Success means different things to different people. It also changes like a moving target, depending on your current situation. For me, success once meant quitting my day job to write full-time. Then it became hitting a best-seller list. As time passed, success began to morph into a combination of stellar sales, name recognition, steady releases, and big money. It was exhausting. And I was the source of my own exhaustion. The funny thing about being successful is how the ground beneath you doesn’t feel as solid anymore. This makes absolutely no sense, since technically I achieved financial security and discoverability—two huge elements of every hardworking author’s dream. Yet, I still couldn’t control any of my books’ successes. I couldn’t make them hit a best-seller list and I couldn’t stop any of them from making the top of the chart one day and sliding into total obscurity the next. That’s just something you have to learn to be okay with. The good and bad, up and down, success and failures. If you want to be a career author, you will still feel vulnerable, afraid, and sick to your stomach even with success.
I learned one valuable lesson that helps me get through it all. I focus on the work. I focus on my writing, day in and day out, and when I struggle, I dig deep and write even more. That’s how I put the voices to rest. I know I’m not a one-hit wonder or a fraud. I know I’d still be writing if I hadn’t made money, because it’s a calling and a gift. I also learned to be professional. I changed from the kind person who said yes to everyone, signed contracts without fighting for better clauses, and agreed to write too many books in too short of a time into the type of person who thinks like a businesswoman and makes hard decisions.
This means saying no. This means hurting feelings. I always remain kind, but now I ask questions. I decline offers. I’m careful and much more protective of my time, because as many wonderful people as there are, there are still people out there who, like vampires, will drain your creative well dry.
Just know there are both positives and negatives that come with everything in this life. You will need to be willing to look at the world—and your career—in a different way. Think of the tortoise and the hare. Man, it’s fun to win the medal and have everyone celebrate you. But when the cheers disappear, and it’s you alone with your book, you need to have the foundation and stamina of the tortoise.
Then you’ll earn more than a million dollars.
You’ll earn some damn peace and happiness.
WRITE NAKED: A Bestseller’s Secrets to Writing Romance & Navigating the Path to Success by Jennifer Probst
Learn how to transform your passion for writing into a career. New York Times best-selling author Jennifer Probst reveals her pathway to success, from struggling as a new writer to signing a seven-figure deal. Write Naked intermingles personal essays on craft with down-to-earth advice on writing romance in the digital age. Probst will teach you how to:
Commit to your current work-in-progress, get focused, and complete it on schedule
Reveal raw emotions and thoughts on the page to hook your readers
Assemble a street team to promote and celebrate your books
Overcome writer’s block with ease
Develop themes that tie together your books and series
Write the most difficult elements of romance–including sex scenes–with skill and style
Regardless of the genre, every novelist faces a difficult task. Creating authentic characters and an engaging plot are challenging enough. But attempting to break into the hotter-than-ever romance genre, which is constantly flooded with new titles and fresh faces? It can feel impossible. This is where Probst’s Write Naked comes in. To survive–and thrive–you need the help and wisdom of an expert.
Written in Probst’s unmistakable and honest voice, Write Naked is filled with the lessons and craft advice every writer needs in order to carve out a rewarding career.
Jennifer Probst – Bio:
Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.
She makes her home in Upstate New York with the whole crew. Her sons keep her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean.
She is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of sexy and erotic contemporary romance. She was thrilled her book, The Marriage Bargain, was ranked #6 on Amazon’s Best Books for 2012. She loves hearing from readers. Visit her website for updates on new releases and her street team at http://www.jenniferprobst.com.