Friday, July 16, 2010

Passion Writing

Friday, July 16, 2010
No, I don't mean writing about passion (although I do do that). I mean writing with passion. For passion.

There was a time when I dreamed about writing for a living. I clung to that dream for a good many years. I worked hard to make that dream come true. So far it hasn't happened and I've sort of lost faith that it will. The publishing industry is in a tailspin. If you belong to any writers' loops, read writer or publishing blogs, or follow the publishing industry through internet or trade articles you know how this tailspin is effecting authors.

There is a current wave of writers scrambling to convert their backlist novels as well as unpublished stories to Kindle, Smashwords and the like. Smart since the ebook market is exploding. But I don't own the rights to any of my backlist nor do I have any completed unsold books lying around gathering dust. Yet. That could change and if it does then I will be exploring these self-published ebook avenues as well because, bottom line, I want to share my stories with the world.

I've experienced a lot of highs and lows in my writing career over the last couple of years and one thing I've learned is that I can't write for the money. Thus far concentrating on how much money I make via advances and royalties has only led to a sense of failure. I am not a failure. I don't want to feel like a failure. So I have to concentrate on the writing. If I want to be happy I need to write what makes me happy, what inspires me. I need to write for the passion.

I recently set aside a proposal I was working on because I felt I was forcing something I didn't feel. I delved into another proposal, something darker than what I typically write, but it's flowing and I feel it so I'm going with it. My goal is to finish and send this proposal to my agent by Monday. If all goes according to plan I will then have two proposals making the rounds in NYC. Two proposals that I feel very passionate about. I hope they both sell, but if not . . . I'm open to exploring new avenues, markets and genres. Because for me, it's all about the passion.

SIS Beth              


Edie Ramer said...

I'm going the self-pub route with Kindles, Smashword, etc. But I know you're with a major publisher, and your post surprised me.

I've never been able to write books just because I think it would sell either. Like you, I need to write books that make me feel excited. Enjoy writing your new book!

Amanda McIntyre said...

Wow, Beth this post came at such an appropriate time;)
It is sometimes very difficult not to feel like a failure when the measure of success is determined by your sales, or what is "marketable" at the present time. I read recently that the only way for an author to "make it" these days is to get tons of books out there...write prolifically.

And I have to remember that sometimes a proposal that I am passionate about right now may not be ready for the market--at this time--six months down the road it very well may be.

Writing , most certainly, is not for the faint of heart;)
and I tend to forget what an amzing thing it is that I have completed and published stories--not all best sellers, or award-winning stories, but good stories, that I so loved writing and sharing with the world.

You can't please all readers--as much as I would like have a magic wand;) and make it so--
but the ones who do enjoy your work, who make that connection with your characters is inspiring.

Good topic and spot on for me today.;)

Amanda McIntyre

SIS BJ said...

Hi Beth

Keep that passion going, it's what makes you a great writer. Write you love and others will love it as well.

Elle J Rossi said...


I think it is very rare, VERY RARE, that one can make a living from their true passion. That's why a job is called work I guess. But if it weren't for our passion and our creativity, who would we be?

Every now and again, someone breaks the mold, cracks the egg, climbs that mountain and sticks their flag on top. What that flag says? "I never gave up. I persevered and I enjoyed the journey!"

And what if we only make it half way up that mountain? At least we weren't the ones who never even tied their hiking boots and took that first step!

Beth Ciotta said...

Hi Edie!

Always great to see you here. Unfortunately, signing with a major pub doesn't guarantee that they'll renew a contract. I'm presently looking for a new home, but so are a lot of other writers. I feel very passionate about the two proposals I've worked up. Selfishly, I hope they BOTH sell! :)

Kudos to you in tackling Kindle and Smashwords. Curious. Did you upload your manuscripts or did you hire someone to do it? I'm a techno goober and fear I'd totally botch it. Heading to Amazon later to check out your books. I love my Kindle!

SIS Beth

Beth Ciotta said...

Amanda, I loved reading your comment. Sounds like you have your heart and head in the right place. I just know you'll weather this chaotic industry!

I, too, have read that in order to make it today, one must be VERY prolific. There are writers out there who creating four to five novels a year. I can't imagine!

SIS Beth

Beth Ciotta said...

BJ, thank you for the compliment and the words of wisdom. Much appreciated!

SIS Beth

Beth Ciotta said...

"...And what if we only make it half way up that mountain? At least we weren't the ones who never even tied their hiking boots and took that first step!"

Okay, Barb/Elle, I'm going to tatoo that somewhere. Or maybe I'll just print it out and tack it to my bulletin board. :) Love it.

SIS Beth

~Sia McKye~ said...

Good article Beth. You hit it on the nail. If a writer is looking to make a good living from their books, the chances are, they won't. Oh, there will be money, it may supliment the existing income quite nicely.

My observation is a few authors hit the right niche at the right time and place (and you know from working entertainment, how important timing is). Some of those authors aren't even the greatest writers but the story they tell grabs the readers and won't let go. Look at Dan Brown.

Ebooks are exploding but like you, many don't own the ebook rights. But I do think ebooks are a great training ground for newer authors.

So, if you're book isn't the next Stephanie Plum, Twilight, Da Vinci Code, why are you writing? Isn't it for the JOY of telling the story? Sharing YOUR world and taking your readers on the adventures? And doesn't that satisfy the your creative passion? If you're writing from that magical place, your readers will feel it as well as see it.

Beth Ciotta said...

Sia... Will you be at RT next year? I need to buy you a drink, woman. You rock.

SIS Beth

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