Modern Heat author Mira Lyn Kelly takes us from first sale through the first year of publication.
I’d heard the mumblings. The remembered groans and sighs of authors who’d gone before. But I didn’t listen. I didn’t want to believe that writing my second book could possibly be harder than writing the first. How could it? I knew what the editors wanted…I’d gone through the step-by-step, hand holding, gentle explanation of why the second half of my first book needed to be rewritten—and I understood! I’d learned!! So book two was going to be cake, right??!!
Okay, even I wasn’t that delusional. Writing a book isn’t cake. No matter how much you love doing it, its hard work. But I had so many advantages now…it had to be at least a bit easier. I mean, my editor liked my voice and the story premise. Talk about two major confidence boosters I didn’t have the first time around. No more second guessing, floundering or insecurities…right?
Sure, it was great knowing the idea appealed to my editor. But an idea is a far cry from the actual execution of the work. And if anything, I was more nervous going into this second project than I’d been with the first. Because this time I had something to lose.
And performance anxiety was just the tip of the iceberg. For me, working on a deadline was a huge challenge. The pressure alone of needing to be creative on a timetable put me into a tailspin. And not just creative, but at least as creative as I’d been with the first attempt. Preferably more. It was intimidating.
What if I couldn’t do it? What if that first book was a fluke? What if I never sold anything again? What if!?!?!?!?
Well, if there’s one thing every aspiring author knows—it’s that you can’t let fear of failure hold you back. So I set up a schedule and wrote every day. Hit word count goals. And followed my handy-dandy synopsis. Only something not-so-funny started happening about half way through the process. My count stopped going up. I didn’t mean to let my anxieties get the better of me—rationally, I knew better—but somehow I’d begun second guessing every line, every action, and every scene to the point where I was deleting more than I wrote.
Panic time. I turned to the experts.
The Modern Heat/Presents group of authors are about the sweetest, most welcoming, and fun bunch of girls you could imagine. When I first made my sale they shared my excitement and welcomed me warmly. I tried to be cool so they wouldn’t think they’d just landed some creepy Kathy Bates/Misery kind of “biggest fan” inductee to the author loop, but these girls ranked amongst my favorite authors and I’d been star struck for sure. When I came to them for advice, they generously shared their experiences and offered tips that worked for them in the past. Reminded me I wasn’t alone. That while the second book can be tough, no matter how many sales are under the belt, everyone still struggles at times. Gets frustrated and doubtful. And has days where the words simply won’t come until they step back and take a breath.
That buoy of support made all the difference. I took much advice. Talked with my tremendously patient and helpful editor about where I was getting hung up. And stopped letting my nerves get in the way of writing. After putting in more insane hours than I want to remember, I worked through the difficulties, got back on track and met my deadline. Whoohoo!!
Now for the part that never gets easier. The waiting to hear back. Well, one thing is different this time around. My extreme OCD “lost email” paranoia is under control at last. If an email got bounced or met some other horrible fate, I can rest easy my editor would simply pick up the phone and call rather than assume I wasn’t interested or write me off as a flake or whatever other anxiety spawned fantasies I used to indulge in. And that’s something…right??
Hey, with four months worth of blood, sweat, and tears, heart and soul, and career hopes and dreams on the line, you take what you can get, lol!
Come back next month for FIRST THINGS FIRST as we follow Mira's journey through the first year after The Call!
and HOT AFFAIR OR A HOSTILE TAKEOVER November 2010 in the UK