In the past six months I have received an increasing number of e-mails and Facebook messages from fans-turned-writers, friends of friends (or family of friends…sometimes friends of family), total strangers (who have never read my books), and people from my distant past. Generally, I try my best to respond to each and every e-mail I get, but the number of people looking for in-depth advice on getting published, or asking me to read their novel, has reached numbers I can’t possibly reply to (in a meaningful way) while still writing and publishing the amount of books I do. So, I decided to put my advice in a quick blog post to which I can refer advice seekers.
Be forewarned, my advice is generally no-holds-barred, blunt truth, and most new writers aren’t going to want to hear it, and most probably won’t listen if they do. See, I’m being blunt already.
Two weeks ago, I skipped three big cons: Thrillerfest in NYC, San Diego Comic Con, and G-Fest (for Godzilla fans, many of whom are Nemesis fans). And as I watched the photos scroll in on Facebook, I wondered, why didn’t I go to any of those cons? “Because you don’t like flying and you don’t sleep well in hotels,” is the quick response from the surface of my mind, and both are true. I’m not the best traveler, and after a convention, no matter how fun it is, I’m off my A game for a good two weeks afterwards. But I’ve gone to conventions before. I’m not incapable, and I will go to cons in the future, maybe even next year. So why didn’t I go this year?
Because I’ve got my eyes on the prize. I spent that week of missed cons writing 20,000 words and getting ahead of schedule, which is where I like to be. And honestly, I probably had as much fun writing those 20,000 kaiju-filled words as I would have had at a con.
Before we go any further, I’m going to acknowledge that “keeping your eyes on the prize” sounds like motivational speaker talk, but I’m far from a motivational speaker, life coach, or member of the glee squad. Despite how corny it sounds, if you were sitting across from me and we were having a conversation about what I’m about to jump into, I’d be perched forward, elbows on knees, and talking to you with a straight face. Why? Because this stuff is serious. Life changing, even. Excuse me for a moment while I go flagellate myself (in a non-Fifty Shades of Grey way, sicko) for sounding like a motivational speaker again.