Monday, May 19, 2014

How I Found the Write Path Blogfest

Hey, guys! Are you ready? It's time to unleash your stories and wisdom. The "How I Found the Write Path" blogfest/e-book compilation has begun! :)

Along with my lovely co-host, PK Hrezo, I'll be rounding up everyone's entries this week. If you're listed in the link-up, I'll check your blog/website this weekend unless we've made other plans, i.e. you sent me an e-mail (soyoureawriter[at]gmail[dot]com) or used my contact form. Sound good? For a reminder of the prompt, required information, and FAQs, please read this post.




    **A LETTER TO MYSELF    
    AT THE BEGINNING OF MY PUBLICATION JOURNEY**    

Dear 2010 Carrie,

Look at you—all bright-eyed and hopeful. You disgust me.

Just kidding! I love you. :) You’ve been writing casual serializations for years now, but the journey you’re about to embark on is completely different. Don’t give me that face. I’m serious.

You know how you’re mad at the crappy market and looking to keep yourself afloat by pursuing your “true” interests amidst the job search? Yeah, that’s not going to happen. You will get a chance to use your marketing background, though. In fact, you’ll probably use it more than you actually write... but that’s another story. Let me give you a heads-up on a few things:

1. That manuscript you’re toying with—the supernaturally-charged love story—is taboo in the publishing world. Not only is paranormal dead at the moment, but you’re writing about (gasp) college-aged characters. Most agents and editors won’t take you seriously, and those who do will try to make you fit the mold. They’ll tell you books like yours aren’t saleable. They’ll tell you there’s no shelf space for another fiction category.

(They’re wrong.)

Anyway, you’ll start querying small presses and get two full requests within twenty-four hours. One of them ends up making an offer, and you’ll have your first book deal! Sure, Strength (Mark of Nexus #1) will be another year in the making, but your debut release is well received. Books sell, you’re interviewed by USA Today, and you start to build your audience...

Then your publisher closes to submissions, and you take your rights back. Womp, womp.

That’s okay, though. Indie royalties are better, and you’re good at being self-sufficient. Heck, by this time, you already have a graphic design business up and running. Eventually, you only need to outsource critiques, edits, and beta-reads. Way to keep those initial costs down!

2. Remember how we talked about the stigma related to college-aged (New Adult) fiction? After years of frustration, you finally decide to make fetch happen by joining with seven other NA writers to create a website called NA Alley. There, you write informative posts, host giveaways, create resources, do interviews, etc. Many an hour is put into this project. You forget what sleep is like.

Fortunately, by the time the category takes off—thanks to the digital revolution, a few well-timed bestsellers, and an underserved market—NA Alley is in full gear. It acts as the hub for all things New Adult and continues to grow alongside the trend. You’ll also hang out at the first #NALitChat on Twitter... and every one after that. You’re excited about the way things are going!

3. Ready for the other shoe to drop? That excitement wanes in 2014. Just like any other industry, publishing is shaped by consumers’ purchasing decisions. NA becomes synonymous with semi-erotic contemporary romance (despite the best efforts of many), and readers develop tropey sexpectations that many titles struggle to fulfill. You lose your niche.

That’s okay, though. You accept it as you wrap up the fourth book in your series. It goes without saying that you’ll always fight for diversity in the category, but it’s time to branch out. You start working on projects across multiple categories and genres. It’s cathartic.

So, while you do have a few stumbling blocks ahead of you, they ultimately prove useful. You end up learning to do so many things you never thought possible, like formatting ebooks and firing off emails without overanalyzing. Plus, you finally figure out the publishing path you want to take for the next leg of your journey: The Hybrid Pass.

I know, I know. Things seem pretty black and white in 2010. You think you’re standing at a fork in the road, forced to choose between traditional and independent publishing. Well, guess what? It’s 2014 now, and you can do whatever suits a particular project—even cue SNAP and play “I Got the Power”!

Go ahead. Dance in your chair. Once you get that out of your system, go buy SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder; THE WRITER’S GUIDE TO PSYCHOLOGY by Carolyn Kaufman, Psy.D.; THE EMOTION THESAURUS by your future friends, Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi; and SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS by Browne and King. You’ll end up keeping copies of them on your desk anyway. They’re good resources to have on hand.

But I digress. My most important advice to you is keep writing and celebrate every milestone—no matter how small it may seem. Things have a way of working themselves out. Just stick close to the amazing friends you’ll make in the blogging community, and you’ll be fine. Onward and upward! :)

Love,
2014 Carrie

P.S. If this letter really does reach you in the past, I have a few investment suggestions to add...


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Credit:

Carrie Butler, author of the Mark of Nexus series
www.carrieabutler.com

"I give permission for my entry to be included in the e-book compilation without royalties and/or separate compensation."

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What's Next


  Please feel free to hop around and get a sneak peek at everyone's letters! We're all sure to learn a thing or two from each other, no matter how seasoned we are. 

  I'll be working on the e-book during my annual June hiatus. Hopefully, when I return, I'll have freebie links for us to spread around!

  Thank you so much for participating. It means a lot to me, and I know this project will help a ton of writers at the start of their publication journey. You guys rock! :)



72 comments:

Kyra Lennon said...

Beautiful post! You've achieved so much over the last few years!

Carrie Butler said...

D'aww... thanks, Kyra! I don't know if I've achieved anything, but I've sure as heck tried. :)

Hopping over to your blog now!

Annalisa Crawford said...

Wow, you don't even need a letter to yourself, you were ahead of the trend without it! (Unless this letter did reach you in the past and you're CEO of Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Starbucks?)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

New Adult is dead already? That was fast.
Do you think the you of four years ago would believe what's ahead?
Thanks for putting the book together!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Enjoying the blogfest. And glad you kept writing what you wanted and then saw NA emerge. I hope it expands into other genres than romance like you and others are trying. Then it hopefully won't die.

Emma Adams said...

Love this! It really shows how far you've come. And thanks for hosting this awesome blog hop! :D

Melissa said...

Love it! The PS is my favorite. :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

Great post, Carrie. I heard recently about the whole young erotica for NA too. Makes me sad. I love writing this age group.

Pk Hrezo said...

I love reading about your journey Carrie. Look at how far you've come! I think that's one of the most important things a writer can do--stop and look at how far we've come.
And I say we keep fighting for cross-cat NA!! It can be more. Took me awhile to embrace the notion cuz others were bringing me down to believe it was something else, but I've changed my tune. NA is SO much more!
*highfive for awesomeness*

SA Larsenッ said...

I love how you mentioned about age range in the genre you're writing. That (as well as word count) are elements of writing I knew nothing about when I started. Great post! Thrilled to be a part of this. Posted mine today!

Eleyne- Mari said...

What a GREAT post, Carrie--you are an inspiration. Absolutely loved your GREAT wit and writing style!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I would love to send a letter to myself about a few investments!

I love how steadfast, versatile, and innovative you are. You rock Ms. Carrie!

Catherine Stine said...

Ha! It's so refreshing to read about other people's ups and downs, while you cringe at your own. It makes it all much more bearable, and even fodder for a TV sitcom... NA Alley is awesome, and it's impressive that you stuck to your "YA guns".

ilima said...

How crazy cool that you were a key player in the NA craze. The world is wide open for you, Carrie. You can do anything!

J.L. Campbell said...

Yup, you've definitely come a long way and I'm sure you will do a lot more! Thanks for hosting.

Loni Townsend said...

You are such an inspiration. Thanks for hosting this blogfest! It's so much fun.

Chrys Fey said...

"You disgust me." That made me laugh out loud!

You sure have had some journey. Whew! Many writers can learn from your experience.

Thank you so much for creating this project!

cleemckenzie said...

I clapped my hands the other day when I walked into a bookstore--a real bookstore--and saw a shelf labeled New Adult. Yay, Carrie!

Glad you love your bright-eyed and hopeful self. She's worth the love.

Liz Blocker said...

I'm also a big fan of the PS :) I loved reading about your journey, and bright-eyed 2010 Carrie sounds very familiar!! How I wish we really could travel back in time and give ourselves the advice and encouragement we so badly needed... Although, I suppose if we could, we would never have learned it at all. Oh well. At least we can help other people!!

Carrie Butler said...

Not dead, my friend—just narrowly defined, at the moment. :)

No way! The me of four years ago was hopeful, but ultimately skeptical. I never envisioned the community support I would receive and how it would help me along the way!

No problem. Thanks for participating! :D

Carrie Butler said...

LOL If I'm the CEO of those companies, we may all be in trouble...

Thanks for participating, Annalisa! :D

Carrie Butler said...

I'm so glad you're enjoying it, Natalie! Here's to hoping we can breathe new life into the category. In the meantime, I'm exploring my options! :)

Carrie Butler said...

It doesn't feel like much until you lay it all out there. Talk about highs and lows!

Thank you, Emma! :)

Carrie Butler said...

If the world suddenly shifts and I have the majority stock in Pinterest, you'll know my time machine worked! LOL

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Donna! :) It makes me sad, too. I'll keep writing this age group regardless of what's popular, but I'm going to branch out, too. This curveball was just the kick I needed!

Gina Stoneheart said...

Carrie, you had me laughing while reading your letter. Such a warm tone, yet, quite informative, of course=) You listed some great books here which made me realize I didn't mention one in my own letter. The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published helped me immensely when I first began this journey.
And you are absolutely right! The publishing industry has changed so much since 2010. It's nice to have so many options and I know it can be REALLY overwhelming for a lot of writers. At least, this is how it was for me two years ago. But thankfully, we have fabulous authors such as yourself to help guide people in a better direction. Thanks for hosting the blogfest!!

Christine Danek said...

This is so awesome!! I loved how you kept to your heart and stuck with what you wanted. So fantastic. It's amazing how much the industry has change and will keep changing. Thanks so much for hosting this. I sent you mine via email as well. I wasn't sure if that's what I was supposed to do or not. I also posted it. Sorry if I messed up the process. Best wishes and thanks again.

Carrie Butler said...

Oh, yeah. The cross-cat fight is still on! I just need to take a step back, because I'm way too deep right now. It's time for me to explore other stories and then circle back. :)

Thank you so, so much for helping out with this project, PK!

*high five!*

Carrie Butler said...

I forgot about word count! That's definitely another "on the job" learning experience for most of us. So many things to keep track of!

Thank you for participating, SA! I can't wait to read your letter. :D

Carrie Butler said...

D'aww... you made my day, Eleyne-Mari! Thank you so much. :)

Tammy Theriault said...

you forgot the part where you meet me and spend a night in Taihit with Chibs!! how could you forget that memorable moment in your letter...I'm sure you will one day add to a sequel somewhere...

otherwise... beautifully written. every last word of it :)

Dean K Miller said...

Thanks for this great idea/blogfest Carrie! A great exercise to partake.

Nick Wilford said...

That's quite a trip! You rolled with the punches though. I think we could all take on board that those roadblocks have a way of being useful in the end.

Lexa Cain said...

I've read a bunch of these letters today and really enjoyed them. This was a great idea! Congrats to you and best wishes on your future NA projects! (I hope NA isn't really dead because I'm writing an NA/YA crossover novel right now. Uh-oh.)

Carrie Butler said...

*Blush* Thank you, Elizabeth. I could say the same to you!

Michael Di Gesu said...

Carrie, YOU ARE HYSTERICAL! I LOVED your first line! Terrific letter. And we must be on the same wavelength, because I ended my letter pretty much the way you did yours!

Congrats on this and for what you're doing to help fledgling writers as well as us senior... LOL.... Also thanks for the links and to remind me of those books. I need to get them. Now... Off to Amazon. lol.

Carrie Butler said...

Isn't it? I feel like sharing these experiences really helps strengthen the community. :)

Thank you!

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Ilima! I appreciate the encouragement. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, J.L.! I'm happy to host. :)

Carrie Butler said...

I'm having fun, too! Thanks, Loni. :D

Carrie Butler said...

I'm glad you get my sense of humor! Not everyone does. It gets awkward... LOL

Thank you for participating!

Carrie Butler said...

Yay! NA is making such strides. It's fantastic. :D Now if only we can broaden the acknowledged genres...

Thank you so much, Lee!

Carrie Butler said...

Good point, Liz! If we could accept this advice in the past, we'd miss out on all of these learning experiences.

Wait. I feel some Garth Brooks coming on. Uh oh...

Yep. I'm singing now. Aren't you glad you're not in my office? LOL Thanks for participating!

Carrie Butler said...

Yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed my letter, Gina. :)

I've never heard of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published, but it sounds good. I'll have to check it out!

No problem. I'm honored to have had so much help. You guys rock!

Carrie Butler said...

It really is amazing how quickly the industry changes, isn't it? Thank goodness we have each other to stay ahead!

Thank you so much, Christine. You did perfect. I'll take entries however you guys want to send them. :)

Carrie Butler said...

True! I didn't want to have to put a content warning on it. Hmm...

Why thank you, Tamizzle! :)

Carrie Butler said...

No problem, Dean! Thank you for helping out. :)

Carrie Butler said...

I can't wait to dig into all of them tomorrow! We have such talent and generosity in the writing/blogging community. :D

Thank you! Oh, don't worry. NA is far from dead. It's just a little boxed-in at the moment.

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Nick! :) They're useful in the end, but whew, it's hard to remember that while they're happening. Thank goodness we have such a strong support system!

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Michael! You know what they say about great minds... :D

LOL I don't blame you. They're wonderful books—the kind I have to have in print for constant reference!

Crystal Collier said...

LOL! Well as long as you still have the attitude... =) Love your books, Carrie.

Leigh Covington said...

Dude, I wish I was better at getting around - Uh, that sounds wrong! You know what I mean - around to BLOGS!!!! hehehe. I would have totally joined in on this bit of fabulousness you've got going. I love reading everyone's posts! You are awesome, Carrie!

Mason T. Matchak said...

This whole thing is an awesome idea. ^_^ Though I think if I tried writing to myself, I'd get caught up in saying something like "Yes, it's 2014 and you're still trying to get your first book published," and my younger self would flip out and just stop reading it. Oops.

Robyn Campbell said...

Excellent. I laughed and nodded as I read your letter. :-) Thanks for paying it forward. Writer code, you know?

Mark Murata said...

Do not add investment advice. That would threaten the timeline, and the universe will try to annihilate you.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Okay, I'll confess, I'm intimated trying to live up to the name. It's a different world than when I began so many years ago. I look at all the energy it takes, I watch people like yourself grow and blossom, and I think, wow, I'm not so sure I was what it takes any longer. I'm tired. I'm happy with my little success. I'll never stop writing, but ... I'm not sure I have what it takes to continue at the pace so many writers like yourself are maintaining. I'm in awe, Carrie. And so proud to know you.

Botanist said...

Hmmm...I could have sworn I'd commented here already, but apparently not! What an up-and-down journey! Glad things are working out after all that. And it's true that writers today have more choices available than even a few years ago.

P.S. Thanks for hosting this, it's been fun, and I hope you got the response you were looking for in this generous endeavor.

Mark Koopmans said...

Aloha :)

Wow, I nearly forgot to officially say thanks for a fun blogfest (first one I've done since Christmas:)

And, I knew you were cool... I wrote mine BEFORE I read yours (honest, not trying to pull a J.Frey) and it's nice to see great minds think alike :)

Keep rocking, Carrie... awesome things are/will happen to you :)

#TerrificWorkEthic :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Wow! You've seen some rough moments in the industry, and just kept right on writing! Way to go! And now . . . let's dance. :)

lucciagray said...

Hi Carrie! Sorry I just signed up again, but I've just updated my blog and the How I Found the Write Path post is now on its own with a new link: http://lucciagray.wordpress.com/category/how-i-found-the-write-path-blogfest/
Could you erase my first entry number 71? Thanks, and sorry to trouble you.

Nas said...

I loved reading all the advise in everyone's letters. Such an awesome theme.

Carrie Butler said...

You know me, I'll chock full of attitude. LOL Thank you so much, Crystal!

Carrie Butler said...

I almost spit out my drink. That was hilarious!

Hey, if you still want to join in, I'll be formatting all throughout June. There's still time... ;)

Thanks, Leigh! <3

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Mason! :)

Yeah, I had to omit a few things for my younger self, too. "By the way, the job market sucks and you're all kinds of poor..." Nah, that wouldn't make for a good read. Haha!

Carrie Butler said...

Writer code, indeed! Thank you so much, Robyn. :D

Carrie Butler said...

Eek! We can't have that. I take back the investment advice! *hides under her desk*

Carrie Butler said...

Aww, Joylene! I'm not sure I have what it takes to keep up this pace, either. That's why I'm on hiatus this month. I'm getting overwhelmed and backed up with projects.

I think we all need to acknowledge our human limitations and give ourselves a break from time to time. It's the only way to keep pressing forward. :)

And I'm proud to know you, too!

Carrie Butler said...

Blogger conspiracy!

Thank you, Botanist. I'm really thrilled with the response from this blogfest. Everyone's support, including yours, has meant the world to me. :)

Carrie Butler said...

You came out of blogfest retirement for HIFTWP? I'm honored!

And I'm glad to see great minds think alike—slightly warped minds, too. :D Thank you, Mark!

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Tyrean! I'm all for dancing. :D

Carrie Butler said...

No worries, Luccia! I took care of it. :)

And thank you for participating!

Carrie Butler said...

I loved reading them, too, Nas! Thank you. :)