Monday, December 31, 2012

Not Resolutions

Happy New Year's Eve, guys!

Resolutions? I don't do 'em. Not because I think I'm so great or I don't need to change. And not because I don't think resolutions are good. I think whatever motivates people to change is valuable.

It's just if I identify something in my life that needs to change, or something I need to do, I don't wait. I change it right then.

Okay, sometimes I'll wait for a Monday if it's like an exercise program... or an "eat less chocolate" program. (I need a last hurrah. I'm from the land of Mardi Gras, after all.)

Last January, Sheri Larsen (link) challenged some writer-friends (me included) to make a 2012 "Rebel Writer's Pledge." (It wasn't called a resolution, but, yeah, it was the same thing.)

I pledged to take my writing career more seriously. To treat it like a business.

One year ago, I'd written four books and had three works in progress (WIPs). I had an agent who was sending my book Rouge (link) to publishers, I had The Truth About Faking (link) waiting in the wings to be subbed next.

By outward appearances, I was taking my writing career seriously. Right?

Actually, I was being passive. I was letting other people make the big decisions for me. I wasn't doing my own homework. I wasn't researching how the marketplace was changing or reading the "weather report" of what was coming.

In 2012, Fifty Shades of Grey changed everything. Some argue Hugh Howie really changed everything... From where I'm sitting, I think the two can be rolled into one big change: Traditional publishers lost their domination of the marketplace.

I haven't read FSoG. I know I'm the last person on the planet, and I could give you a whole bunch of reasons why... I'm a slow reader. There are so many books I really want to read. Honestly, I just don't care enough about it.

When my former, Big 6 publisher bought Rouge, however, I kept hearing how "in this post-Fifty Shades of Grey reading environment..." I seriously needed to consider making big changes to my book. As in big, sexy changes. And lots of them.

I disagreed.
Get me

We had a friendly rapport, but we disagreed about several things, and ultimately when I asked to be released from my contract pre-publication, they agreed to let me go.

Several months before, I had parted ways with my agent.

September changed everything for me. I self-published The Truth About Faking not expecting much to happen. Every traditional publisher passed on it. One said it was "too Christian" for their imprint.

I don't write Christian books, but TTAF is a story about characters living in a small town, some of whom have religious beliefs about which they feel strongly... I just think that's reality.

Anyway, in two months, it sold five thousand copies. At this point, it's sold more than 10K.

Rouge is not Christian. It's dark, and terrible stuff happens. It's about survival and being brave and making hard choices. Choices I probably couldn't make. I'd like to think I could make them, but I don't know.

It's sold less than 500 copies. Maybe my old publisher was right, and I should've made it erotica. Sex sells, right? Maybe it's just a slow starter, and the buzz is still building for it.

I don't know.

What I do know is it's mine, and I can take my time with it. Decide what to focus on next, and keep my stories true to the way they come to me.

So here we are, going into 2013, I've got four big things on tap:

#1-I've agreed to work with literary agent Eric Myers on my YA science fiction novel 21 Days. He'll be subbing it starting this month.

#2-I'm finishing up revisions to The Truth About Letting Go and plan to release it in February.

Get me
Letting Go is a companion novel to Faking. I started writing it in 2010 and never finished it. But after several requests for a sequel to Faking, I pulled it out of the drawer. Early feedback is very positive, and I'm excited to share it with you guys!

#3-Amazon has taken over their Breakthrough Novel Award competition. I'm going to enter. Let me know if you're doing the same, and we can cheer each other along!

#4-I'll be finishing the sequel to Rouge. My goal is to have it out in May.

So there you go. Not resolutions, necessarily. More of me taking this writing career seriously.

What are you guys doing? Making resolutions? Pledges? Maybe just planning like me?

Whatever you do, here's wishing you all the best of luck in 2013, reader- and writer-friends! Have a super week and an even better year~ <3


J.L. Murphey said...

My goals for 2013 are to continue healing, regain as much as I can while accepting the reality of the situation I'm in and working towards a new normalcy.

I know the above has nothing to do with writing. On the writing front, the plans is to compile my recovery stories into a cohesive format and do at least two editing passes. I still have 46K to type on the rough draft.

Although I've thought about the Breakout contest for two years, the timing hasn't been right for me. This year, I'm facing other life challenges to keep me from joining. Good luck, honey.

Old Kitty said...

Oh wow!! I know it's a cliche to say this but what a roller coaster of a writerly ride your 2012 has been! I didn't realise! Thank you for sharing lovely LTM!! And just think one of the most unwanted x-mas pressies (as reported in the papers here) is the FSoG trilogy! LOL!! Sorry, that makes me laugh!

Anyway!! HUGE CONGRATS with your TTAF and Rouge!!! Good for you!!!

I wish you and yours a most prosperous and successful 2013!!! Good luck - you won't need it cos your star is already soaring brighter and bigger and about to go super nova!!! Yay! take care


YEEESSSS!!!! I'm so glad to hear that Faking is doing so well! Well done!!! It is superb and I;m very excited about the sequel. I'm already lined up to read it on release day!

Rouge doesn't need to be sexier. If you did then it needs to be adult and it would probably go in the erotica pile. It's already smexy and dark. Not everybody wants a Fifty Shades erotic novel. PLUS, those women aren't continuing to read erotica. It was like a one time thing with that series. Let the buzz keep going. It is going to break through. I just know it!! Start marketing to more us of United Kingdom readers. We're crazy about that kind of stuff!

I enjoy making goals and I've done it my whole life. I usually make them at the New Year but my birthday is Jan 7th anyway. Feels great to start a new year off fresh. My mom makes her goals in Sept when her birthday is.

Pat Hatt said...

Agreed, you want to do something, do it, don't wait for the new year like it's a magic day, as it isn't. As far as I go, who knows, just keep trucking away and hopefully heal fully soon.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

You've had quite a year, Leigh. It sounds as if you've learned a lot and made some hard decisions. But you've also seen success, and you have a lot going on for the future.

Thanks for sharing the story behind your publication of Rouge. I had wondered what happened there. I have to say I'm surprised they wanted it to be more erotic. Is that what their e-book imprint was all about? Interesting.

Best of luck to you in 2013. I am sure good things will come in Lucky '13!

Coleen Patrick said...

Happy new year Leigh! I'm looking toward happy new adventures. The big difference for 2013 for me will be deadlines--I finally have them. Or I finally made them. Either way, my first book is releasing this year!

Unknown said...

"It's just if I identify something in my life that needs to change, or something I need to do, I don't wait. I change it right then." <<YES, THIS.

I totally hear you about wanting to be holding the reins of your writing career. You've done a FAB job! Congrats and here's to your continued success in 2013!!!

DL Hammons said...

I think you had a breakout year and the future is very very bright!

I don't do resolutions either, but I do pause at years end to take stock of where I am and where I want to go. You'll never know if your moving forward if you don't do this.

Happy New Year!! :)

Unknown said...

I'm not big on making resolutions, either. Congrats on all the new releases, looking forward to reading them.

Good luck on the breakthrough novel, I will be entering as well! :)

Michael Di Gesu said...

Good for you LB...

You're a woman who is ruled by her passion and gut. You know what's best for you.

Even if you do have a step back or two, YOU steamroll your way back up the hill!

I'm proud at how you handled your life this year. 2013 will be even better because of ALL that happened to you in 2012...

ALL the best for you in this coming year LB... Your journey is JUST BEGINNING....

For me... WORKING ON AMBER... NEED to get that to your daughter soon. I had a temporary set back with Christmas and a slight bout with a stomach virus. BUT TOMORROW, I"ll be revved up and ready ... FULL STEAM AHEAD!!!!

BB hugs for the new year!

Matthew MacNish said...

Congrats on your pledge, Leigh! For me, I think I want to finish some more manuscripts before I re-evaluate where I want to go. I've been trying to get published for three years, but have only "finished" two books. That doesn't seem quite right.

M Pax said...

Congrats on Faking! That's fantastic. I haven't done that well yet. But I keep going forward. All success to you, Leigh.

KM Nalle said...

I'm so delighted to hear about your success with TTAF! Congratulations! Looking forward to the sequel. :)

Blessings to you in 2013, Leigh.

Carolyn Abiad said...

You HAVE been busy!

Me: Resolutions? What are those?

LTM said...

@JL--Here's to your swift recovery! It sounds like your attitude is right, and that's more than half the battle! Hang in there, my friend! Prayers for you~ <3

@Laura--Thanks so much! I tell ya, I just wish all of this would be a little more predictable. But I guess then everyone would be doing it, yes? :D You're doing awesome--way to work it, and here's to HUGE successes in 2013! *hugs* <3

@DL--I hope you're right. It's a scary place to be, you know? Your 2012 was pretty darn bright, too! Here's to all the best in 2013! *hugs*

@Jen--Yay!!! I'll be looking out for you at ABNA! I'm not sure how it all works, since this is my first time, but I'm cheering you on!!! <3

@Carolyn--shew! You know it! But it's time. You were there from the first, so you know what a journey this has been. Now it's time for YOU~ Here's to a FAB 2013 for us all! *hugs* <3