Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Keys to Publishing Success -- Pursuit of Happiness

Hi, folks, I'm finishing up my series on the keys to publishing success. This  week I'm going to chat about the pursuit of happiness. It's one thing that many writers overlook. Happiness is important, but we forget to seek it.

We all have challenges, internal and external . Many of us are broken and limping forward anyway. Often times, circumstances are far from fair. We may be trapped by our own failings or the failings of others. Our mental and/or physical health may be failing. How are we supposed to be happy?

Good news. You can cultivate happiness.  Here is a list of happiness habits that may help lead you to happy ground. Put them into practice to find success.

Seek your truest writing self in your stories. Really know what you are about. I'm heartfelt, humorous, and intriguing. Find your own little thematic triptych. Know thyself.

Choose to think about the best possible outcome for your work. Not in a fairytale way, mind you. If you haven't written a book, you can't sell one. But, if you've done your research and sent out the submission or query, why not believe that it is going to work?

Kill the monster. It's time to decide that jealousy is worthless. Let it go. Every time you say you are not good enough because someone else is better than you --  you are jealous. Stop it.

Make the target bigger. If your goal is to be on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Fine. I like your ambition. But if that is your only goal, boo. I want you to add 20 things to your list. Here is the rule. If you don't have a 70 % chance of achieving your goals, you need to keep thinking.

Review your goals every day. Post them on the fridge. Put them on the inside of your car visor. Make them your screen saver on your computer. Remember what you want and work toward it.

Stop saying you'll never be published. You are not lame. You are not the worst writer ever. You are not a failure. Remove yourself from the presence of those who say you are just dreaming, this will never happen, and this is a waste of time. Cut out the noise.

Share your genius. Do what you can to help others in your community find their way. Encourage the community around you. Did you know success breeds success? 

Okay, that is some stuff to think about. If you have some more personal habits that bring happiness to your writing life, share them here! Let's get what we need. Here is a link to a helpful clip about happiness: The Secret to Better Work, Shawn Achor, TedX.

Thanks for dropping by. I will be digging into writer myths next month. Seize the day.

Here is the pic -- "Comet PanStarrs above the Sun."

Here is the quote for your pocket:
Trust your heart if the seas catch fire, live by love though the stars walk backward. E.E. Cummings

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Keys to Publishing Success -- Elasticity

Welcome to Seize the day! I'm continuing my series --- the Keys to Publishing Success. This week I'm touching on the important key of elasticity.

Elasticity is a physical property of elements to return to their original shape after they are deformed. Writers must have this property to find brilliant success.

You might be smooshed out of shape sometimes, and you will have to bounce back. I mean editors might send you excited emails, and then write back that the accountants said your book isn't viable. Said book may simply sit in your closet for umpteen years after that. Sigh. More stuff can happen. Your new book, the one you worked on for five years, may get one partial request from an agent, and the agent doesn't ever get back to you. You might be strung along by an editor or an agent, rewriting, pouring your soul into your efforts, just to face another no. You might have to shake this all off and start that next book. Elasticity, honey.

There is more to this than you think. Your vision of what being published may be smooshed into the something wholly foreign to you, and you must remold into another vision. Here's the deal. The way books are published may drastically transform in your lifetime. You may get no advance, no agent and see you book as an electronic form only, after dreaming for decades about a physical book and an advance that might buy a beater. Communities may spring up, "incubators" for new authors provided by publishers. These are places to share your work with the world with no pay to you, like American Idol for writers -- many hopefuls, few winners. Self-publishing may transform around you and become a way many authors find their way to publishing success. The bad news, you are as poor as a church mouse. You must work evenings and weekends on top of your day job to gather cash for your endeavor. Elasticity, child.

You might find that you have to reshape what your are writing to meet the needs of the marketplace. You may love writing literary fiction but have to give it up to write a little contemporary middle grade novel. Maybe you will have to take your love of folktales into space. Perhaps your wonderful Biblical story will have to have a modern day retelling. And maybe it's all over for your vampires , and you have to write about a club of sociopaths in high school who engineer the other students to suit their life-sucking needs. Your creative self must be ready to transform . Elasticity, folks.
I hope that figure out a way to be elastic this week and turn the key of publishing! See you next week with one more key!
I'm eschewing doodles this month for pics. Here is this week's pic: "Pretty."

 Here is a quote for your pocket:

The willow which bends to the tempest, often escapes better than the oak which resists it; and so in great calamities, it sometimes happens that light and frivolous spirits recover their elasticity and presence of mind sooner than those of a loftier character.  Albert Schweitzer.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Keys to Publishing Success -- Fellowship

Hi, folks. I'm continuing my series on publishing success. This post is all about fellowship. You may have just guessed I like The Fellowship of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. Gold star to you! To be successful at writing, you need a fellowship. This is better than a team. I think the component that is a game changer here is that when a fellowship forms, inception happens. I'm talking about the science fiction kind of inception in which shared dreams lead to amazing places.

Shared dreaming to me is the best parts of the creative journey. It's exciting to be a first reader on a project that is sizzling with wonder. It is thrilling when someone in your sphere makes waves in the publishing world. The bottom line, when writers band together magic happens. As the shared dream grows, more happy folks join the band -- agents, editors, publicists and finally the major expansion -- readers. Joining a fellowship is a sure key to getting published. Working alone is not a good way to readersBand together with a fellowship of writers to influence the world in powerful ways.

How do you join a fellowship? The first thing you have to do is read a lot, so you know what you like and what has potential. Next, you have to be willing to be generous with your time and knowledge. Try to help everyone in your sphere succeed. Don't despair if there is nowhere to join. You must step up. If no one will lead a fellowship, be willing to do it yourself, even if you were once voted most likely not to lead. Avoid anyone who wants to bring you down and disses your creativity. Always huddle with the encouragers. Look for people who love work, not folks who like wine, cheese, gossip and no work.

I hope you are you are sharing your dream. I hope you are sharing the dream of others. If you are, success is barreling your way. Yay! I will be back next week with another publishing success key.

This week I'm sharing doodle photographs: "Texas Highway."

Here is a quote for your pocket.

The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are. C.S. Lewis

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Keys to Publishing Success -- Reinvention

Hi folks, I'm continuing my series about the keys of publishing success.  This week I'm going to talk about reinvention. I've observed this several times from unpublished to well-known writers -- an interesting phenomena. I call it it reinvention.You might need to reinvent yourself to find publishing success. What does this mean?

Perhaps you have longed to write the great American novel, but no one is interested in your work. A little middle grade story is bubbling on the back burner, and YAY!, you write it and you become an international success story. You've written twenty romance novels and can pay for coffee but then someone is murdered in your story -- you run with it, and YAY!, your award-winning crime thriller is soon optioned. You might be writing picture books but then you get an idea for a World-War II drama, the book takes off, and YAY!, NYT Bestsellers List and your name become best friends.

The pressure of failure is what pushes you toward success. Don't let repeated failures dishearten and overwhelm you, instead consider reinvention. If things haven't been working out, perhaps it is time to jump ship to another genre. Reinvent.

Reinvention works this way too. Some writers have a butterfly thing going on. They are crawling around like a caterpillar, writing any copy they can get paid for, but miraculous changes are happening within them.  They take their lunch breaks, wake up early in the morning and stay up late at night to plunk out their stories. They write all day and then go home, and write the stuff of their souls. The day comes when they self publish and find themselves paying off the mortgage of their home in a matter of weeks. Reinvention is afoot.

The pressure of missing the boat keeps these folks focused.  Don't be afraid you'll never get there, your efforts are not in vain. Let yourself dream and hope. This is the cauldron of reinvention. You're not languishing, writing that catalogue copy; you're adding nutrients to your coming transformation.

One more group has spent years at a desk job and haven't written much at all, but they have read, and read, and read. One day the life changes. They lose jobs. The spouse leaves.  Tragedy broadsides. It's time to reinvent, and the results are amazing.

Wrapping up, try something new, keep slogging forward, or finally write that book. Reinvent.

This week is another photo: "Texas Big Sky".

A quote for your pocket: 

It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. C. S. Lewis 

Saturday, August 03, 2013

The Keys to Publishing Success -- Innovation

Hi, folks, this month I'm going to talk about the keys of publishing success. I hope this series of practical advice helps you. First, you have to understand something important. Writing and publishing are not the same thing. You can be a very successful writer without being published. Think John Kennedy Toole or Emily Dickinson -- tragic but informative. This series is about finding publishing success, writing success is whole other topic.

One key that opens publishing doors -- innovation. It will propel your work to readers. There is no question. Innovation will open the doors that have previously been closed to you. To leverage innovation, you must learn to recognize opportunity and seize it. Writing is professional skill and you need 10,000 hours of informative practice to become a master. Once you can write, it is time to connect your stories with readers. This is the moment to innovate. Don't get me wrong, traditional still works. If you are connected to the traditional publishing world -- related to folks in publishing, have an MFA, lots of publishing contacts for whatever reason, or are working in publishing, use that. If not, the pathway to innovation will open up  new worlds of opportunity.

What is innovation? It is about going in a new direction that no one has thought of yet. Here are three suggested pathways: writing innovation, market delivery innovation, and  connection innovation. This is a broad topic but hopefully these quick snapshots will get your started.

Writing Innovation:  You can write. You are knowledgeable. Turn a genre on its ear. Grab hold of tired vampires and see them in a light as never before.  Dig into an old story like Frankenstein and unearth a new modern day Prometheus. Merge together two different genres in a way that has never been done before. Jack Kerouac, Phillip K. Dick, J.K Rowling ... these are people who dazzle to me. Be a game changer.This kind of innovation takes writing chops and throwing out the rule books. Are you up for this?

Market Delivery Innovation: The way people are reading books has irrevocably changed. Educate yourself about these changes. Jump on wave. Find the sharpest newest forms of self-publication. Check out the Innovations in Reading Prize winners from the National Book Foundation. Investigate Amazon, Smashwords, self-publishing and the future of self publishing. Many traditional publishers have ebook imprints now that don't require agents for submission. This is a market delivery revolution. Educate yourself and innovate to publish.

Connection Innovation:  This is about building a connection with readers in an innovative way that leads to publication. Your connection will be all about what is of core importance to you. I like Michael Hyatt as guru on the subject of platform. He can help you reach out to readers.  I also think you should check new ways readers are connecting online -- weBook, DeviantArt, ABCtales, Authonomy, Wattpad... there are a ton of different ways out there and the freshest most innovative ones aren't on this list. They are being invented right now. Take connection risks and innovate.

I hope that something here gets your work to readers. I hope that doors swing open for you! Good luck. I will be back next week with more on

This month I'm posting photos instead of doodle: A way up. 

Here is a quote for your pocket.

Doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting different results, is the definition of crazy.— Unknown