Thursday, November 19, 2015

My Advice to Writers

Posted by: Kathleen Collins
This post originally appeared on Bookish Babbles on 09-13-2013. Two more books and a short story have come out since this post was published and it's still as true today as it was then.

If you are anything like me than you have received the advice to ‘never give up’ over and over again. And generally it’s coming from an author who published their first book after only five rejections or an agent who’s already rejected you and you think ‘what do they know’.
Well now you’re going to hear it again, only this time it’s coming from someone who has been where you are. Realm Walker is not my first, second or even third book. It is, in fact, my fifth. I started submitting this book almost two years before I sold it to Carina. It went through so many changes (including a POV shift) that it isn’t even recognizable as that original book anymore. It was rejected over 100 times and I thought many times about just giving up and setting it aside.
But I loved this book. I love the world it’s set in, the characters and the story. I wasn’t ready to let it die. So I tried again and this time I sold not only it, but the second book in the series which hadn’t even been written yet. And I’ll tell you something, all those changes I made to get this book to what it is today made it a better book.
My fourth book sat on my shelf of shame for several years, mainly because it was completely devoid of any kind of emotional conflict. I pulled it out completely rewrote it and got an agent after only three weeks of querying. I think I sent ten total and pitched four agents in person and as opposed to rejections, I withdrew most of those when I signed with my agent.
What about those first three books you ask? They will never, ever see the light of day. I might revive a character or two, or steal a plot thread, but those books are horrible. And I kind of knew that even as I was writing them. I had to learn the craft, learn what worked and what didn’t. The time and effort I put forth on those books was worth it simply because it helped me improve my skills. A minute spent writing is never a wasted minute.
So take it from someone that’s been there. Keep working, keep writing and keep trying. You never know when it might pay off.

Kathleen Collins is the author of the Realm Walker series. You can find her on facebook or on her website

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