We talk a lot here about writing, social media, and the changes in the publishing paradigm. Sometimes, it can feel like we are strapped to Hell’s Tilt-A-Whirl. We are artists and need to create, yet at the same time, we also have to appreciate that this is also a business…a business that changes its mind more than my mother trying to pick a place to eat (that’s A LOT).
Amy Shojai is my guest today and she is a TREMENDOUS lady. She’s here to talk a little bit about how we can face this Brave New World of Publishing and not lose our artist spunk.
Take it away, Amy!
The Reinvented Writer
When I was a little girl, my playtime consisted of emotion-filled “let’s pretend” dramas that starred Snowball the flying cat, Lady the Talking Dog, and a hero-girl with kick-ass skills and princess-icity beauty.
I never grew up and my dreams came true—sorta kinda in a way—except for the beauty part, anyway. No fairy godmother made it happen. The success came by working my tail off, but I began to take things for granted. Who needs princess-icity or a contingency plan when your agent finagles impressive book advances and folks call you for TV gigs and lucrative spokesperson tours?
You know what’s coming, right? The happy-ever-after-writing-career dream fell off the cliff and did a swirly right down the toilet.
Ha! And you were all ready to hate me… :). Well, I am YOU. And hating yourself just gets in the way of climbing out of the pit. Trust me on that.
How many of y’all have thought you had it made, your career plans on track and then life gob-smacked you upside the head? Lots of successful writers and authors experienced that in the past few years as publishing pulled the rug out from under our ass-umptions. Newer writers just beginning that climb through the slush got their personal brass rings yanked out of reach as well. Detours suck, big time.
Know what I did? I threw a gi-normous loud-and-cranky pity party for about 3 years. And quit writing. I even took a real job . . .
That real job taught me something, drove it home like nothing else had before. Here’s what I learned.
I am a writer. It’s not what I do, it’s who I am. But the “old Amy” no longer worked in the new world.
So I reinvented myself.
CHANGE IS SCARY—TAKE MY HAND!
Are you a writer? How do you define “writer?” Are you suffering head-banging frustration trying to figure out next steps? Have you been tempted to quit? Then, you’re normal. YOU ARE ME!
We’re in this writing world together. Learn from my mistakes—don’t waste three years. Reinvent yourself today…you, too, can jump off the hamster wheel and start fresh with these tips.
Amy Shojai blogs over at BLING, BITCHES & BLOOD (Kristen came up with the name!), and has several Webinars scheduled this summer on a variety of writer-icity topics. She’s the author of 26 nonfiction pet care titles and dog-viewpoint Thrillers with Bite! You can learn more about Amy here.
THE REINVENTED WRITER WORKSHOP Saturday May 25, 2:00-4:00 pm Eastern Time
The Reinvented Writer workshop helps newer writers avoid mistakes, and established authors (especially those “traditionally” published) to reevaluate, re-energize and re-emerge stronger than ever in the always-changing “new world” of publishing.
Today authors must be masochists in order to endure both the real and imagined slings and arrows of writer-icity bullying. The time for head-banging frustration and gnashing of teeth is over. In this class you’ll learn how to put on your big-boy (or girl)-panties, suck it up–and succeed!
This live two-hour fun Power Point presentation offers easy to use tips on how to “brand” yourself; the benefits of collaboration; ways to build “tribes” and why you should; how to leverage nonfiction to transition into fiction; ways to create diverse revenue streams; and how to use multiple platforms (blogs, YouTube, kindle, POD, audiobooks and more) to build your audience and career. Oh, and you’ll see some cute puppy and kitty pictures, too. (Use the code “OWFI” for $25 off!)
Great post Amy. Life sure can throw you for a loop. Love your blog title.
Thanks Tasha! I look forward to *virtually* meeting many of you in one of the webinars. 🙂 Kristin, thanks for allowing me to guest post.
Change “lost our artist spunk” to lose our artist spunk. I know I hate when I make a typo and no one points it out. I make them even after editing twice 🙂
I hope your comments have to be approved first? Just delete this one. Thank you!
You ROCK. We hunkered down from tornadoes all yesterday, so I think my brain was on a mini-vaca this morning. Hey, I goof. But THANKS for pointing it out so SWEETLY *hugs*.
Glad you were able to stay connected to who you are. As a fellow writer I feel you, it’s a natural piece of who we are despite the curve balls life throws.
When you think about it, all professions change one way or another. Farming, teaching, medicine, etc. Writing/publishing is no different. No matter what we choose to do, if we don’t change with the times, we will become lost in obscurity. Thanks for the post Amy! 😀
I absolutely love your blog posts. I love how you captured the mixed emotions and frustration we writers face when it comes to just sticking to it. My parents, especially my Dad, are always trying to convince me to take a “real job” where I can move up to the top. But… I am sticking to this dream. I am okay with always working part time somewhere to subsidize my expenses, but honestly, it isn’t worth a lifetime of frustration to put writing on the backburner and pursue some thankless job that eats away at your creativity. I like how you said that you never grew up and your dreams came true. Thanks for posting! 🙂
I hear you on your parents. You may want to remind them that there are no longer jobs where you can “move up to the top.”
Haha exactly. I could rant for hours about the evils of corporations anyway. 😛
**Oops okay I just re-read your post and notice that it was your guest who wrote that. Well, kudos Amy! 🙂
LOL. Hey, I patented that move :D. *hugs* and thanks for commenting. Told you Amy is awesome!
😛 You sure did!
Awesome post! I definitely get what Amy is talking about. Having recently quit my day job in sales to focus on writing, it’s been an adjustment and some days are easier than others. Coming back from DFWcon left me really energized, but there’s still a lot to kind of web through with publishing when I get to that point, so I appreciate Amy’s post. Great partnership you guys! Love you both!
Wow, this is such a wonderful supportive community of writers. If I’d known y’all THEN, it wouldn’t have taken me 3 years to “suck it up” and get on with it. *s*
Amy is indeed awesome, but this is my moving weekend. I’m one of those authors standing in thin air when the rug was pulled out and could use it. Another time. Appreciate all you do for writers.
Hiya Velda! Just so’s everyone knows…the webinar will be recorded and the recording available for 2 weeks after the event. *s* Oh, and someone asked me, “where do you put the discount code?” It goes in a field on the PayPal site, I believe. Hope that helps.
I didn’t get to the part about not “losing our artist spunk”. This felt more like a cattle call to get in line for a good hog tie while a big, hot brand hovers over us. I know writing is masochistic, but aren’t we “branding” ourselves to death already?
Thanks for the comment desertdweller29. What works for one may not be the best flavor for another and if you’ve already got your brand set, congrats! The webinar has more to do with offering some breadcrumbs to those who are a bit lost on the path. As you point out, “branding” is only one part of that. *shrug* Happy writing!
Writing the novels is painstaking. But what good is the struggle if you start to believe that there is no pot of GOLD at the end of the rainbow. Why write it, if the future is the same. No income for your troubles. Percentages were taught in the last E-newsletter, but the 5 “percenters” can only make money was not very encouraging. The probabilities were more discouraging. Learning how to take on the self-publishing way has been very encouraging to keep writing the novels. If one does not get a traditional publisher in the years up ahead, then one knows there are ways to succeed in the self-publishing arena. A big TY! I am still achieving my writing goals. Last year was spent waiting for NaNoWriMo.
Enjoyed your info on social media last Saturday at the RWA mini conference. You were terrific.
Thanks Kristen & Amy a great post, reinvention is the only way to go. Life is about change and we have to be ready to move with the flow or be left behind.
The first year I attended Thrillerfest (and SQUEE! this year I’m a debut author there!) I met David Morrell…he of “Rambo” fame. He told of how his publishing career nearly went away when “horror” stories stopped selling…and having to re-brand/package himself. You’re absolutely right, Athena, this happens in all areas of life. Change is nothing new. It’s how you REACT to change. As my publisher Bob Mayer says, you gotta lead, follow or get out of the way! I had to “get out of” my own way. *s*
Glad you’re teaching again, Amy. I loved the course on being a reinvented writer @ OWFI this month. Thanks, Kristen for guesting Amy.
Hi Janet! So glad you enjoyed it. *s*
Hi Kristen, love the intro and the way you express the challenges writers face.