Tag Archives: publishing advice

Authors Who Give Up

14 Oct

As writers, we discuss lots of ups and downs. Writer’s block, in particular. But what about something stronger than writer’s block?

What about feeling like you want to give up?

“Giving up” is hard to define. Quite frankly, the definition will be different for every writer. One author might feel like giving up writing altogether, while another writer might only want to give up pursuing publication. These two versions of “giving up” are very different, but could appear similar to those on the outside.

This is why defining what you want to “give up” is important.

By considering what, exactly, you are giving up, you might realize what is actually making you so miserable.

For instance, I’ve talked to a lot of authors who feel like giving up because marketing is so difficult, or getting an agent feels impossible, or self-publishing is too expensive. But all of these issues have solutions that don’t involve giving up everything. If marketing is difficult, reevaluate what and where you’re marketing. Consider posting less. (Your readers will understand, trust me.) If querying agents/publishers is putting you down, slide that goal aside for a while. Write something new instead. If self-publishing is too expensive, save up or consider options like Patreon. This list goes on and on. Many writing issues that cause the “giving up” bug have solutions. Sometimes stepping away and taking a break will help clear your mind so you can sort things out.

But what about actually wanting to give up writing?

Who knows what caused it. Maybe it was one major disappointment that took place on one horrible afternoon. Maybe it was a million disappointments all compounded together over time. Either way, feeling like you want to give up is valid. It’s okay. And if you choose to give up, that’s okay, too. One of my recent writer friends actually took this path—not because they couldn’t handle the stress of a writing career, but because they no longer felt joy while writing their last two books. Until they get that joy back, they don’t want to write anymore. That is their choice.

I know I won’t give up. Not right now. Not any time soon. Hopefully, never. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t felt this way sometimes. It happens every now and then—more than I’d like to admit—but many authors have felt this way, and we either overcome it, or we move on to a new dream.

In the end, I will never judge an author for shelving their manuscripts. It’s their life. I will support their decision to leave, and I will welcome them back with open arms—both as a reader and a fellow writer—if they ever choose to return.

Just because a writer gives up on writing, doesn’t mean the community has to give up on the writer. 

But I hope no one gives up on their dreams,

~SAT

P.S. My first audiobook is going on tour! You can listen to free review copies and interview the narrator and me by signing up here.

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#MondayBlogs: When Writing is Not All You Do

4 May

Intro:

Back in February of 2013, I wrote a little blog post called Writing Tips: How to Handle Rejection. A huge part of this post was dedicated to John Tompkins. At the time, he wrote a blog called Rejection Love Letters (Or How to Lose Agents and Alienate Publishers). That blog no longer exists, but it was one of my favorites. Why? Because John Tompkins had a fearlessness many crave. He shared his rejection letters from publishers with humor and honesty, and while I think every writer has been rejected, he was open about it, and that is rare. Since then, he has since self-published, and today, he is writing an article for us about another topic many authors can relate to—working and writing, as two separate full-time jobs.

When Writing is Not All You Do

Writing is easy. Getting published is hard. This is especially true for those who work and have families. It’s pretty difficult to advance your writing career when you’re alternating your time between a job, washing dishes after dinner, bathing your child and helping with laundry.

A writer recently posted an item on Salon claiming that authors who do nothing but write, thanks to financial security, shouldn’t be judged because they have the luxury to live all writing all the time.

cover 2One encouraging thing the writer did say, however, is that those who are privileged should disclose that and not pretend that they had to fight through the clutter on Amazon or through the slush pile with a publisher to get noticed. Many of them have connections in the publishing industry and quite simply don’t know what it’s like to struggle. The Salon writer offered two examples of successful writers. One is due to inherit a sizable fortune and has time to do nothing but write. The other is a young woman who was the only child of a couple heavily involved in the New York literary scene. Her being published was foregone the moment she was born.

I’m a married father of one with another one due in June. I also work full time, mostly writing at night while my wife’s asleep or during King of Queens reruns. Have to fit it in somewhere.

I’ve written now, three books (ok two books and one novella) all of which have been rejected (I’ve got more than 100 reject letters). Most of the letters I made fun of by posting to a now defunct blog. Reading the rejections, I noticed that they all pretty much sounded the same. “Sorry, you’re good, but you’re not spectacular.” I gave up with agents and publishers and decided, after having two PhD’s edit my book, to just put it out there.

I posted it to Amazon about a month ago. Hopefully it will make it through all of the clutter but I guess we’ll see. I’m doing my best to market it and I’m also struggling to find reviewers.

I think my problem with the publishing industry is mostly the second example. Too many people who are talented with something valuable to say are ignored by publishers because they didn’t grow up in the Northeast or have connections from graduate school. So they’re ignored. It’s a disservice to readers and the art in general. I said as much in a comment to the Salon story.

It shouldn’t anger me so much to hear authors who start off wealthy and have nothing to do but write. But it does and it is easy to get discouraged.

There are the handful of success stories, notably E.L. James and a series of books you may have heard of, Fifty Shades of Grey. She self-published her novels originally as e-books. You know the rest of the story. One of the tidbits I enjoy about her success is when the director was making the ending to the recently released movie, James ordered him to make the ending she wanted. That’s control that most authors never get because so few have subsidiary rights. (Further ironic because the whole story is about personal control and giving it up.) This all being said, James was a television executive when she was writing Fifty Shades. But unlike other privileged writers, she released her works as any other independent author. Her books actually started out as fan fiction of the Twilight series.

This is about the only thing I think that keeps me going. When I’m sitting in my bed at 12 a.m. trying to hit my daily 1,500-word quota on number four, I can only dream about the day when I can type at a desk during the day. I will probably still have King of Queens on in the background though.

Bio:

John Tompkins is a writer living in Texas. He is a former newspaper reporter specializing in court coverage, education and government. He is now working as a communications coordinator at local college.

Book & Blog

Want to be a guest blogger? I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. A picture and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

#WW Rejected? How to Keep Submitting

15 Apr

Rejected? How to Keep Submitting

Lately, I’ve been trying to help a lot of fellow writers find publishers, literary journals, and websites where they can share their work. The market is HUGE (hence the giant, capital letters), but for many, this is both a positive and a negative description of the industry. With so many options, how does someone know where to submit? And with so many opportunities, why do I keep getting rejected?

rejectThere are so many answers for this, and none of them are accurate. It’s all guesswork. I can’t tell someone why their manuscript was denied by so-and-so, and I can’t explain why someone else’s poetry made it into The Gettysburg Review over someone else. Only the judgers could, for certain, say why, but even then, it often comes down to their mood that day or their theme that month or how well it would fit in with the other work they already accepted. Again, guesswork.

That being said, this is when I see too many writers give up hope. They’ve submitted to 20 or so places and either received rejections or nothing at all, so they stop. Now, I want to take this moment to clarify that I’m talking about submitting to places today. I’m not discussing self-publishing. While I completely support (and often suggest) self-publishing, it isn’t for everyone, and many people do give up when submitting starts to overwhelm them, so this post is more for them – this post is for those writers who have specific journals they want to see their name in, to see a certain label on their work, to be among the voices of their favorite journal. That’s their goal and their decision, and I see nothing wrong with it. So, again, while I support self-publishing, this post is directed at writers who are submitting to places who might feel discouraged by the process. Below, I’m outlining a few steps to keep your pen up and your ink flowing while also submitting and submitting and submitting until that rejection pile becomes an acceptance pile.

Here are ways to keep submitting: (I’m going to use poems for the example)

Keep a Submission Journal

Set a goal for submitting a certain number of times during a specific timeframe. Ex. I will submit three poems to three journals every month. Now, here’s the tricky part – keep track of that goal. Write down what poems, what journals, and what dates you submitted. This will help remind you that you are currently submitting, and even if you get rejected, I guarantee you’ll already feel better because – chances are – you’ll already have other poems circulating for submission. Many journals, for instance, take months to get back to someone, so submitting different poems in different places will prevent you from getting that “I’m never submitting again” feeling because you’ll already have other submissions pending.

Keep Writing

While I believe it’s okay to have a specific poem you definitely want to get published, try submitting other ones too, and definitely keep writing new ones. A story I like to tell everyone involves my poetry publications. When I started submitting them, it was almost always the poems I NEVER thought they’d pick that were chosen in the end. My “best” poems in my mind are not my “best” poems in someone else’s mind. Remember that one reader won’t like everything, so send out more than just one piece of work. Send out a variety. And then write some more. And keep writing.

Keep Reading

One mistake I see many writers make is the lack of reading, especially of the journals and/or publishers they’re submitting to. I, myself, have made that mistake by accidentally submitting a controversial piece to a journal that no longer accepted controversy. Despite the fact that I kept reading the journal, I never noticed the theme change – so it’s important to read the journal and also take notes on the journal’s overall voice and goals. Sometimes writers think they can go around this by just reading the submission guidelines, but it isn’t rare to see “to get a feel for what we accept, read our latest edition….” at the top of submission pages. Even better, many literary journals offer a free copy for you to review, so read, and read a lot. You might even find a new writer you love.

Make a Mentor List

You know you have them. Your favorite novelist. Your favorite poet. A TED speaker. We all look up to someone, and it’s great to figure out where that someone came from. Even better, find someone with similar topics and/or voice, and check out where they came from and how they got their start. That famous writer wasn’t born a famous writer. They had to submit too. And you know what? I bet they even received rejections. But they never gave up, and you shouldn’t either.

Keep on submitting!

~SAT

Surprise! Shannon’s Return to Blogging

17 Dec

Surprise! Shannon’s Return to Blogging

Shannon is back. After 32 days, I can no longer stay away. Idling is not my thing. But I collected my thoughts and worries and concerns, and I found a new road I want to take on ShannonAThompson.com.

Wait? There are changes?

Yes. There will be changes, but I sincerely hope (and believe) you all will enjoy them. And if you don’t enjoy them, I am a good listener, and I will find yet another path to take. That being said, for the first time in my two years of blogging here, ShannonAThompson.com is getting a new schedule, and below you can read all about it, starting with today:

Wednesdays: Also known as #WW – Writer Wednesday.

This will be the most familiar of days. I will publish a post that focuses on either writing or reading. This includes writing tips, publishing advice, and more. Basically, all the posts I’ve written in the past could be eligible material for this day.

Saturdays: #SATurday – Shannon Day!

Yes, I made that hashtag up with my initials in it. I know. I know. I’m creative. And a bit egotistical. This is the biggest change you will see, but I hope you’ll enjoy it because I contemplated this for a very long time. You see, after blogging about writing and reading for two years, I felt like I removed a lot of my personality from this website. Because of that, I’m creating an opportunity to share my daily stories and life with you. On Saturdays, I will post about anything – literally whatever is affecting my life – in the hopes of connecting with everyone on a more personal level. I’m also hoping you will share your thoughts so I can get to know you better. (And if you really only want to talk about writing, don’t worry! Writing and reading is such a huge part of my life, there is a big chance that most of these posts will also include ideas about writing.) So, keep your eyes out for #SATurday, and please use the hashtag!

While away, I started recording an audio book.

While away, I started recording an audio book.

Mondays: Also known as #MondayBlogs

Have you ever wanted to Guest Post here? Well, you’re in luck. Mondays are all about you. Every Monday will be open to you for blogging on my website. However, I am holding everyone up to the same standards as my guest bloggers in the past: focus on writing or reading with absolutely no blatant advertisements (a.k.a. “BUY MY BOOK”) You are allowed a bio, a picture, and book link in the ending description. A picture for the blog post is also needed. If you are interested in submitting, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. If you would like to look at previous examples, check out When the Protagonist Dies, Authors Don’t Read, Spreading the Love or go to the righthand side of my page, click on Categories, and then, click on Guest Blogger.

I will also continue Website Wonders and Ketchup posts every month. I hope you look forward to these changes! I’m keeping my fingers crossed. So – again – feel free to email shannonathompson@aol.com if you’re interested in guest posting. I’m also taking interview requests again! So, I’m logging into my email right now. Looking forward to seeing you there!

And – again – thank you so much for understanding my break. Your support lightened my worries and calmed my troubled heart. (Oh, the relaxing sigh of breath you gave me during all of my dramatics.)

It’s good to be back.

~SAT

P.S. The last installment of The Timely Death Trilogy, Death Before Daylight, is now on Goodreads. Click below! Add it to your bookshelf for an ARC! (Or email me at shannonathompson@aol.com) AEC Stellar Publishing announced the release date as January 29, 2015.

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Minutes Before Sunset: One Month

2 Jun

I’ve been overwhelming happy with all that’s happened over the past month. It’s a gift to be able to share my words and stories with readers, and I am working hard to get “Seconds Before Sunrise” ready for publication this Fall. Speaking of which, this blog will be changing in the future to support the entire trilogy. It will have the same layout, but I will announce when it’ll have new pages (with more extras!) I’ll probably be adding a page for just writing and publishing tips too, so you can go back without having to use my search engine.

Onto today’s topic: I have one review by Coffee Shop Reader and an interview from The Kuwait Times, but I’ll also be sharing stats and feelings over my recently published novel, Minutes Before Sunset. I also have a press release from AEC Stellar that I’d like to share. It includes my novel, but it also shows upcoming and talented novelists, including Amber Skye Forbes, Oliver Chase, and Gregory S. Lamb!

Coffee Shop Reader Review

“Thompson’s reversal of the Light/Dark archetypes is really interesting and wonderfully unnerving and seeing the two extremes come face to face during intense battle scenes only highlighted the genius of this role reversal. HOLY DRAMATIC IRONY. For the majority of the novel, my mind was screaming “OMG listen to me! I know stuff you don’t!” and it was oh, so good. Thompson’s use of dramatic irony kept me on my toes, just waiting to see when the characters would figure out things. Also, Thompson sketches in her foreshadowing beautifully. I cannot wait to find out what’s in store for Eric and Jessica in Seconds Before Sunrise. The romance is genuine and did not have raging teenage hormones; instead, it shows that…(ahh, best part. You’ll have to read it!)”

Read the rest here. Additionally, the host aspires to live in the realm of stories, and she loves reviewing novels, so check her out! Her reviews are detailed and honestly balanced.

The Kuwait Times Interview

“Shannon is a young writer who dedicates her books to people she had loved and lost. She wrote her first novel when she was 13-15 years old, and her second novel when she was 14-15. She is still in a university, managing normal life with her writing career. I hope this interview shows that it is never too early or too late to take your writing seriously.”

Read the questions and answers here. But I’d suggest reading about Anglowaiti writing. It’s culturally diverse and thoughtful, while challenging writers to expand their palate into the writing industry. Nada Faris (the interviewer) is a talented young writer with three novels published.

Press Release by AEC Stellar

Click the link to read more about these upcoming novels (and you can also sign up to get the latest news from all or specific authors sent straight to your email!)

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Stats: 

I wanted to share these, because I think it gives insight to the publishing industry. But I’m also sharing these out of the goodness of my heart. I will not lie and say I am in the top ten, because I am not (although that would be amazing!) I ask to please respect the rankings in the sense that this is information I am not obligated to share but am sharing in the hopes of helping others use this tools for their novels’ spectrum of sales. I specifically wanted to share the ratings through AmazonCentral. For all of you who aren’t familiar with this website, this shows a graph of ups and downs, along with ranking within the genre.

These are the stats Minutes Before Sunset hit during May on Amazon, which has a 4.5 star rating (15 customer reviews.) Ratings are pulled out of 12,500,000 novels (and counting)

  • All Books: 46,268
  • Kindle eBooks: 24,593
  • Literature & Fiction: 12,963
  • Romance: 3,389
  • Fantasy: 1,114

I find these rankings exciting, but I mainly think they can help you all sell your books! For instance, ranks go up on holidays (specifically Mother’s Day and Memorial Day.) They also go up on the days I blog post, so keep your blog going on a regular basis.

My Facebook Pages also help keep track of sales. For instance, I reached over 2,000 people between April 26 and May 2, so I can conclude the release date reaches many. Top cities were in the Midwest, but countries included US, Canada, Kuwait, France, and the United Kingdom. This helps me know my reached audience while also allowing me to realize where I need to improve.

Overall Facebook Shannon A Thompson rankings.

Overall Facebook Shannon A Thompson rankings.

Let me know if you’d like to know more about any topics, and I will surely elaborate in a future post. I will also credit your blog (with extra information on your blog) and, again, my publisher will give out a free copy of Minutes Before Sunset to anyone wishing to review the novel. Simply email me at ShannonAThompson@aol.com for more information, and, again, your blog will be credited on all of my websites including Facebook, Twitter, and here. 

Minutes Before Sunset is available as ebook and paperback on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, SmashwordsKoboDieselSony, and Apple.

Have a great weekend!

~SAT

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