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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Stop Worrying and Write the Next Book

Please welcome guest blogger Anita Clenney

Writing isn’t easy. I think we all know that. Whether you’re a seasoned author or a newbie, we all face fears. Beginnings, sagging middles, unsatisfying endings. One of my fears was, and is, promotion. It scares the heck out of me because there are so many choices on where to spend your time and money. If you don’t have the money to hire someone for publicity, you’re going to be doing a lot of the grunt work on your own. The days of publishers footing the bill are gone, unless you’re a big name. So for the rest of us, we have choices and decisions to make. There’s Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, blogs, bookmarks, readers groups, and along with the other gazillion ways to drain your time and money, there is the dreaded booksigning.

I don’t know what it is about booksignings that both fascinated and terrified me. On the one hand it seemed so “authorish” to have a line of adoring fans waiting for your books. On the other, more realistic hand is the dread of sitting alone at a bookstore behind a stack of books waiting for someone, anyone…please God, besides your mother, to stop, take pity on you and buy a book.

Thus was my image of booksignings, but when I had an opportunity to sign with the great Nora Roberts, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kristan Higgins, and ten other lovely authors, I couldn’t say no. Many of you may know that Nora’s husband has a bookstore in Boonsboro, Maryland. Each year at my local RWA chapter’s retreat, of which Nora is a part, she has a huge booksigning at the store. I was so excited. And intimidated. My critique partner and I headed out to Boonsboro. We stayed at Nora’s Inn, Inn Boonsboro, which I highly recommend. Beautiful place, and the bathrooms are to die for. The next day, we watch the crowd start lining up. Some waited for hours to get inside.

I didn’t plan to sell many books since I’m a debut author and Awaken the Highland Warrior was a couple of days away from officially being released. I figured it would be a little awkward, but I would be in excellent company and maybe no one would notice that I wasn’t selling many books. I was put at the front of the line, and thankfully, my critique partner was allowed to sit next to me. At least I would have someone to talk to. To my surprise, I see people coming through the line with Awaken the Highland Warrior clutched in their hands, asking me to sign it. They had tote bags they wanted signed and even brown store bags. Some wanted pictures. With ME! I watched my pile of books dwindle until there were none left. I HAD SOLD OUT! The store manager was shocked and tried to find more copies, but there weren’t any more. Nora’s table was quite surprised and excited because debut authors don’t sell out at the booksignings there. Then the local newspaper came in and interviewed me, even quoted me, and when they took a group photo, I was put between Nora and Sherrilyn, with Kristan close by. It was a fairytale booksigning. All that worry beforehand was for nothing. Not to mention that it probably distracted me from writing and drained my energy.

So the moral of this story is don’t get worked up about something you have little control over. What you do have control over is your writing. Make it as strong as you can. Make the story as exciting as you can. Make the characters gripping and real. Promotion is a necessary evil, but don’t let it ruin the joy of writing. That’s why we’re here. Not because we thought it would be fun to promote. Writers have stories locked inside their heads and hearts, so take Nora’s advice and “Write the next book.” Or else, there’s nothing to promote.

Awaken the Highland Warrior, a Scottish paranormal is available now.


Anita Clenney grew up an avid reader, devouring Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books before moving on to mysteries and romance. After working as a secretary, a Realtor, teacher’s assistant, booking agent for Aztec Fire Dancers, and a brief stint in a pickle factory (picture Lucy and Ethel--lasted half a day)…she realized she'd missed the fork in the road that led to her destiny. Now she spends her days writing mysteries and paranormal romantic suspense about Secret Warriors, Ancient Evil and Destined Love. Anita lives in suburban Virginia, outside Washington DC, with her husband and two kids. You can learn more about her writing at www.anitaclenney.com



Awaken the Highland Warrior

He's had centuries to dream of her...

Mis-adventurous historian Bree Kirkland discovers a 19th century Scottish warrior buried in a crypt behind her house. But Faelan, the warrior, isn’t dead. When this chauvinistic warrior awakes, he has no choice but accept the help of this modern-day woman who’s rescued him, but she’s more fearsome than the demon trying to kill him. If he’s not careful, she’ll uncover every secret his clan has bled and died to protect.

13 comments:

Lara said...

So True Anita.
I have so many books going now I don't have time to thing about the fact some of them have been with editors for months.
Plus if you get rejected you don't feel so bad because you've already got another one lined up that your excited about.
Good luck with Highland Warrior! Lara Nance

Lavinia Kent said...

I am a firm believer in finishing one WIP and then moving on to the next. Always having something in the pipeline is both a great way to always feel hope and to find success. PLUS, once you are published you're going to have to keep turning books out on schedule. It's great if you know how to do that ahead of time.

Lavinia

Tracybrogan said...

Love that story, Anita. I helps me dream about having a day like that myself. And reminds me to get my BICHOK on! Congratulations for selling all those books. Just wait until the word of mouth gets you even longer lines at the next signing!

Anita Clenney said...

Makes sense, Lara. I need to get busy writing. I've been so tied up with other things.

Anita Clenney said...

Lavinia, thank you for dropping by. I'm facing that problem now. I have a lot of earlier WIP starts that I'm probably never going to finish because my writing has taken a different turn. I spent a lot of time polishing Awaken the Highland Warrior, so now I don't have anything extra floating around. I have deadlines looming and all this promoting to do and it's interfering with writing. I did write a mystery proposal that my agent is shopping. I wish I was ahead of schedule, but now I'm just trying to catch up.

Anita Clenney said...

Tracy, you're so sweet. I'm scared to have another booksigning because the first one was so great. I don't want to tarnish the experience.

Robin Kaye said...

Great blog, Anita! Writers write--a lot. Every now and then we get to do book signings and hang with the likes of Nora, Sherrilyn and Kristan, but then we go back to writing--that's what we do.

Anita Clenney said...

Robin, you're so right. We spend most of our time with our butts in the chair. But it's a happy thing.

lynnrush said...

Love this post. Thanks for sharing your story. It's inspiring!!

Anita Clenney said...

Thanks Lynnrush.

Joni Sauer-Folger said...

Great post, Anita! I'm not even published yet and this is something that worries me. Just one foot in front of the other, right?
;o)

Anita Clenney said...

Yep Joni. Don't worry over stuff that might not happen. We know one thing for certain. There must be a great book before anything happen. Focus on that. The rest will sort itself out.

Jordan K Rose said...

Hi Anita! Congratulations on a great first signing. My grandfather always told me, "Dolly, worry about nothing. It always works out." And it's true. But it's so hard to accept that when you're in the thick of it! Good luck. Jordan www.evaprim.com