This blog post is dedicated to Ali, for inviting me back to the Pink Heart Society for a visit and to Viv, for giving me the subject of my post. Thank you both. ;-)
Viv suggested I share a bit of what I’ve learned since being published…I asked her how long she had because I’m constantly learning something new: from research for my books to feedback from readers on Facebook. So here are some of my thoughts and some questions that Viv suggested. I hope you find them interesting/helpful.
· The most important lesson I learned is that I’m capable of more than I give myself credit for. When I started this journey, I thought writing one book a year was my capacity, but thanks to my editor pushing me along, I learned I was capable of more—much more. Of course, I pick up speed with my writing as I go along. I heard someone say that your brain is like a muscle, the more you use it, the more you’re capable of. But take a big break and it gets lazy and it takes a bit to get up to speed again. Before I was published, I was excited about writing one full manuscript a year. When I got published, I wrote three manuscripts a year. Last year, I had seven titles out. And this year, I’m on track to have six titles published.
· How do I deal with deadlines? With lots and lots of black tea. ;-) But other than that it’s pretty much the same routine I had with my office job. I write each deadline in my day planner. And I also have an Excel spreadsheet for tracking the progress of each book. I know that my editors and other people are counting on me to hit my deadlines. It doesn’t matter if it’s a traditionally published book or an indie title, I have obligated myself by setting deadlines with content editors, copy editors and graphic artists. They have put me on their calendar and expect me to give them what they need to do their jobs. If I miss my deadline, it messes up their calendars. Does that mean that real life doesn’t throw up some serious roadblocks now and then? Sure, it does, but those are the exceptions and I let everyone affected know asap.
· Revisions are my friend. I never thought I’d say those words, but then of course, I don’t have any revisions currently awaiting me. ;-) Though I drag my feet to do revisions and wish that everything I write is perfect, alas it is not. So while revisions are not fun, they are necessary. And with the aid of a little chocolate…okay a lot of chocolate, I complete them. In the end, my books are stronger thanks to digging deeper into my characters and their motivations.
· How do I deal with reviews? With lots and lots of chocolate on hand. Lol. Seriously though, in the beginning, I read them all the time. And though the good reviews made me smile, it only took one unhappy review to wipe me out and stall out my muse. That’s definitely not a good thing when you have a lot of deadlines to meet. So now I read them sporadically. I had to accept that no matter how much I want to entertain every reader that’s not realistic. Sad but true. Have I learned things from reviews? Definitely. When I was first published, no one told me how much readers love epilogues. And I was advised by another writer that if one was needed, the editor would tell me. So my first two books came out sans epilogues. Readers were not happy and I felt awful. The next book had an epilogue. In fact, most of my books now have epilogues. And if there’s no epilogue, I’ve done that intentionally and with a lot of thought. I try to make the readers happy where possible.
· How do I deal with the ups and downs of being published? This business is a constant roller coaster ride. One minute there’s a new book cover and the next moment, you find that someone didn’t connect with one of your characters. There’s always something going on and it’s so easy to get distracted. That’s why when I’m on a tight deadline, I have to make my world as small as possible to avoid distractions, which means limiting my time on the internet. It’s definitely not an easy task.
· And lastly, I’m still learning to trust my gut. I have this habit of overthinking plotlines. Sometimes adding unique qualities to a storyline can be good…as long as you are not forcing things and ignoring that little voice in the back of your mind that says “Danger Will Robison. Danger.” Too dated for you? ;-) Anyway, when I try to anticipate what I think my editor will want, I get it wrong. It’s kind of like when I took exams in school and they would say if you’re not sure of the answer to go with your first guess/your instinct, instead of overthinking it. Case in point. The last proposal I sent my editor, I was trying to make it more unique so I switched up a plot point. It made things really difficult for myself to write, but I was determined I could make it work. My editor wrote back and said instead of doing X, Y and Z , why not try A, B and C. She’d suggested what I’d had originally—what my gut was telling me was right for the story. But instead of listening to my little voice, I was worried about impressing my editor. *head desk* Needless to say I was more than happy to incorporate her suggestions.
Jennifer Faye’s new duet, Brides for the Greek Tycoons, is available now ~ THE GREEK’S READY-MADE WIFE (book 1) and THE GREEK’S NINE-MONTH SURPRISE (book 2).
Business is Cristo’s and Niko’s first—and only— love. So when marriage becomes necessary to secure the future of their hotel empire, they vow to approach it like any other deal. Available online (print and digital) at Amazon, Amazon-UK, iTunes & Nook as well as other locations.
Find out what Jennifer is up to by visiting her website.