The final Monday of every month, the Rockville 8 cuts loose and kicks back with a guest blogger, and this Memorial Day Monday is no exception. With June and the Romance Writers of America National Conference right around the corner, the Eight chats with 2011 RWA Service Award winner and debut author, Amy Atwell.
Amy worked in professional theater for 15 years before turning from the stage to the page to write fiction. She now gives her imagination free rein in both contemporary and historical stories that combine adventure and romance. Her debut romantic suspense, Lying Eyes, is available from Carina Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble, while her historical Ambersley is slated for a mid-June release. Visit her online at her website, Facebook, Twitter and/or GoodReads.
And now, a few words from Amy Atwell...
Thanks to Nichole and the Rockville 8 for inviting me today. I love groups of women, writers, laughter and, yes, even Mondays. Especially holiday Mondays.
My path to publication has been a long one. I started writing with an eye toward publication in 2000. Back then, the vision I had was clear: I would write engaging, popular, well-crafted stories and attract an agent. The agent would sell me to a big NY publisher who would acknowledge my talent by printing me hard cover and then paperback. I would earn a substantial advance and create a string of sales that would earn me a comfortable living.
That dream sustained me. It kept me “in the saddle” as a writer, despite a lot of hard knocks and spills. I “fell off” the writing horse a few times due to stresses—job changes, cross country moves, the deaths of both my parents. There were also times I “unsaddled” my writing horse because of rejections or negative contest feedback. These were balanced by successes that encouraged me to hold fast to that original dream. I resaddled that NY-published writing horse in 2008 following a string of contest wins, being named a Golden Heart® finalist and signing with an agent.
But after two agented submissions failed to sell to New York, I took a hard look at my dream. My NY-published writing horse was still sleek and beautiful, but it hadn’t earned me more than a few dollars in ten years. Like a real pleasure horse, my writing dream had become an expensive hobby. I didn’t want to quit riding (or writing!), so I considered other options for selling my manuscripts.
Fortunately, publishing has been rapidly evolving as digital technology has offered a new way for readers to buy, store and read books. My agent submitted a manuscript to Carina Press, and that became my debut release. My decision to sell to a digital first publisher was not because I’d abandoned the notion of ever selling to New York. It was a career choice to add a second horse (publishing platform) to my stable. I’m even adding a self-publishing horse to my stable next month when I release my historical, Ambersley.
With three publishing platforms in my writing stable, I have more choices to further my career and create the income stream I envisioned so long ago. I can target a manuscript to New York or digital or self-publishing with the same ease as saddling a horse. And if it’s the wrong fit, I can try that same saddle on a different horse. I’m not convinced that any one platform is better than the others. I think each offers benefits and potential drawbacks, but I’m continuing to pursue all three.
The key is to keep writing, keep improving your craft and keep exploring your options for publishing. And when those hard knocks force you to the ground, dust yourself off and get back in the saddle.
Thanks, Amy! Okay, readers, it's your turn to take the floor. The Rockville 8 and Amy Atwell want to know: How many horses and saddles are in your writing stable? What keeps you in the saddle when the trail gets tough? Is there anything that would make you hang up your spurs?
Monday, May 30, 2011
Staying in the Saddle
Posted by Nichole Christoff
Nichole Christoff is a writer, broadcaster, and military spouse who's worked on-air and behind-the-scenes writing, editing, producing, and promoting content for radio, television, and the PR industry across the United States and Canada. Her latest thriller from Random House Alibi is THE KILL BOX and it's a Library Journal "Best Books 2015: E-Original pick." Nichole's fiction has won both the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart and the Helen McCloy-Mystery Writers of America Scholarship. She has been shortlisted for a Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, too. She loves nothing more than getting lost in a good book . . . unless it would be trying to write one!