Friday, July 2, 2010

Flexibility and Logic -- A Winning Combination

Friday, July 2, 2010
I'm at a bit of a crossroads in my writing career. Currently, I am not under contract which puts me (and my agent) in the position of pitching new story ideas. Some writers (and readers, I suppose) are under the assumption that once you publish that first book the hardest work is over. That one sale guarantees another. Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that. Many factors weigh in. Your sales record and current trends are just two. Others could be that you wrote a fabulous proposal, but your story idea comes too close to something else out there or an upcoming release. The list goes on.

I've spent the last several months working on a new story that's ingrained in my heart and mind. An urban fantasy with romantic elements. Different for me, but I sincerely believe it's some of my strongest writing yet. My agent believes in the story as much as I do, I'm happy to say, and the proposal is currently circulating among various publishers. The feedback thus far has been extremely encouraging, although the story has yet to find the right home. I have faith (as does Amy) that it will. However it could take some time.

That being the case, we recently decided that it would be smart (business wise) for me to set 'Zoe' aside for the time being and to work on a new proposal. Perhaps something more traditional. Fortunately, I have several ideas tucked away. The trick was deciding which one to pursue. The 'paranormal super-hero' series? The 'historical Victorian with hints of Steampunk' trilogy? The contemporary 'James Bond-ish' adventure? Or the straight ahead contemporary romantic comedy?

I have to say, the first three call to me greatly. Probably because it's fresh territory for me. But that's also the reason I decided not to tackle any one of those at this time. 'Zoe'--is fresh territory for me and, will not only require an incredible amount of time for research and worldbuilding, but it will also mean developing a new readership. Were I lucky enough to sell two proposals (call me optimistic), I believe it would be wise to keep one foot in familiar waters while the other navigates uncharted seas.

That said, I'm happy to report that four days ago I dove into the familiar and, instead of feeling like I was treading stagnant waters, felt inspired! The more I explore and map out this rom-com the more I discover the potential for a madcap romance with tender (and serious) undertones. It's what my former writing partner (Cyndi Valero) and I use to call the A&F factor. Angst and Fluff. Creating a story with just the right balance of angst and fluff is a challenge in itself. Although, it seems to come naturally for me. It would be silly not to embrace one of my strengths.

Summery of this ramble:

*Never put all your eggs in one basket. Keep a file of story ideas so that, if need be, you can immediately work up a new story.

*Be flexible. I could list many reasons for this. Let's just say things don't always go according to plan. You'll experience less stress and more success if you're willing to bend here and there, to explore alternate avenues, to go with the flow and build from there.

*Don't jump on the trend band wagon unless you have a serious passion for and/or natural ability to write that trend. Always write from the heart.

*Although we must challenge ourselves in order to grow, never forget to utilize your strengths.

*Never give up! Believe in yourself, in your passion, and persevere!!

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July holiday weekend! Celebrate freedom of speech and the freedom to pursue our dreams!

SIS Beth



Jen said...

Great post, Beth.

Good luck with your proposals! Hope you make a quick sale.

Berinn said...

Great post, Beth. Thanks so much for the wisdom. There's so much out on the Web for aspiring authors but so little for the "I'm published, now what?" - which I hope to be... some day.
Have a great Fourth!

Mary Stella said...

Good job, B. Great approach and a totally cool outlook on the business and your career.

You go, my friend. Soar!

Beth Ciotta said...

Jen, thanks so much. The waiting is never easy, but hope springs eternal.

SIS Beth

Beth Ciotta said...

Hi, Berinn! So glad I had something helpful to share. As for landing that first contract... you'll get there,just hang in. It will be an exciting moment indeed and so worth the wait. :)

SIS Beth

Beth Ciotta said...

Mary, my wings are stretched and I'm standing on the edge of the cliff...ready to soar!

:) SIS Beth

Tori Lennox said...

Like everyone else has said, great post! :)

Olga said...

Best of luck with your proposals, Beth! I hope you will sell both! And fabulous summary. I especially like "Never give up."

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