Home    Workshops    Members Only    Contests    Join    Contact us                       RWA Chapter

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Five Things I’ve Learned Since My First Book Came Out

Please welcome guest blogger Laurie London

1. You are your own best marketer.

You can’t wait around for someone else to tell you what you need to do. If so, you could be waiting a long time because everyone’s busy. Research on your own and don’t be afraid to ask informed questions. Try things and take note of what works and what doesn’t. If something’s a pain in the ass, maybe it’s not worth doing again for that reason alone. Your time is valuable too.

2. Watch what others are doing and copy (or don’t copy) them.

Okay, since I’m just starting out, I can’t afford to give away iPads and ereaders (plus, I’m not convinced at the effectiveness of big giveaways anyway), but I pay attention to what other authors are doing and how it resonates with me as a reader/fan.

How does their status report or blog post make me feel? (Not me, the writer, but me, the reader. They could be different.) Excited or uncomfortable? Amused or weirded out? Fascinated or TMI? Yes, maybe I over-analyze this, but I treat my writing as a business and I care about the image I’m sending out.

When I run across a well-organized website, a cool way to set up a Facebook page, or a creative promotional idea, I look into what it would take to do the same thing (within reason).

When I click on someone’s ad or a link they posted, I ask myself what was it about what they said or how it looked that made me take action? And conversely, if I didn’t, why not?

3. Learn your strengths as a writer and don’t forget to use them.

My editor, agent, CPs and readers tell me what they like about my writing, so I keep doing it.

4. Learn your shortcomings as a writer and try to fix them.

Throughout the line edit/copy edit stages, I’ve learned that I really suck at verb tenses. You’d think this would be a no brainer, but past perfect tense has proven to be really tricky for me, even when I think I understand it. But rather than reading my style manual from front to back, I’m going to focus on how it’s handled in books, particularly those from my publisher (some of it is house style). Just when I think I have it down, my editor finds another flub.

When my schedule frees up, I can’t wait to take a few more craft classes. Before I became published, I took at least three or four classes a year and channeled what I learned into my current manuscript. (Angie Fox and Jess Granger—I’m blaming you for the vividness of the brownie scene in my second book.)

5. You write faster than you think you do when you have a deadline.

It’s amazing what having that magical beast looming overhead does to your writing speed. Taking the advice of my friend Alexis Morgan, I figure out how many pages I need to write in a week to meet a deadline and I break it down, doing a little bit each day.

By the time this year is over, I’ll have four published stories out—two books, an e-novella and an anthology story. Not bad considering I started the year with nothing and don’t feel I’m a speedy writer.

A graduate of Western Washington University with a BA in Business Administration and a former tester/programmer for a Fortune 500 company, Laurie London writes from her home near Seattle where she lives with her husband and two children.

She is a member of Romance Writers of America®, Greater Seattle Area RWA, RWAOnline, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, FF&P (RWA chapter devoted to all things paranormal), and two book clubs.

When not writing, she can be found running, reading, or riding and showing her horse. Someday she hopes to qualify for the Quarter Horse World Show – that is, if her horse doesn’t get hurt again.

Website: www.LaurieLondonBooks.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LaurieLondonAuthor

Bonded By Blood

Deep within the forests of the Pacific Northwest, two vampire coalitions battle for supremacy—Guardian enforcers who safeguard humanity and Darkbloods, rogues who kill like their ancient ancestors.

Movie location scout Mackenzie Foster-Shaw has always known that she’s cursed to die young. No one can protect her from the evil that has stalked her family for generations—vampires who crave her rare blood type. Until one afternoon in a wooded cemetery, she encounters an impossibly sexy stranger, a man she must trust with her life.

For Dominic, a man haunted by loss, Mackenzie satisfies a primal hunger that torments him—and the bond they share goes beyond heat, beyond love. She alone can supply the strength he needs to claim his revenge. But in doing so, he could destroy her…


Anonymous said...

Great post. Thanks for the tips!!

Alexis Morgan said...

**waving at you!**

I'm so pleased for your great success! This is definitely a banner year for you.

Laurie London said...

Thanks, FF&P, for having me on today!

Thank you, Lynn. You're welcome. :-)

Thank you so much, Alexis! *waving back* I count my lucky stars the day I met you. :-) And thank God I was smart enough to follow your advice.

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

ICAM - when I have a deadline, or think I do, I write faster! And you're correct, we had better learn to promote ourselves because for the most part, nobody else will. The ball really is dropped in our court.

Evelyn M. Byrne said...

Thanks for the wonderful tips.

Kinley Baker said...

These are great tips! I think the "Things I've Learned" posts, blogs or work shops are always the most beneficial. I think I need examples :-) I also think writing is faster after going through a formal editing process once. After that it's easier to know what works and what doesn't. Congratulations on your success, Laurie!

EilisFlynn said...

thoughts to ponder! thanks, laurie!

Rebecca Zanetti said...

I love #5. So true! Deadlines seem to really encourge the quick, don't they? :)

Laura Kaye said...

Good tips!