Friday, April 24, 2009
Marin Thomas hails from Janesville, Wisconsin. She played basketball for the University of Arizona Lady Wildcats at Tucson, where she obtained a BA in radio-television--which she has done nothing with all these years. Upon graduation, she married her college sweetheart in a five-minute ceremony in Las Vegas. Her husband's career in public relations has taken the family to Arizona, California, New Jersey, Colorado, Texas and Chicago, where she now calls the Windy City home.
Marin's first book for the Harlequin American Romance line came out in 2004. She's currently writing her 14th book for the line.
Marin's upcoming release (April 2009) A Cowboy's Promise is the second book in her Cartwright Siblings series for Harlequin American Romance. The first book in the series, The Cowboy and the Angel, earned 4 ½ stars and a Top Pick from Romantic Times.
Marin will be giving a copy of both books, The Cowboy and the Angel and A Cowboy's Promise to two lucky winners.
What I Miss About Being an Unpubbed Writer
By: Marin Thomas
Embrace and rejoice in your unpubbed status while it lasts because once you enter the world of a published author--nothing is ever the same. Regardless, the ultimate goal for most serious writers is to reach publication and once published, I doubt you'll find an author who would willingly trade in their published status to return to the land of the unpublished--but that doesn't mean we don’t miss those days on occasion.
Until I sold, I didn't fully appreciate my journey toward publication. Back then all my energy was focused on writing the "story" and making that story the best it could be--whether through revisions, taking online writing courses, reading craft books etc. Today my energy is focused on the "business" of being published and all the responsibilities that accompany it. And the one thing I thought for sure would disappear when I became published was "self-doubt." Fat chance. It looms bigger, brighter and stronger than ever.
Following are a few things I never worried about as an unpubbed writer--but now I do.
Overlapping books. I miss the days when I could just focus on one book. Throw all my energy, time, thoughts into one story, one hero, one heroine. Now my books overlap and I find myself writing a new book, while revising a previous book and brainstorming the next proposal.
Fresh Story Ideas. Why did it seem easier when I was unpubbed to come up with that "winner" story idea?
Critics. The only critics I had as an unpubbed were my critique partners and I've been fortunate through my writing journey to have connected with gracious, supporting, and positive writers. As a published author I have many critics--myself, my editors, reviewers and readers.
Reviews. As an unpubbed I never considered that someone wouldn’t like my book. Now I've come face-to-face with readers and reviewers who haven't connected with my writing the way I'd hoped they would. I learned early in my career that a writer can't please every reader. Readers are human. They come with as much baggage as the heroes and heroines in the books we write. Even though writers never set out to intentionally write a story that will offend or upset a reader--it happens.
The Tables are Turned. Fess up now…how many unpubbed writers out there have ever read a book, then said "I can write better than this"? I'm guilty. Now that I'm on the other side of the fence I'm sure there are aspiring writers who've said the same thing about one of my books.
Revisions. As an unpubbed I loved revising my book--it was a chance to polish it and make it shine. Now revisions are an inconvenient but necessary part of the publication process. Revisions get in the way of my next book, which I've already begun writing before my editor sends her revision letter. Most authors have about a month to complete revisions--sometimes the revisions are light, other times you're re-writing much of the book.
Promotion. I sold my first book in 2002 before Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and Blogs. My only worry back then was establishing a website.
Once your pubbed, the pressure is on to maintain a website, blog, socialize on forums, Twitter, MySpace, Facebook. I enjoy conversing with readers and writers as much as the next person but I am not a chatter-box and most days I have nothing interesting or relevant to say--just ask my kids. This makes promotion a challenge for me.
Respect. Now this was an interesting discovery for me. Before I was published, some family, friends and acquaintances considered my writing a "hobby". Now that I'm published--working on my 15th book right now…there are still holdouts. Why? Because I haven't written a NYT Bestseller yet. Because none of my books have come out in hardcover. Because I'm not signing six-figure advances. And because there are people out there who will always say "I should a write book" and assume the entire process is a piece of cake. I'm working five times as hard at my writing now than before I was published. If people knew how many hours I put into my writing a week and how little I make compared to other careers they'd probably ask "Is it worth it?" Absolutely.
Sales Numbers.unpubbeds don’t fret or worry over sales numbers or if their book meets, exceeds or falls short of the editors' expectations. This is a constant concern for published authors.
And let's not forget there are two sides to every "coin".
Unpubbed:dreams of winning a Rita
Pubbed:another year goes by and no Rita nomination
Unpubbed:dream of getting on the Waldenbook's Bestseller List
Pubbed--another release doesn’t make the list.
Unpubbed:can write the book of their heart.
Pubbed:must write a book that fits a specific line and one you know your editor will buy.
Unpubbedafter you've written several chapters and don’t like the book you can toss it out and start a new one.
Pubbed:you're under contract whether you like the book anymore or not you have to fix what's wrong with it and finish it.
Unpubbed:don’t need a synopsis to write a book. You can write it after the book is finished.
Pubbed:you have to write the synopsis before you can go to contract and write the book.
Unpubbed:discipline is an option.
Pubbed:discipline is a must if you're going to survive and succeed.
Unpubbed:the rough draft can be as rough as you want.
Pubbed:the rough draft should be as clean as possible because you're on a deadline and you don't have much time to revise.
Unpubbed:you're the attacker, the threat, the predator to a published author.
Pubbed:you're the prey--on the run from all the unpubbs who want your slot in the publishing industry.
Unpubbed:competition is fierce to become published.
Pubbed:competition is even fiercer to stay published.
Unpubbed:your book is "your" baby.
Pubbed:your book is "their" baby. It belongs to the publisher to do with what they will.
Okay--is there anyone left reading this post--or did I scare everyone away? Seriously, nothing worth having comes easy. And nothing worth keeping is ever easier. Most writers already know this. But there's something inside each of us that won't allow us to quit or give up. Your struggles along the path to publication will only help you be that much stronger of a writer and a person when you finally sell that book. You'll need that strength and perseverance every bit as much when you're published. But never doubt whether your journey is worth it.
A book has the potential to change someone's life. To make someone smile. To bring tears to someone's eyes. To give someone hope. To make a difference in someone's life. It's that need to give to others that motivates many writers to push themselves to produce the best book they’ve ever written--time and time again. Just remember to enjoy your journey to publication and embrace the freedom and full range of creativity your unpubbed status allows, because one day your perseverance and dedication WILL pay off and you'll find yourself in the world of a "Pubbed" author.
A Cowboy's Promise *Men Made in America* (April 2009)
Okay readers, leave a comment or question for Marin to be entered in a contest for one of the following: The Cowboy and the Angel or a A Cowboy's Promise.