RU Founder Adrienne Giordano is here and she brought a few friends to share their lessons learned on the road to getting published. Good to see you Adrienne!
Lessons Learned by Adrienne Giordano
Hello, RU Crew. I’m thrilled to be here today chatting about a topic I don’t pay nearly enough attention to. Yep, I’ll admit I’m guilty of not slowing down long enough to appreciate how much I’ve learned when it comes to this whacky world of publishing.
What led me to this realization was a recent conversation I had with my pal (and RU co-founder) Tracey Devlyn. We were discussing her short story, His Secret Desire, first published in 2007 by the Wild Rose Press. In 2007, I was an unpublished writer still craving the excitement that I imagined came with seeing my name on a book cover. I remember sitting in front of my computer downloading Tracey’s story and thinking about how it would feel to know that every ounce of self-doubt and angst that I’d poured into a story resulted in a publishable work. How would it feel to know I’d chased my dream and succeeded?
At the time, I couldn’t grasp it. Not even close.
Now, seven years and thirteen published stories later, I still can’t quite grasp it. There are times though (usually when I’m stuck on a scene and worry I’ve suddenly forgotten how to craft a book) that I go to my own website and stare at the bookshelf page. I take a minute to absorb how much I’ve learned and the amazing friendships I’ve formed since I started this publishing journey.
I thought I’d share some of those lessons learned. For added fun, since Tracey Devlyn, Kelsey Browning and I have traveled this publishing road together, it seemed fitting that they be part of this post.
So, here they are, the lessons we’ve learned on the exhilarating, hellish ride called getting published. J
- Keep Writing. As soon as you finish a manuscript, start the next one. By the time I received “the call” I had three books written and was halfway through the fourth. In my debut year, I had five releases. Keep writing!
- Trusted Friendships are Invaluable. I don’t want to scare anyone, but this business can rip your guts out. The highs are incredible—beyond incredible—but the lows can be devastating unless you have wingmen to cry or vent to. I’m not talking about casual friendships either. I’m talking about bury-the-body friendships. Which means if I have to (hypothetically, of course!) bury a body, I want to know the person I call to help me dig the hole can be trusted. And that’s not just anyone.
- Keep Freaking Writing!
- Stay Open-Minded. Tracey actually had to remind me of this one (that’s a bury-the-body friendship right there). Some of my most successful endeavors happened when I wasn’t expecting them. My best example of this is submitting my romantic mystery manuscript to a Mira editor who also acquires for Harlequin Intrigue. My mystery book was rejected, but the editor invited me to submit something for Harlequin Intrigue. I’d never written a category book (I’m a girl who has trouble bringing a single title in under 100,000 words) and the shorter length scared the daylights out of me. After researching the Harlequin Intrigue line, I couldn’t come up with one reason why I shouldn’t try it. The exposure alone that the Harlequin distribution would give my books would help me expand my readership. I’m now working on my fourth Intrigue and happily plotting my next single title. To sum this up, from a rejection on a romantic mystery, I received a contract on a romantic suspense. Stay open minded!
- Stay Focused. Ignore the white noise. Listening to all the publishing craziness can make a writer insane. It distracts us from what is important—writing.
- Just Do It. Don’t get caught up in what you think you can’t do. Put your head down and do it.
- Be a Nudge. Don’t idle your writerly life away. Time is too precious to wait two weeks for an agent’s email or five months for an editor’s response. Nudge ’em, politely, insistently. If that doesn’t help, move on. Remember: Your time is as important as anyone else’s in this business.
- Build an A-Team. Surround yourself by positive, hard-working, intelligent people. You’ll never regret it.
- Trust yourself. You can listen to lots of people’s opinions on your story, but it’s ultimately your story. When you first begin publishing, you think your editor, your critique partners, everyone else is RIGHT. Sometimes, you’re the one who’s right even when you’re tiptoeing out on a limb.
- You deserve a life too. When you get readers, you want to make them happy, so you want to work your ass off giving them stories as quickly as you can. But you must get out, have a life, do things, see things, etc. so you have something to work with. Your readers will wait for a good story. So fill yourself up with good experiences.
- Stay open to serendipity. Sometimes, the most interesting collaborations come and you don’t know they’re developing at the time. Example –Adrienne, Tracey, and I met Nancy Naigle and Tracy March through Margie Lawson at a conference. Nancy came to LA when I was living there, and we met for dinner. We met up again at an RT conference and joked about writing a book together. Now, I have this whole collaboration going with her. Stay open to the possibilities!
Thank you, Tracey and Kelsey.
As you can see, my pals and I share some of the same lessons learned. We may think of them differently and they may come to us in different ways, but the message is the same. From today on, I’m making a promise to myself to stop every now and again and appreciate all the knowledge I’ve gained. This business is filled with lessons (good and bad), we just have to be open to receiving them.
RU Crew, what are some lessons you’ve learned on your writing journey?
Stop in next week for a week full of all the information you need to know!
USA Today bestselling author Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and mystery. She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her workaholic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaten Terrorist (Terrier). She is a co-founder of Romance University blog and Lady Jane’s Salon-Naperville, a reading series dedicated to romantic fiction. For more information on Adrienne’s books, please visit www.AdrienneGiordano.com. Adrienne can also be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AdrienneGiordanoAuthor, Twitter at http://twitter.com/AdriennGiordano and Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/AdrienneGiordano. For information on Adrienne’s street team, Dangerous Darlings, go to http://www.facebook.com/groups/dangerousdarlings.
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