Flies, Ice Skates and Writing

Paula Petty 2Paula Petty has published several articles and poems. Her Christian book has been accepted by a publisher and her work in progress should be finished soon. Please check her website www.paulapetty.com for more information and to visit her blog “Paula’s Coppers” where she interviews fictional cops.

“Hey, I’m working on a mystery about a lingerie sales associate who finds a dead body while volunteering. Would you be interested?”  If only that was all I had to say or do to sell my work in progress, I would already be a bestselling author. I have discovered that there is much more to it than just the pitch. Using the good character traits of writing has helped me build my platform.

Honesty. Be honest with yourself, publishers, and other authors. I had an acquaintance that wrote a book and asked me to write a review on Amazon for her. I didn’t like anything about the book. I couldn’t do the review. I knew I would hurt her feelings, but I just couldn’t do it. I felt that if I had done the review other people would question my judgment.

Respect. Respect the people in the industry, other writers and the readers. Publishers want to sell our books as much as we want them to sell the books. Listen to requests and opinions. We may not agree with them but asking their reasoning is a lot better than accusing them of not understanding how hard it is to be a writer.

Kindness. A kind and encouraging word goes a long way and will be remembered. My mom drilled into my head that honey draws more flies than a swatter meaning that you can get more done by being sweet and people –readers, publishers and fans– will be more drawn to you.

Persevere even if all else fails. I am about finished with my rough draft and have already been trying several marketing strategies. Not all of them have worked. Rather than give up, I have had to work harder to find something that does work. I can’t give up. Writers write. There are plenty of excuses for not writing (I know most of them, email me at pgpetty@gmail.com if you want a list) but writers write.

I learned to ice skate many years ago. I spent a couple of weeks learning charts and graphs and everything a beginning ice skater needed to know. I couldn’t wait to get out on the ice. The big moment came. I prepared to glide across the ice in a manner that I was sure would land me in the next televised ice show in a cute costume. As soon as I took the first step, I fell with my feet flying in the air. I got up and went down again. All of the book and chart learning could not replace taking the risk and the experience I needed. I fell quite a few times before I actually made it across the ice upright.

What does this have to do with writing? I can read and learn all I can about the craft of writing, which I should, but nothing can replace the experience I gain from continuously writing.

Strive for excellence. The best marketing plan in the world does not replace bad writing. I have a marketing background and sometimes spend too much time planning my marketing and not writing. I try to write regardless of whether it is good or bad. I have file cabinets of “bad” writing (I am a writer hoarder and never throw anything away). I only submit my best work. I have found that the more I write, the better my writing becomes.

One day you will see me with people lined around the conference center to shake my hand and buy my book. Using these traits will help me to get there.

Do you know of any more?