Monday, May 19, 2014

How I Found The Write Path - Carrie Butler's Bloghop

Writing pal Carrie Butler is hosting a 
clever bloghop about authors and our reflections on our writing journey.  Participants are charged with writing a letter to our beginner-writer selves, advising the 'green' us and telling us how it will go.  With the author's approval and PK Hrezo's help, Carrie plans to compile the entries into a e-book to encourage and inspire other writers.

Dear Melissa [redacted],


One day, you're going to wake up and decide you want to write a book, just 'to see if you can do it.' (You've always loved a challenge.) You'll write one, all right, but it'll be crap. Well...not total crap, after a few revisions, but close enough. Luckily, a published author friend of the family will kindly-but-boldly tell you the truth and point you in the right direction.

On your three-year quest for improvement, grumbling about the snobbish rules of fiction all the way, you'll meet aspiring author Carrie Butler. She'll suffer through your first WIP and still be loyal enough to stick around. Good thing, because the two of you will become friends and the knowledge and skills you gain from merely being in her presence will fast-track you to publication, without making a total fool of yourself.

You'll learn to accept criticism well and learn to give it well, too—not an easy task on either end. And you'll steadily improve your craft. After hearing countless tales of query woes and small pub nightmares, you’ll shun tradition and go your own way. 

Was there ever any doubt? You’re too much of a realist and a control freak to choose anything else.

You'll also get drop-kicked into the social media scene by your tormentor, instead of waiting too long like you would have done if left to your own devices. You'll be forced to choose an author name fast, and you'll impulsively decide to go with a pen name. That turns out to be a clever marketing move, though, because the extinct surname you swap for your own has no competition. You'll rise to the top of Google (and Amazon) searches from day one.

After working more hours than at your regular job, sacrificing family time, and polishing your story for over two years, you’ll send your first book baby out into the world and enjoy your fifteen minutes of fame. Twenty-four hours, more like. Then, as you sit in the post-pub rubble of fallen confetti, dwindling comments, and back-to-zero sales, you’ll realize a writing career is a marathon, not a sprint. Your race has only begun.


-   Melissa Maygrove, author of Come Back
www.melissamaygrove.com


You may include this entry in the e-book compilation 
without providing me any royalties or other compensation.
There's a postscript to this story.

P.S. As part of your marketing plan, you'll sign up with a book tour company for a release day event. About two weeks before d-day, that deal will fall through. In a desperate, last-minute scramble for promo, you'll schedule an ad with Digital Book Today. By the time the ad goes live, you'll barely be able to pull yourself out of the post-pub blues to pay attention. 

And that's when it will happen.

In a curious mix of hard work and some kind of freakin perfect storm, your sales skyrocket. In a matter of hours, you'll recoup your publishing costs, make a tidy profit, and your precious little book will hit the Amazon Kindle Top 10 for Historical Romance and #1 (#1, baby!) in Western Romanceand stay there for the entire weekend.

So don't give up. Believe it or not, you'll be a bestselling author on Amazon one day.


Before I go, I'd like to give a shout-out to writing buddy Carol Kilgore who's mentioning my new release on her blog today. Thanks, Carol!

If you've never read any of Carol's books, you're missing out. She's a talented writer. :)

Today is the last day to enter my giveaway.
Hurry! You only have until midnight CDT!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winners will be announced on Wednesday, May 21st.

68 comments:

  1. Drop-kicked into social media. That sounds familiar.
    Good thing you met up with Carrie!

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  2. Love this, especially the postscript! And congratulations on hitting the bestselling lists! :)

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  3. I think finding a muse or mentor (even a TORmentor) is key. Thank you for writing such an honest piece, Melissa!

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    1. You're welcome, Eleyne.
      Thanks for visiting my blog. :)

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  4. Great post. I love having a pen name too. Heck, I might even try for two pen names.

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  5. Replies
    1. Thanks, Carol!
      And thanks again for posting the announcement. :)

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  6. Just so you know, I started dancing around the living room in celebration for you. My daughter giggled and joined in.

    Wonderful letter!

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    Replies
    1. hahahaha
      I've been doing quite a few happy dances myself. xD

      Delete
  7. And what a fantastic journey you've had. It takes stamina, doesn't it?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it does.
      I've also been very blessed though. It's not all me.

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  8. That's awesome advice to yourself. and other writers can learn about handing the truths about writing and publishing.

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  9. I'm SO INCREDIBLY PROUD OF YOU MELISSA!!!! Truly. You are an example of pure strength and perseverance. What a beautiful letter, and look how much you've grown and how far you've come---bask in your success!!!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Morgan.
      It's good to reflect on our journey from time to time. :)

      Delete
  10. Wonderful letter, Melissa. I think one of the most important lessons I have learned is regarding critiquing.. as you mentioned above. Taking criticism can be hard in the beginning but if we want our writing style and skills to flourish, we must learn to take it. And giving it... well, I'm still working on it. I think I'm too nice when it comes to reviews and critiques but like I said.. I am a work in progress=) Thanks for sharing! I'm grateful for Carrie creating such a great opportunity for all of us to exchange our experiences.

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    1. Agreed! Even though I barely got the piece written in time (LOL), I'm glad Carrie organized the hop. :)

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  11. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! It's amazing how meeting the right person at the right time can help you get to where you need to be!

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  12. You have totally rocked the self-pub thing and I think that's awesome. I should have changed my name to Sparks...Elizabeth Sparks. Too obvious? Okay, I'll stick with Seckman!

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    Replies
    1. LOL, Elizabeth. You crack me up. :P

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  13. What an adventure, right? We must be a little insane to put ourselves though this. Maybe one day I'll make a little profit to help offset the cost of putting out my next book.

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    Replies
    1. Definitely an adventure.
      Thanks for stopping by, Jay.

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  14. That drop-kicking tormentor sounds pretty cool! LOL

    Thanks for participating!

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  15. Those tor-mentors are the best. They always manage to get us do our best efforts and not quit. You're lucky. And congratulations for ranking high on Amazon. There is much more to come, I am sure. Dragon hugs!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, they are, and I am.
      Thank you, Al. I love dragon hugs. :)

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  16. Hi Melissa,

    What a combo, Carrie and Melissa. You could of found plenty or reasons to say forget it. Yet, despite all the other distractions in life, look at you know. The magic of the written word is in your heart and your heart beats proudly.

    In kindness,

    Gary :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Gary. It's a struggle, but having Carrie in my corner made the journey much better.

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  17. Awesome letter! I especially like your mention of tormentors. Hehehe! We all need those.

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  18. mentors might sometimes be tormentors, but the good ones are truly worth their weight in gold.

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  19. WOW, MELISSA! CONGRATS!!!! What great news! I'm so happy for you!

    Keep it up!

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  20. I love your PS. Sometimes bad things happen to make room for the good!

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    Replies
    1. That is so true! I try to remind myself of that when things don't go as planned. ;)

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  21. What a great letter, Melissa. This is the first one I've read that has an actual story arc! You are clearly a born writer. Congratulations on your amazing news!

    VR Barkowski

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  22. I loved this letter! So happy for you that your book hit number 1 on Amazon! All things are possible:)

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  23. Congrats on the number one spot! Just shows that you can never tell what might happen if you go for it. Great letter!

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  24. This is really great! Congrats on your success!

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  25. You are here because you are an amazing writer!!! Such a great letter to yourself!

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    Replies
    1. Aww, shucks. Thank you, Tammy. :)

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  26. Melissa that's fantastic!! SO excited for you that Come Back is doing so well.
    I love the "tormentor" comment. lol
    I think once we all get our feet wet in the writer world we realize if it's something we're cut out for or not. Glad you stuck around to see your hard work pay off!

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  27. Holy &^$%!!!! (Yes, I did swear to myself out loud, but I restrained myself here :) ) I'm so happy for you, Melissa!!! What a huge accomplishment. HUGE.

    I loved this letter :) It's honest and practical and courageous - which is so perfectly the writer you are. And I love this: "You'll learn to accept criticism well and learn to give it well, too—not an easy task on either end." So many people concentrate on receiving it, and don't realize how hard it is to GIVE useful crits, too. A hard lesson.

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    Replies
    1. You're in good company. LOL I was swearing at my screen on Saturday, after I picked my jaw up from where it hit the desk.

      Thanks for visiting. Your enthusiastic comments always make me smile. :)

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  28. Yes! I love it. What a great letter, Melissa, and a reminder that even when all seems to have gone to the dogs, the sun is just about to break through the clouds!

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    1. That's exactly how it felt.
      Thanks for stopping by, Crystal. :)

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  29. The critique process can be tough for all parties.

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  30. Writing is definitely a marathon and not a sprint race . . . although I usually sprint and then shuffle and then sprint again - I just don't do that "all day" pace well.

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  31. Nice letter. It really helps to be honest with ourselves. It helps us grow.
    Best of luck.
    Heather

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  32. Thank goodness for your mentor. I wish someone had forced me to get more involved in social media sooner.
    Elizabeth Hein - Scribbling in the Storage Room

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  33. Carrie is soooo awesome, I swear!

    (You be no shady lady either, I hasten to say :)

    Anyway... enjoyed reading your entry and wow... I need y'all on my marketing team if I ever finish WIP#3,440

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  34. Great post, Melissa. Congrats on your success with your publication!

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  35. So many writers have been at it since they were old enough to hold a pen, I find it hard to hold my head up in such lifelong-dedicated company. So it's heartening to hear success stories from folks who just woke up and decided to write a book. Thanks for sharing.

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Thanks for taking the time to comment. = )