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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Are You Ready For Success?

Tamela Hancock Murray has been an agent for over 12 years. A bestselling, award-winning author of twenty novels, novellas, and nonfiction books, Tamela brings the perspective of a working writer to her role as a literary agent. As an agent she represents many top authors and continues to develop new talent. She earned her BA with honors in Journalism from Lynchburg College in Virginia. Today she enjoys living in Northern Virginia with her family. She can often be found reading books on her Kindle.

Are You Ready For Success? 

Here are just a few concerns I’ve seen from various published authors:
1.) I’m nervous about my advance. What if I don’t earn out? Steve Laube wrote a post called The Myth of the Unearned Advance. Do publishers make mistakes and give some authors advances that are too large? Yes, but earning out is likely because publishers know how to calculate their expenses and estimate expected sales of a book. If you do earn a big advance, don’t spend it all at once. In other words don’t act as if the windfall income will be normal and consistent. Careful planning of your finances is always prudent.
2.) Some people who were my friends when I was struggling don’t seem to be as friendly now. It’s easy to cry on each others’ shoulders when everyone’s unpublished but everything changes when someone in your group finds success. Bottom line: If your talent is spotted before your friends’, be a good mentor and support for them. If you are slow to be recognized while your friends sail by you, re-read this article for an idea of what they may be facing. Continue to support them and learn from being associated with a published author.
3.) I have a deadline. And here come the final proofs, which are due on Monday. And I have to write three articles for my blog tour. And… Be ready for a packed schedule. It happens to every successful author. Book deadlines will change your life for the better, but meeting them will be an adjustment. Plan out your schedule and otherwise be prepared to adjust your life accordingly.
4.) The edits are much, much more intense than I thought they would be. I think I’m going to cry. Go ahead. Cry. Then get to work. Your editor and publisher is partnering with you. Be grateful they care enough to make your book the best it can be.
5.) The edits on Book 1 have caused rewrites on most of Book 2 and Book 3. This is taking much more time than I thought. Will I have to ask for a deadline extension on my next book? And will that have a domino effect on the other books? You won’t be the first or last author to have this happen. Don’t worry. Since the editor has seen the requested changes, she shouldn’t be surprised when you ask for the extension. But if you can meet your deadlines, by all means do so, and with your best work.
6.) What if I fail? Put in your best effort at all times. Then if your book does fail, you will know it’s not because you didn’t make your best effort. Spend no time on regrets. Instead, plan with your agent on how to move forward. With God, nothing is impossible.
Your turn:
What makes you most nervous about the prospect of success?
What are some other issues you’ve seen published writers face? What was the solution?

What tips would you offer a successful author?


Ron Estrada said...

It may sound silly, but I worry about being stuck in a genre. I've written suspense, mystery, supernatural, and dystopian. My biggest fear is the one to get published will be the one I like writing the least. How's that for irrational fears?

Ane Mulligan said...

Actually, it's not irrational, Ron. That's why my agent had me turn down a contract a while ago. So choose the one you like best.

Ron Estrada said...

Thanks, Ane. It never occurred to me that my agent would do that for me. You must have a great one!

Ane Mulligan said...

I do indeed, Ron. Sandra Bishop of MacGregor Literary is met agent. :)

Dina Sleiman said...

I relate, Ron. My romance that released last year kind of flopped because the imprint closed. A part of me was relieved, because while I can write it, romance is not my favorite genre. I'm more a "with romance" kind of girl. I'm actually going to be doing an article on this for novel rocket in early December.

Martha W. Rogers said...

What I've learned since the contract would fill a book. I did write a blog about it this past week. I'm so thankful this lovely lady is my agent and helps me through all the pitfalls that lurk out there.

Cherie Burbach said...

Martha, I think you should write that book :)

Cherie Burbach said...

I like this: "Go ahead. Cry. Then get to work."

Good advice.

Lyndie Blevins said...

Great tips!

Jackie said...

Thanks for sharing these great tips!

bilkis aktar said...

Thanks for your excellent writing about a great novel tips.