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Articles for Writers

The Benefits of Selling Later in your Career
Diana Cosby ©2014

When I began writing, I remember sending out my first partial, smiling, telling everyone the manuscript’s title, and that my book was going to sell.  Then, I remember months later, receiving the rejection letter.  I was devastated.  How could they not want the book of my heart?  And the rejection letter, Dear Author . . ., it could have been written to anyone!

Over the years I discovered that I had a deft skill for acquiring rejections.  I remember one day my oldest son, now in the Marine Corps, carrying in a manila envelope saying, “Hey, Mom, you received another rejection.”  *Smile*  Gotta love kids.  After 100 rejections, I quit counting.  I decided I knew how to acquire a rejection.  

Throughout the years, through ever frustration and doubt, I never gave up.  Not only is it important to never give up, but it’s essential for you to RECOGNIZE that with each passing year, you’re growing stronger in the craft, plus, you’re connecting with fellow authors and industry professionals, which = networking.  Once you sell, your experience and contacts will prove invaluable.  I never realized until looking back, the benefits of selling later in my writing career.

I feel passionate about this topic because I wish someone would have sat me down and said, “That you write is well and good, but let’s say you sold, what’s your plan?”  Plan?  Why to write of course.  It’s critical that after we sell that we keep on writing, but it’s also important to build a reader readership.  In all honestly, unless you sell a book through a high visibility venue, like the American Title Contest, the hard reality is that few people will know who you are, much less buy your book.  So, if you’re a new writer, don’t fret about rejections, they’re a part of writers life, but plan for the day when you sell.  Use your time accrued to your benefit.

Your success is no accident.  I find it interesting that my quote for today is: 
"Choices are the hinges of destiny." – Pythagoras

This is so true.  The choices you make create the paths you take.  What is your exact goal?  Define it.  Plan to not only make it, but make it a success.  So, what can you do?  My take:

-If you have a website, great, if not, place it on top of your priority list.  Many authors have a website, but plan yours, let it reflect the target market you are writing for and will eventually sell for.  When I worked with my fabulous webmaster, Rae Monet, Inc. Design  [http://raemonetinc.com/websites.html], I came into the project knowing what I wanted, plus, I had a ‘Brand’ – Romance Edged With Danger.  I will always write suspense, regardless if they’re historical, contemporary, inspirational or fantasy.  So, we designed my website to be timeless.  If you look at my website [www.dianacosby.com], you will see it could work for any era.  I also love the simplicity of my web pages, that anyone coming in doesn’t have to wait forever if they’re on dial-up for the site to upload.

*A note:  Check out other authors sites.  What do you love?  What doesn’t connect for you.  Make a list of your favorite features and incorporate them into your website.  If you’re going to blog, great, but stagnant blogs attract nada.

-A Brand.  What tag to do you feel is the essence of what you write, regardless of the line, era?  As I said above, for me it’s, Romance Edged With Danger.

-Business Cards.  My take, keep them professional.  I have two different business cards, those I hand out to readers that have my website and e-mail, but not my home address and contact information.  The other business card has all of my contact information.

-Bookmarks.  I think bookmarks are one of the single best marketing tools a writer can have.  I always joke that if someone takes one and really doesn’t want it, odds are they’ll leave my bookmark somewhere – to be found by a reader who’ll scoop it up.   Also, I send bookmarks to conferences, booksellers, venues that feature the type of book I write such as medieval gatherings, and anywhere I feel I feel is beneficial.  I also include bookmarks in bills, which is not my idea, but I still love it! :)

-Other on-line venues:  Facebook, My Space, Blogs, and so many more.  Honestly, I just started Facebook, but I’m on a major learning curve. 

-Conferences.  Keep networking!

-Marketing.  I’ll give you one word of advice, choose what you LOVE DOING, and what’s within your budget.  Caution - you can spend a lot of $ really quick.

After nine years of writing, I sold.  I found that in addition to writing an intense, multi-layer story, came the challenge of fitting in time to do promotion.  It’s easy to become overwhelmed.  This is where preparing early in your career for success comes into play.  Your well-planned foundation won’t add time onto your day, but it will give you a significant edge to help your career take off.

As I look back, I’m thankful I didn’t sell early on in my career.  After nine years, I thought I was ready; in essence, I was clueless.  The years accrued gave me time to strengthen my writing, meet industry professionals, and to make friends who were a not only a bedrock in the enormous transition of becoming published, but who are truly a blessing in my life.  So, next time you receive a rejection letter, set it aside, and focus on building your career,.  Last, always believe in yourself!  I wish each and every one of you every success!

Diana Cosby

Diana’s second novel in the MacGruder series, “His Woman – Duncan’s story,” is available now:

Amazon.com in Canada

His Woman – 4 Stars - HOT
"Former lovers find each other again in book two of Cosby's Scottish trilogy. She deftly combines historical accuracy, well-rounded characters and continuous action in this sweeping romance, which should keep readers engaged until the last page."
- Romantic Times

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