Wednesday, July 29, 2015

1 The Super-Secret Key To Publishing Success by Erica O'Rourke

Ooops note: We accidentally posted our voting form for the top fifty in the #GreenLightWIP contest earlier today, but it was scheduled to go up NEXT Wednesday. Please look out for it then!  Meanwhile, back to our regularly scheduled and wonderful post!

We're excited to welcome author Erica O'Rourke to the blog today. Erica's Resonance is the thrilling follow up to Dissonance. Today she's going to share with us the key to becoming a publishing success.

In Which I Reveal The Super-Secret Key To Publishing Success by Erica O'Rourke

As a published author, one of the most common questions I hear is, “Which conferences/classes/websites/resources do you recommend to aspiring authors?”

It’s a list I’m happy to provide. So many people have taught me essential things about the craft and business of writing on my path to publication, and I want to pay it forward.


None of those resources are a magical key that will unlock the door to publication – because there isn’t one. There’s only the real key, and it’s not on any list.

The real key – the single biggest factor that helped me become a published author – was this: I got serious about writing.

If you’d asked me the year before I sold my first book, I would have said, “Yes! I am serious! I belong to a writers’ group, I read lots of books on craft , I attend conferences, I talk to my writer friends all the time! I’m polishing my elevator pitch and follow important people on Twitter! I am super-serious!”

Except… all the books and classes and meetings and writerly coffee dates…weren’t writing. Analyzing episodes of Lost wasn’t adding words to my story. Polishing my pitch wasn’t the same as polishing my own prose.

And then one day, I decided to enter a contest, and it required a full manuscript.

Which I did not have.

Over the next three months, I finished the book. I skipped meetings. I wrote late at night. I wrote on the weekends, while my kids watched too much TV. I wrote at birthday parties, virtuously turning down cupcakes. I wrote on holidays, during family visits, and on car trips.

I sent in the contest entry on the very last possible day, minutes before the Fed Ex office closed. It wasn’t pretty, but it was done.

Here is what I learned: talking about writing is not the same as doing it. The only thing that gets words on the page is the old standby: BICHOK. Butt in chair, hands on keyboard. (If you use a treadmill desk, make up your own acronym.)

Once I decided to write – instead of just acting like a writer – my career started moving forward. I won the contest, found an agent, and sold my first trilogy, all within the span of a few months.

I’m not saying classes and conferences and networking aren’t valuable – they are! But it’s so easy to get caught up in the allure of learning just a little bit more, that the next book or class or blogpost holds the magical key to publishing success and world domination.

They don’t. Writing is the key.

Alas, just getting the words on the page isn’t enough. I’ve seen plenty of unpublished writers who write story after story. And yet they cannot find an agent, or if they’re indie-published, an audience. I can’t be certain, but I suspect the problem is that once they finish a manuscript, it’s done. Even if they seek out critique, their changes are superficial.

Taking your writing seriously means having it critiqued by someone with keen eyes, good instincts and the ability to be both honest and kind. Taking your writing seriously requires the hard, painstaking work of revision. (I love revision, but there’s no denying that some days, it feels as I’ve run my brain through a Nutribullet.) It’s the only thing that will get the words on your page to match the story in your head.

Remember the story I frantically finished and sent off to the contest? Only the first fifty pages were judged, not the full. With the help of my critique group, I made sure the first fifty pages were as strong as possible, and the rest was rough draft.

But it didn’t stay that way. Rather coast on those first fifty pages, I revised the manuscript multiple times. When one of the judges asked to see the newest version, I had a polished version ready to send – and she ended up buying it.

It wasn’t magic. The book sold because I finally got serious about writing, and revision, and ultimately, my career.

There IS magic in writing, make no mistake. Taking worlds that exist only in our minds and transforming them into stories we can share with others? Stories that inspire and engage and entertain? That is absolutely magical. But the magic doesn’t come until we get serious about the work.

About The Book: 

As a Walker between worlds, Del is responsible for the love of her life—and the fate of millions—in this thrilling sequel to Dissonance.

Del risked everything to save Simon, and now he’s gone, off in another world with no way for Del to find him.

She’s back at the Consort—training to be a Walker like everyone in her family. But the Free Walkers have other plans for her. This rebel group is trying to convince Del that the Consort is evil, and that her parents are unwittingly helping the Consort kill millions of people. The Free Walkers make Del the ultimate promise: if Del joins their fight, she will be reunited with Simon.

In agreeing, Del might be endangering her family. But if she doesn’t, innocent people will die, and Simon will be lost to her forever. The fate of the multiverse depends on her choice... 



About the Author:

I write books about girls who make their own fate and fall for boys they shouldn't.

I live outside Chicago. I like to travel but I'll never really leave this city.

I prefer cookies to cake (even cupcakes), television to movies, and autumn to all the other seasons.

I like sushi, naps, coffee, and driving stick shift.

I hate fish, emoticons, bridges, and talking about myself.

~ posted by Jen Fisher @cupcakegirly

1 comment:

  1. I'm bookmarking this one! Thanks. It's easy to lose track of the writing with so much else going on.


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