Wednesday, June 8, 2011

6 WOW Wednesday: Kiera Cass on Drive and Effort in Writing Success

We're lucky to have another guest post by Kiera Cass. We're so delighted that she's back and having such success! Want to find out more? Catch her on her blog or on Twitter.
Drive and Effort
If you’ve been around, you might have heard my story before. I self-published a book in 2009 called The Siren, and I loved it. Still do. Since then, I’ve moved on to a new project called The Selection, a dystopian project that I’m crazy about and CANNOT wait to share. I have a wonderful agent in the amazing Elana Roth and a happy home with Erica Sussman of HarperTeen. Pretty much, my life rocks right now.
Lots of people have been curious about the difference between self-publishing and traditional publishing, and I’ve talked about it from several angles. It’s different to pay for your work to be published versus having someone pay you for it. It’s different to be in charge of editing your manuscript versus having tons of eyes to help perfect it. It’s different to be the only person championing your book to readers versus knowing that you have a support team out there. The experience is different from top to bottom, but in the last few months I found something else that’s different, something I didn’t expect:
My effort.
I couldn’t imagine that I’d ever work harder than I was while I was self-publishing. I feverishly went over and over my text, trying to make it better. I was always brainstorming ways to get my name out, since no one was going to do it for me. I was in a constant state of promotion. And I happened to be pregnant or a very new mother for most of that time. It was all kinds of crazy.
But here I am, two years later, and I find myself working more than I thought possible. And I don’t even mind!
I think the drive has actually come because I’m not alone anymore. Yes, I’ve got other eyes looking at my manuscript and other brains figuring out the business end of things, and thank goodness for that! But with all these things surrounding me, I’m aware that this project is truly going to be bigger than my last. And as I start to feel that truth, it makes me want to work harder.
I know that might not be the wisest thing, to think about all the eyes that will read the story instead of the story itself. Still, from time to time it might be a good idea to consider that. If you’re in a position where you’re lacking inspiration, think about all the people who are going to be moved by your book. Think about the people who will sneak peeks at it while their boss is in a meeting or stay up all night because they MUST finish it. Make it the best you can for them.
The truth is, no matter what path you take to publishing, it’s a lot of hard work. But keep the end in sight. It’s not about your name on the cover or even the book on a shelf. It’s about the book in someone’s hands. Imagining that is very motivating for me these days, and I hope that image encourages you too!


  1. I love this perspective--I love that collaboration (in essence) helps with the motivation. I think that a writer can be very successful at both types of publication, and I'm so happy when people have the support they need--whether it's through a publishing house, an agent, or not. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Kiera.

  2. So true that it's hard work no matter what path you take. Your perspective is so interesting because you've been down both the self publishing and now traditional publishing avenues. Good luck.

  3. Ahhh yes. The end result IS the book in someone's hands and even more importantly, your story in their minds. Great post.

  4. "It’s not about your name on the cover or even the book on a shelf. It’s about the book in someone’s hands." Brilliant. Simple words, but it completely changed my outlook. Thanks!

  5. That IS a great thing to visualize, how someone would want to stay up late reading your book! Nice motivation, yep!

  6. Thanks Kiera for such an inspiring and motivating post! I'm currently in the midst of revisions and am lagging badly. I need to remind myself that I want my readers to curse me for keeping them up too late, unable to put my book down. THAT is the image I need to keep me focused and working hard. Thanks for putting it in perspective!


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