Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Guest Post by Karen White (The Lost Hours)

I want to welcome Karen White to my blog today! She is the author of the new book - The Lost Hours. My review will follow tomorrow - but let me tell you - this is a must read book!

Confessions of a Multi-published Author

On April 7th, my 10th novel, The Lost Hours, will be published. Each book I’m able to share with readers is a dream come true, and each time I see my book in a bookstore or receive a fan letter, it’s like the first time all over again.
But getting here wasn’t easy. It’s still not what I’d call ‘easy’, but I now have wisdom and experience on my side to weather the next storm. So I thought I’d share with readers and writers alike my confessions of inadequacies and failure, and why I still open my laptop each morning hopeful and eager to write the next page.

For those writers who view your career as a hobby, or see the post-published life as one consisting of lolling about eating chocolates while dictating demands to your publisher-supplied publicist, don't read on. This is not for the faint-of-heart. However, for those writers who are striving every day to reach your goals and have come to a bump in the road that seems like Mt. Everest, please do continue reading. There is a light at the end of the tunnel (and along the way) and I can prove it. I've been there—and survived.

After my first book came out in 2000, I had a book published each year for four years. Sure, that's an accomplishment in anybody's book. I was at least climbing the ladder of success, although my paltry print-runs and publisher non-support kept me firmly planted on the bottom rung. I felt as if I were going to the prom. Sure, my date was the ugly boy with pimples, but at least I was going!

And then even my foothold on that bottom rung was shaken loose and I crashed to the floor. My publisher dropped me, stripping me of confidence and pride. I couldn't sell a book for 2 ½ years. Now, even the ugly boy didn't want to take me to the prom. I was humiliated, devastated and heartbroken. My critique partners and friends supported me when and how I needed it. They would point out how I should be proud—after all, I'd sold four books, right? At the time, all I could do was point out Tom Petty's song, Even the Losers Get Lucky Sometimes.

I was inconsolable. And I will confess now what I have never told anyone: I shed tears each and every day of those 2 ½ years. St. Jude, the patron saint of hopeless cases, became my close companion and we'd talk every day. I even thought seriously about making voodoo dolls of certain New York publishing personnel and holding them over hot flames.

Then the miracle happened. A week before Christmas of 2003, I got a phone call from my agent. She had a really great 2-book offer from a publisher that I used to only be able to dream about writing for. I think my shriek of ecstasy shattered my agent's ear drums and I'll have to use part of my advance for a hearing aid for her, but that was okay. I had a contract. And I say that in the same revered tones as a person would say, "I'm pregnant," or "chocolate is calorie-free."

So, my advice for all of you writers who have hit a bump? Have faith. Have faith in a higher authority that things are working out the way they should. Have faith in your abilities as a writer. Then go do. Keep writing. You can't sell that next book if it's not written. Read books out of your genre. Take a writing class to hone your skills. Help others. It takes the focus off of yourself for a while and makes you feel better. Hang out with your friends and people who love you. They are a marvelous buffer against the mean people out there.

Then, do what I'm doing. Confess. It's cathartic for me, and I'm hoping that I might just inspire some people to keep going—regardless of what career ladder they’re climbing. A friend of mine sent me an inspirational quote that I keep by my computer. I say it out loud every day and so should you. "When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on."

I know that it's inevitable that I'll hit a rough spot in my career again. But I've found the survival basics I'll need to get through it the next time. Remember: have faith. And voodoo dolls couldn't hurt, either.

Please come back tomorrow to learn a little more about the author and to get my opinion of The Lost Hours! Thanks Karen!


Molly said...

Thoroughly enjoyed this guest post and I am very much looking forward to reading the interview tomorrow!

bermudaonion said...

What a great guest post. As readers, I think we often forget about all the author has done to get their work out there.

Cheryl said...

Excellent article. I've read this book and it is absolutely wonderful. The way the relationship among the three friends evolves and Piper getting a better understanding of the relationship she had with her grandmother is done so well.


LuAnn said...

What a great article! As a writer, I realize how much work goes into the craft, but I still try to keep it fun, too.

Margay Leah Justice said...

Karen, that is fabulous advice for authors. Thank you!


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