professionally but personally as well.

    Well said, Mia!

  32. DONNA: I'm with you--a life with no major regrets is my ultimate goal.

    RUTHY: I know how much you like to hear this, so: YOU'RE RIGHT!

    TINA R: Yeah, I'm pretty lucky. I thank God for that every day :)

    CINDY R: I didn't really talk myself into being second--it was self-preservation. To nutshell it for you, at one point I was so far down I had to crawl UP to get out of bed in the morning. The first step was to admit that, the second was to learn how to say "no" when someone asked me for something. Some people manage lots of balls with such ease, I thought I should be able to do the same. WRONG! I'm terrible at juggling, and when I quit comparing myself to those super-women (who I adore, by the way), I recognized my own limits and learned to take on only those things that were truly important to me. Everything else--gone. It wasn't easy, but I made it happen, step by step, and I'm never going back there again. This got a little rambly, but I hope it helps you!

    PAM: I'm so glad that made sense to someone besides me! Thanks for the encouragement :)

  33. MARY, I agree with you about the editors being professionals. We should WANT their feedback. Otherwise, we're better off staying home and writing poems about our cats.

  34. MIA!!!! So fun getting to know you better at RWA last summer! And, wow, can this girl get her groove on at the Harlequin party!!!

    Great advice all around. Ignoring the noise is hard, but it's a necessity. Like Mary said, protect the work.

    And life first? If we aren't living life, what will we have to write about? I'm with you about "family first." That's why I never work in the evenings and rarely on weekends. Those times are reserved for hubby (and kids & grandkids when they're around). Even if we don't do anything but watch a favorite TV show, we're doing it together.

    Congratulations on sailing off the island, Mia!!!

  35. Mia, I needed to hear the 'ignore the noise'. Not that I have much, if any, at this point but as my release date gets closer and closer I'm getting more and more anxious about what others will say and I know I shouldn't.

    One thing I've learned is that even after you've sold, you still receive rejections from agents and editors alike and you still receive revision letters. ;)

  36. Poems about our cats that were inspired directly from God and that we have no intention of changing. I have been in a lot of crit groups...

  37. Great points, Mia! I love the cover of your book.

    There's so much to juggle but family comes first.

  38. Hi Mia and Mary:

    The problem with ‘ignoring the noise’ is that too often the noise is beautiful music and sometimes it is even a siren call. While you can ignore some noise, some noise will not ignore you.

    BTW: While you may not take credit for your great cover, you do get tons of credit for setting your story in such a beautiful location. As a marketing person I wish more authors would do that. I just know the art department loved seeing your cover assignment come in. I bet some of the artists even fought to get your assignment. I’ve worked in art departments and believe me this happens.

    If your reader would love to be in the picture on the cover, you have that person half sold already.


  39. Good morning Mia.

    I'm not published yet, but I can relate to your points in my writing career.

    Steve, I've struggled w/attempting to change the rough draft into a first semi-smooth work of art. The second way is slower and more frustrating.

    Cindy, fellow procrastinator! Oh boy, do I have the same problem. I have lots of good plans and intentions, but it's easier to talk about the book than it is to write it.

  40. Great lessons learned, Mia! :-) Thanks for sharing those. God is ruling in our hearts when we remember that writing is not our TOP priority! :-)

  41. Great tips from the trenches, Mia.

    I felt for your when I read that you received ten pages of revision notes followed by another four before you got your first contract offer. That had to hurt. But you did the work, and you sold.

    I'm with you. Editors rock. They have the experience, expertise, and objectivity to take a story from good to great. They're an essential part of the process and are worth their weight in chocolate.

  42. Off Topic but Funny!


    The mission of The Emily is to professionally support writers and guide them toward a path to publication.

    Emily Benefits:
    • No synopsis!”

    They list more benefits but the number one benefit is ‘not having a synopsis’. I’m sure that really helps writers on their path to publication. Something is really wrong here!!! I think pantsers have way too much influence. :)


  43. Hi Mia,
    Thanks for sharing your journey. It's nice to know that you had a second and third chance with your editor before she bought. I thought the door was permanently shut after one try. But, I know some (Hi Tina) just open the door and walk through.

    Ruthy, loved the comment about excising the fluff. My husband writes letters in a terse tone, which is fine in business, but the family Christmas letter? Not so much. So he writes his piece, the sends it to me to 'fluff.' I try to be conscious of fluff in my writing though. I guess I just like the word, lol.

  44. Your third point is confusing through Mia. Yes I guess I raised my children first so that doesnt' apply to me. All of you show-offs who DIDN'T take ten years to get published and who DIDN'T wait to start until the kiddoes went to school, well it's different for you, which is why Melissa Jagears is typing with one hand, and stuff like that.
    But for me, life?
    Life First?


    TYPE FIRST!!!!

    Life is for when I've got spare time.


    (this may be used against me in court at some point)

  45. Great words of wisdom, Mia--thanks for sharing today. And I will "Amen" what you said about your children--trust me, they'll be grown and out of the house before you know it, and you'll miss those super-busy days *sigh*. So I'm very glad you are taking time to enjoy them at this stage of their lives. *smile* I have no regrets of all the time I spent with my kiddos!
    CONGRATS on your books (I love that cover--especially since it has a lighthouse). Please toss me in the drawing!
    A while back I read your book A PLACE FOR FAMILY and really, really enjoyed it!
    Blessings from Georgia,
    Patti Jo :)

  46. I know when I'm judging a writer's contest sometimes I get an entry in my hands and I just think BAM, this girl (or boy) can write.

    THIS has the X Factor.

    So MIA when you get that ten page revision letter it's because some editor sees your work and sees TALENT. Then say THIS girl can write. And then they read it and see a story that needs work. They see plot holes they see character development that doesn't work (I'm not saying that about you, but about books that get bit revision notes) but beneath all that, what an editor is thinking is, "This is worth the work because I've got my hands on talent here. This girl can write."

  47. Hi Mia!

    I love your three things, especially putting the family first. I put my family first for years - letting my writing dream simmer gently on the back of the stove - until my two youngest were nearly done with high school. Then I changed my "homeschool mom" hat for my "author" hat, and it's been wonderful.

    Except that no one cleans the bathroom anymore.

    I think I need to put my house on my list of priorities!

    And your point about editors is perfect. I always think of my story as completely mine - a work of art - until I hit "send". Then it's a product. I'm always amazed at how my editor can take my perfect story and make it shine.

    I'm convinced they're magicians or something :)

  48. MYRA: It was great seeing you at RWA, too! By Friday night's party, I felt MUCH more at ease with everyone, so I had a blast with all of you :)

    CHRISTINA: Knowing what others are saying can actually be helpful, especially when you're a newer author like me. I've improved my promotional efforts through comments, both negative and positive. The important thing is to remember that they're talking about your BOOK, not you personally. That way, you can celebrate a stellar review and a negative won't sting as much. That's the theory, anyway ;)

    JAMIE: Thanks so much for coming in to join us today. Good luck in the drawing!

    CONNIE Q: Someday, when an idea really grabs you, you won't be able to put it off. Here's hoping that happens for you soon!

    MELANIE: Amen to that! He gave us this talent to make the world a little better, not to drive us nuts :)

    KELI: Actually, that 10-page letter didn't bother me in the least. R-i-i-g-h-t. Once I got over the shock of absorbing so many suggestions, I noticed that many of them were similar to one another. Once I grouped them together, it wasn't quite so bad, and I just waded in. This was my big chance to prove what I could do, and I was determined to make the most of it :)

    LYNDEE: I'm sure some stories are a one-and-done kind of thing. Fortunately, mine wasn't one of them, and I'll always be grateful to Melissa and Love Inspired for taking a chance on me.

    MARY CONNEALY: Actually, my kids were 7 and 2 when I started writing seriously, at night after they went to bed. Now they're 19 and 14, and some of their friends read my books. Cool, huh?

    CATMOM: I'm so glad you enjoyed Place for Family. The Sawyers put me on the map at Love Inspired, and they'll always have a special place in my heart. Good luck in the drawing!

    JAN: You should enter the drawing for the housekeeper $$. Then you can ignore your chores and have fun writing instead :)

  49. You know, I need to put that on my wall. IGNORE THE NOISE..which is so valuable if you are going to focus!!!!

  50. Well, I didn't sell to LI until the nest emptied, but I did share my Woman's World sales money with the family if they gave me writing time.

    A very good arrangement.

  51. Hey, MIA, I'd say those top three are pretty darn important, girlfriend!! You sure nailed it to the wall, especially #1 -- Life first!!

    Although we ALL know that in our heads, it's our hearts that suffer a learning curve, I've realized, and it's taken me a LOT longer to get there than you, you little whippersnapper!! But with my aunt who was like a mother dying last year and my precious MIL dying this year and both kids moving out of state, I FINALLY realize where "life" really is!! So hubby and I are going to do more biking, traveling, and focusing on kids and each other while the writing takes a back seat. As it should be!!

    And as far as point #3, once again you leave me in the dust because I didn't learn that lesson till book 3. I was one of those freaky circumstances where my editor didn't make me change almost anything on book 1, and just a tiny bit more on book 2. So I was lulled into thinking I was doing everything pretty right. Until book 3 and then, BAM!! I didn't know that much red ink even existed!! Same thing with book 4 and 6. Squeaked through with my editor on book 5, but only because my agent nailed me first. :|

    Anyway, EXCELLENT POINTS, ALL, Mia, and let me just say you are a FAST learner!! ;)


  52. Ignore the noise ... Mia, those are more helpful words than you would probably believe. Thank you!

    Nancy C

  53. hi Mia
    thanks for the post and the great advice to keep in mind. all three things are big time great reminders. right now i think i'm keeping the family thing in correct priority, because i'm not getting much writing time - but getting good mommy/child time. i only have the one and he came along when i'd given up the dream of being a mommy.

    that being said. i do fit in a bit of writing when i can and hang out in Seekerville to soak in the wit and wisdom of those who post here.


  54. Oh I am so very blessed that LIFE FIRST sometimes means writing first! It's been a long time coming but I so appreciate the free time I have to write when I even try to imagine how you young mommies (espesh the ones that also work full time out of the house) do it!

  55. TINA R: Your track record with Woman's World amazes me! It's not easy to pack so much into such a short piece, but you do it very well :)

    JULIE: Anyone who calls me a whippersnapper is okay in my book! It's interesting how we all learn those humility lessons at some point, whether we think we need them or not ;)

    CHILI N: You're very welcome. Those 3 words have made all the difference to me, so I'm glad they help you, too :)

    DEB H: Good for you! Absolutely nothing on this earth is more important than being a mommy. Unless it's being a grand-mommy ;)

  56. Mia, welcome!! It was so great to see you at RWA. I had a great time visiting with you.

    I love the post! Definitely need to block out the noise. I'm bad about getting distracted.

    And yes, I realized last year that I need to be more present with my family. My oldest is grown, my second just went off to college, and my youngest is the only one left at home. They grow up way too fast! I don't want to miss a minute.

  57. DEBRA: I know what you mean. Now that the kids are older, it's MUCH easier to find writing time!

    MISSY: I had the best time with you and all the Seekers in Atlanta! Everyone was so great, and I have wonderful memories of the conference. Distractions are a problem for me, too, which is why I hitched on that mantra. Glad you like it :)

  58. Mia, such great advice today!

    Love your mention of the original hubby. LOL!!!!!

    Also love that you found time for YOU! Kids first, of course. And sweet hubby! But women AND writers need to take care of their own needs too.

    Thanks for the reminder about ignoring the noise!

  59. I like the cover of the book. Don't forget that pets are part of the family too. Please enter me in the drawing.

  60. I like the cover of the book. Don't forget that pets are part of the family too. Please enter me in the drawing.

  61. Mia, thanks for the words of wisdom. I don't have kiddos and it is still hard to balance life with writing. Also, loved your advice about once you sell it is no longer your baby.

  62. Great advice, Mia. I especially like 'ignore the noise'. There are just so many distractions to overwhelm us as writers.It's taking me some time to figure out how much 'connecting' works and how much is just too much. Since I already have a copy (and loved it)of Rocky Coast Romance, no need to enter me in the drawing. Nice to 'meet' you here!

  63. Thank you for this post, Mia! I'll take all the "heads up" advice I can get.

    Your cover is BEAUTIFUL!! Put me in mind of the setting in the Safe Haven movie.

  64. DEBBY: Another great lady I got to spend some time with this year! Usually, it's me soaking up your words of wisdom, so your praise means a lot to me :)

    MICKY: I'm with you on how special pets are! That's why you'll find LOTS of animals in my books ;)

    TERRI: Everyone's situation is different, but the need to keep things in perspective is universal. Good luck!

    CHRISTINA: I'm so glad you enjoyed Rocky Coast! I had a blast writing it, so it's nice to hear people liked reading it :)

    NATALIE: That beautiful coastal setting really appealed to me, along with the rugged symbolism of the lighthouse. I'm glad you like it, too!

  65. Hi Mia,

    Great post! I can't believe what you went through for your first book! I'd be thinking the same thing -- What the heck did she see in this, since she's making me rewrite the whole thing? :)

    I really enjoyed your Rocky Coast story and I love the picture on the cover, especially the lighthouse! No need to enter me in the draw.

    Thanks for the inspiration!


  66. Oh, oh, oh!!! Facebook news said that I have a spider problem!!!!

    Well, I may have said that, but did I see an announcement from Mia Ross about a three book series????

    MIA!!!! Tell us about that!

  67. Ruthy! Thank you for the words of encouragement. I'm going to buy some bright Post-it notes as soon as I can and start sticking them everywhere...or at least everywhere the puppy can't reach. He's into just about everything. He's even a little spider chaser/killer...and I'm not talking little spiders here I'm talking Wolf Spiders that look like a tarantula's baby brother. UGLYYYYY! and I am petrified of spiders.

    Smiles & Blessings to all. Have to close my eyes for awhile...just had my eyes dilated and the world is way too bright for me right now.

    Cindy W.

  68. SUSAN: It's nice to know that sharing my experience helps encourage other writers. And THANK YOU for your kind words about Rocky Coast. Very sweet :)

    Since Ruthy brought it up, I just received an offer from Love Inspired for a 3-book series set in the Blue Ridge Mountain region of Virginia. Centered on three brothers in the large, loving Barrett family, the books focus on second chances, difficult choices, and finding redemption. I love them already, and I'm hoping readers will, too :)

  69. PIPER: Thanks so much! It's fun to share my good news with all of you :)

    And on that note, I'm going to say good night. It's 9 o'clock in my neck of the woods, and the Rays are up 1-0 on the Indians. If you come by later on, be sure to leave a comment so you can be entered in the drawing for a free autographed copy of Rocky Coast Romance.

    Good night!

  70. I have heard that first comment a number of times before. Once they buy the book, it's not yours anymore. Get used to it. It sounds odd to think of, but it's still a business.

  71. Congrats, Mia! That sounds right up my alley! :)

  72. Congratulations. I'm so glad you build books for me to read!

  73. I am just finishing my manuscript but don't have time to write the last three chapters because of college. One thing I have realized is that every time you go through a manuscript you will find things to change. So will your editor. We authors love our words like our kids but sometimes they have to go.
    My Grandma has written over 40 books ( non-fiction) has had some stories of terrible editors. There was the editor who typed her book on his laptop and misspelled the title on the spine. Hopefully I can avoid such problems:)

  74. Elizabeth, oh my stars, that Granda story is a hoot! Clearly you come by your writing talent honestly! Yay for Grandma and hooray that the talent passed on to you!!!

    I don't think I've ever read a book without some small human error. Through all the formatting, typesets, etc. it's bound to happen. But that's no biggie. Unless it's misspelled on the spine, LOL! Oy, that's a rough one!

    I love your attitude. Hang in there and keep working. It's tough during class time, but if you write a couple of pages a day, you'll be done by Christmas break.


  75. I learned a while back now that work was taking over, so I did a re-shuffle with my life. Definitely family, then me now.

    I would love to read ROCKY COAST ROMANCE thank you.

  76. I've learned over the years, you just have to wait on God. Things will happen in God's time; not yours. I want it now; He sees the future and knows when the time is right. Thanks for the chance to win!
    tscmshupe [at] pemtel [dot] net

  77. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    I'm not published and worked hard this summer to enjoy my son being home from college. So I did work on my priorities.

    My husband usually goes to a lot of church meetings in the evenings, so I was kind of in a, dinner with hubby, write. So I didn't feel like I was neglecting him when he ran off to t meeting.

    Thanks for this valuable reminder.

  78. Sorry I'm commenting so late Mia, but just wanted to say that it was nice to see you blogging here. Your book is next on my TBR pile! And I just wanted to wish you continued success :)

  79. You have to read to the bottom of this post to get to my tips - the first part is explanation. I write a weekly column for a small newspaper. It doesn't pay much; but, I am still getting paid for writing. So, I have kept at it for more than 15 years because it validates me as a writer. I got the job because I had the nerve to walk into the newspaper office and leave some of my writing samples for the editor. Surprise! He hired me as a freelancer.
    That experience taught me two things (1.) Get your nerve up and submit (or ask). The worst that can happen is they will reject your writing. Maybe, they will like it and pay you for it. You won't know if you don't try.
    (2.) Finish the project!!! Whether it's a book or an article, you can't do anything with it if it isn't finished. I can rewrite forever; but, there is a deadline on my column - I spellcheck, edit for clarity and accuracy, and send it off.
    Seekerville helped me do that with a book I'd worked on for five years (I know - way too long). Now, it is in the hands of a prospective publisher. If he says "no," I'll send it somewhere else.
    I guess I have three tips: (3.) Don't give up. Just because you don't win that contest or get a "yes" from a publisher or agent, doesn't mean you won't be successful somewhere down the road. Revise (if you need to) and send it out again,
    I would love a copy of Rocky Coast Romance if I should be lucky enough to win it. Please put my name in the hat. Leona

  80. Illusive balance...

    Seems you've done a terrific job of it, Mia. Love your bio!

    Wishing you much future success with your amazing (so I read/hear) editor! Congratulations!

    And thanks for being here to help celebrate all things Seekerville. Such an excellent community... We are blessed.

  81. It must be so hard to work with editors!! I guess that is part of the process!! I just wish we could write a book without the cuts and edits and leave it intact exactly the way we meant it to be!

  82. Dear Mia,
    You are so right about putting your family first.
    The time they are at home is very short but the time they are in your heart is forever.
    Janet E.

  83. I have learned to not sweat the small stuff, to trust god with everything, not to worry so much about what others think, don't put too much on yourself and wear yourself out and enjoy the life you're given.

    Thank you for the great post and giveaway!

    Wanda Barefoot

  84. Great stuff, Mia... Thanks for sharing!

  85. Love what you had to say! I totally agree with all of those! The one about shutting out the noise is great! I don't write, but I have this thing where I'm very careful about what I post on websites sometimes, mostly my blog and facebook. I think I am a little too careful most of the time because I'm nervous that someone won't like, no one will comment/like it, or I will have to explain myself. I have to stop listening to my inner fear, and get past that fact that not everybody will agree with me 100%. Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one who thinks like that!

  86. My best tip is: Writing First. If I can get my words first thing in the morning (which means no checking email and most definitely no Facebook), at least I've accomplished something that day of lasting value. It's SO EASY to get distracted by good things, necessary things (doesn't FB qualify?), and not do the core work that qualifies me as an author.

  87. Thank you for the hints and tips. I am saving them in a binder for future use...I am so liking the love inspired books. I love your cover !
    Linda Finn
    Faithful Acres Books