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Change Is Good

November 15, 2010

I’ve been absent from the Wicked, Write in the Shadows and Everything Erotic roster for a few weeks. My life has been changing, which, from what I understand, is a good thing. To never change is to lie dormant, to lie dormant is to decay… and that is the beginning of the downward spiral into death.

I liked Jimmy’s post on Friday – made me think about where I was a year ago. I entered a huge contest, never thinking I’d get to the semi-finals, only to find out I did. I had to drop out of participating in NaNo to do a final polish on my MS for the requested submission. It was an exhilarating time to say the least.

I begged everyone I knew, and everyone remotely connected to me on Facebook, to vote for my book in the contest. They did. Readers hold a power within them, one they are mostly unaware of. Their energy and sheer dogged determination catapulted Vampire Vacation to the Fan Favorite spot in the contest, for which I’m still grateful.

While my title ultimately did not win, but achieved second place, it turned out to be a gift in disguise. The publisher holding the contest has since gone to an ebook model (Dorchester) and lost almost all of their authors, including the third and first place winners from the contest whom were under contract.

During the contest I conceived the idea for Wicked Writers and approached some fellow writers. Only two still remain from the original group of five; the others joined other blogs, blog on their own, or dropped out of blogging to focus on writing. We launched in January and it’s been a grand ride all around.

The year has held more personal and business ups and downs for me than any other time in my life. I turned the big 4-0 last week and I’m at peace with myself and my life right now. I never thought I’d be here. I never thought I’d be a writer. I never thought the crap I spew daily would be interesting in the least.

But here I am.

Published in under two years of writing “Chapter One”. Owner of a publishing company with a mostly empty website (stop by for a laugh on the Submissions & Reviewers tab:, but we’ve published two books with one more due out this month and one more before the end of the year.

Change is good…

… but belief is better.

Did I think I’d be here a year ago? No.

Did I naively think once I landed an agent my book would have a contract lickety-split? Yes.

Have I learned more about this changing industry in the past six months than I thought was humanly possible? Yes.

This is the time. If you market the heck out of yourself, social network until your fingers and brain go numb, and work your ass off to produce a damn good book, then (and only then) are you ready for this new time in publishing.

Above all, your work must be good. I cannot stress this enough. And no, I couldn’t have done it on my own. Which is why a community of writers is key to success. There will always be readers if you spin a good tale, but you will never be able to produce a work worthy of being read unless you spend hours and hours on it.

Are you ready for change? Or are you still hoping an editor in a publishing house will believe in your work and help you perfect it?

Wake up – times are changing.

Right Now.

Are you?

You must believe in your work first and foremost. Then you need to get a thick skin so other writers can tell you what’s wrong with it and you can fix it. I’m not saying they are always right – I had a ton who hated my style. But you will eventually find ones that work well with you and can help you improve your work.

Listen to your readers. They will never steer you wrong and they will tell it to you straight.

Change with the times or get left behind. Take a risk. The worst that can happen is you fail and that’s something we’ve all survived before.

I believe in you and your work.

If I can do it, you can too– you just have to be willing to evolve.

Have any questions about publishing, self-publishing, starting a publishing house, or how the industry works? Just ask. I’ll answer to the best of my abilities.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. November 15, 2010 12:33 pm

    Great post, CJ, and welcome back! I hear the clarity in your voice and the determination in your soul. It is all starting to pay off. But boy, is it a long, hard road, right?

    I mean, if we work this hard and still like it, well, we’re in the right field….

    So glad you “earmarked” my page and invited me to join you on this wild and crazy ride.

    Okay, now back to some really productive edits and a killer of a new story I can’t wait to share…

    • November 15, 2010 6:21 pm

      Glad to hear about the new story, Sharon! Can’t wait to read it. Is it a hottie for EE or something for the paranormal romance set?

      Love the line “the clarity in your voice and the determination in your soul”. Very moving.

      Glad to be back!

      Now if the room would stop feeling like I’m still on the boat…

      • November 15, 2010 6:40 pm

        Hmmm. Feels like a big book, but perhaps some exerpts. I like the heat level. He’s a watcher, and wants to be a guardian and sort of “ahem” goes off the deep end with a red-head. Sort of gets fed up with being good for so long. I’m doing it for Nano: I’m Shastra.

  2. Lee permalink
    November 15, 2010 3:24 pm

    Change is good, because it does move you forward and clear your head. It sounds like it did that for you. Good luck in the future, on this long hard and often bumpy road of writing. There are so many surpises around the corner.

    • November 15, 2010 6:22 pm

      Thanks for the reply, Lee! Good to see you hear – please give me a link to your blog so I can stop by and say “hi”. I’m always pleased to see you here and have to figure out where I can stop by to return the favor!

      Thanks for the well wishes. I wish you the best on this bumpy road as well!

  3. Theresa permalink
    November 15, 2010 4:25 pm

    There’s this book I read in the bookstore called The Dip. What a great way to view life. I highly recommend you read it.. it’s about knowing when to give up and when do dig in harder. And the one I remind myself of everyday: The first day you start to play tennis, you probably aren’t any good. 5 years from now, will you be? Absolutely. It’s always hard work and determination win. It may not be the goal you set yourself, and it may be even better!

    I’m happy to be along for the ride – I’m learning a lot .. vicariously. Thank you.

    • November 15, 2010 6:25 pm

      I love the tennis quote! I suck at sports so if I could just keep that in mid perhaps I would stick with something for five years and be good at it by then. Gotta check out that book. I think we all need inspiration to dig deep and keep going, damn the consequences! (or perhaps, in spite of them 😉

      Glad you’re along for the ride as well, babe. It wouldn’t be the same without you.

  4. November 15, 2010 10:10 pm

    Hey, C.J., glad you’re back. James wants to use our corporate jet to go pick up David from Libya.

    Yes, a lot can happen and has happened in the span of a year. Glad things are going well for you.

    By the way, who is the other writer who’s left over from the original WW gang?

    • November 16, 2010 8:25 am

      I can never tell when you’re joking or not, you’re so deadpan. Obviously I got the jet one… but you can’t tell me you’ve forgotten our high and mighty “I’m better than you wanna-be idiots” small-press-after-25-years-of-failure mystery writer? The one whose book is currently ranked #1.9 million at Amazon and mine is ranked at #20k?

      I’m so looking forward to spanking his ass. I’ve never felt like that about another writer… except maybe one other who beat me in a contest. It brings out the Jersey in me in a big way 😉

  5. November 17, 2010 6:48 pm

    And there was I, sat in a sand storm, playing at being an arms dealer, waiting to impress clients as our corpoporate jet landed at Tripoli’s military/VIP airport to collect me and my cargo of selected Libyan dates, a present from some Air Force General’s private date farm! 🙂

  6. Supriya permalink
    November 17, 2010 10:50 pm

    CJ, way to go with all of it! You deserve all of your hard-earned success, though I know this is only the beginning. Kudos, gal.

    And regarding David, did you guys ship him off or was this a united effort? Sounds shady…and fun…

    • November 29, 2010 4:43 pm

      Hey Supriya! Good to see you here. I’ve been behind in emails and missed this response, darn. Hope all is well with you and you had a great holiday with family.

      Wishing you the best!

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