Friday, November 16, 2007

Reflections on a five-year career - Allyson James

My November release (The Black Dragon by Allyson James) will mark my fifth full year as a romance author and my twentieth published book. My first book, Perils of the Heart by Jennifer Ashley was released in November 2002 by Leisure Books.

What I’ve learned on the way:

1. The romance business is both much harder and much easier than it looks. Harder because there are nuances and pitfalls that aren’t obvious to the outside world; easier because of the incredible people willing to give you a boost, or even just a shoulder to cry on.

2. Reading other people’s books is much easier than writing your own. :-)

3. A good writing day is heaven--you’re so far into your world you can’t even hear the phone, and you don’t care. A bad writing day (you sweat blood, your head pounds and all you produce is a few words) is absolute hell.

4. In the writing business terrible things happen (publisher goes out of business; reviewers shred your book; your editor quits); and wonderful things happen (you’re a bestseller; you win a Rita).

5. Emails from readers who liked your book can make even the blackest day sunny.

6. Meeting romance readers at signings and reader conferences is one of the best parts of the job. Don’t be alarmed if I want to sit down and talk to you for half an hour.

7. Writing is 24/7. If the muse sings at 3 am Sunday morning, you get up and write. If your editor sends you page proofs the day before your big vacation, you proofread your book on your big vacation.

8. Other writers become your best and closest friends. They understand the heartaches, the joys, the pain, the elations. Forget about divas and cat fights--romance writers are some of the most supportive, understanding, and helpful people in the world.

9. You don’t have to be an aggressive b*tch to make it as an author. You need to know what you want and go for what you want, but you can be courteous, professional, kind, and friendly as you do it (and not a brown-noser; that’s a completely different thing). At the end of the day, I want the people I like to still be there for me!

10. Being a romance author has been the best, most rewarding, most satisfying job I’ve ever had!


Estella said...

Great blog!

Enchanted by Books said...

I like this one that you said:

5. Emails from readers who liked your book can make even the blackest day sunny.

That's so sweet! That put a smile on my face. :) I email authors all the time to tell them how much I loved their books. It's nice to know they appreciate those emails. :)

Diana Holquist said...

20 books in 5 years! Wow. That's amazing.

Great post!


Michele L. said...

Wow Diana! How do you do it? That is a lot of books in just 5 years! I am lucky if I can get through writing in a blog! Ha, ha! My fingers get all messed up on the keyboard as I type so lot's of times my train of thought gets broken since I don't type very well.

I liked reading all your comments about your profession. It is fun to learn about what goes on with a writer. Writers are the most friendliest people I know! I have e-mailed several and they all are so nice about e-mailing you back. A big hearty congratulations on the amount of books you have accomplished in 5 years time! WOOHOO! Clappity, clap, clap!


Enchanted by Books said...

I missed that! Wow 20 books in only 5 years is mighty impressive!!

Michelle Styles said...

20 books in five year s is impressive.

Have you read Donald Maass' The Career Novelist? It is out of print as some of the things are slightly out of date, but it is an excellent book at explaining the publishing business. I learnt an awful lot when I read it last summer.

Jennifer Ashley/ Allyson James / Ashley Gardner said...

Hi all: Sorry to leave you hanging but I was at an all-day conference yesterday (Sat.) and then I slept for about 12 hours! :-)

Yes, I really have done 20 books in five years. I was only counting the books in print from NY houses, but I've done five or six e-books too.

You can tell I love my job.

Donald Maass's book is one I always recommend. (The Career Novelist). If you still want to be a career writer when you're finished with it, you probably will be.

Yes--I love emails from readers! I don't always have to time to answer right away, but I try to answer them all, especially if someone asks a question. I like to connect with readers, because that's who I'm writing the books for. You guys. :-)

Jennifer Ashley/ Allyson James / Ashley Gardner said...

Forgot to add that you can win free books over on my own blog: All the details are over there. :-)

Lily said...

You are super productive... congrats!