Reviving a Career

Sunny FrazierReturning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, is here today to inspire every writer to never give up even when it seems things aren’t going your way.

sunny69@comcast.net   //  http://www.sunnyfrazier.com

We’ve all been there: excited about writing that first book, thrilled to be published, nervous about sales, struggling to market. But now your career is solid. Things are falling into place.

Until they fall apart.

I’ve often said the publishing industry is a crapshoot. You place your bet on a publishing house and things happen that are out of your control. The house disbands. The publisher dies. A new editor isn’t thrilled with your work. Merges between houses leave you stranded.

You’ve done everything right. You’ve written a book filled with blood, sweat and emotional baggage. You even have a fan base waiting for the next book. The hard part was supposed to be over.

Some writers view this as a personal failure. They simply quit. A writing career wasn’t meant to be. Others dive into the waters of self-publishing. It takes a lot of fortitude, a new learning curve and excellent marketing skills to make that option work. Still others get back on the horse and start querying publishing houses.

Two things have impacted my career of late. First, it’s been awhile since I’ve had a new title out. Second, I need a kidney transplant. Both put me off my game. The forward traction hasn’t ground to a halt but it has made me feel invisible. I hang on by my fingernails and through people like Lelia giving me blog space.

To make up for lost time (and lost fans) I decided to go back to the beginning.

Before I had anything published in the mystery genre, I created a column called “Coming Attractions.” It was a simple concept: I announced new mysteries before they hit the market. I didn’t read them, it wasn’t a review. I read the synopsis and then wrote sassy blurbs. I made puns with the titles, sometimes pulled something interesting off the author’s website to add. It ran in my Sisters in Crime newsletter.

Where Angels FearSuch a little thing. Yet, this small gesture put me in touch with authors big and small. I gave equal time to bestselling names as I did to the unknowns. I made sure to inform them and send along a copy of the newsletter. I got letters from many and became good friends. When it came time for my book to come out, they returned the favor by giving me blurbs and hosting me on their blogs.

I’ve missed that column. Because I’m more housebound than before, I looked around for a venue to offer up the column. Coincidentally, I’m good friends with Lorie Ham, we started our writing careers together. She now puts out the Kings River Life Online Magazine. We get together for Chinese food and sometimes meet at Sisters in Crime. I pitched the idea and she loved it.

I decided that, since I couldn’t attend Left Coast Crime this year, I would spotlight the authors who could. In the interim since I first created “Coming Attractions,” we have the Internet, Face Book, a multitude of venues to promote. Authors still love free publicity, that hasn’t changed. Readers still look forward to new titles and authors only now they can immediately download them or order from Amazon.

Authors are now contacting me to let me know book release dates. The column practically writes itself.  It makes me feel like a thriving part of the mystery community once again.

If you have a book coming out, contact me at sunny69@comcast.net.

To take a gander at the column, go to http://kingsriverlife.com/02/08/coming-attractions-countdown-to-left-coast-crime/

26 thoughts on “Reviving a Career

  1. Thank you for your words. The next time I think “I can’t because….” I will think of you and I will anyway. I am picturing a blog in which you announce that you have a new a kidney and are on the mend.

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    • Kim, people have been so supportive and we’re all learning as I go along. I post health updates periodically on FB. I’m in great health (except for the pesky kidney) and remain positive that my name will come up soon in the organ lottery!

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  2. I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes I’ve felt like my publisher was just waiting for my novel to hit the shelves so the house could go into meltdown mode. And what a meltdown! Starting over is much, much harder than the first time, so I really appreciate these words of encouragement.

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  3. I’m still at the beginning of the process, with all the excitement and hope. But it’s always good to be reminded that I need to have a Plan B, just in case. And as you know, I love the advice that carries into other areas of life, and this is a perfect example.

    I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers and hoping that you’re soon on the mend.

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    • Amy, this wasn’t suppose to be a downer! We’re all excited for you. However, it’s realistic to understand things happen on the other end that you may not have any control over. Keep the reins of your career tightly in your own hands.

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  4. Great idea– creative thinking outside the box. Love how you keep your eye on the vision. As the Jamaican bobsled team said last night, obstacles are to be overcome. You have to stay focused on what you want.

    Praying for your health, Sunny.

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  5. Sunny,
    I’m looking forward to the promotion on Kings River Life Online Magazine for my soon to be released mystery novel, Desperate Deeds, and I thank you for the opportunity.
    You are an incredibly strong and determined woman and I know you won’t let anything get you down for long. You’re always in my prayers!

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  6. Love your spirit and originality. As we say among Guppies, perseverance is the key. I’ll be so bold as to send you informaton on my February 27 title. And to send you wishes for a successful transplant and return to full health.

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  7. Your post is spot-on. I watched my publishers disappear book after book, and finally accepted it was the nature of the business. It’s hard to start over but that seems to be what we all have to do at some point. I hope in the near future you post about a new kidney (you slipped that in so quietly I had to read it twice) and a new book. You sound like a true writer–the book takes center stage over the kidney. Good luck and keep us posted.

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    • Susan, it seems to me this is something left out when people and articles talk about the publishing industry. The first time is a shock; the next time, you kind of expect it. But, it’s important for us to relay the message to beginning authors so they don’t feel quite so stranded when it happens.

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  8. Such wonderfully wise words! Sunny, I’ve done exactly this. Left a comedy writing/short story career in the late 90s due to a sudden need to work full time (and more) at a job that would support the family. Then came back to it seven years later, re-establishing my contacts, discovering most of them had retired or died. An interesting parallel to your statement about publishing houses closing or editors dying But I found you CAN go back. Just be humble and write good stuff, like you do.

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  9. Great post, Sunny – as usual. You always have some good advice to send. My book, How to Write Great Dialog, is just now out. I’ll send you some information on it. Stay healthy (or get healthy) and tell us when the next Astrology mystery comes out.

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  10. If anyone can make it ‘real’ again, you can, Sunny. Looking forward to many more columns and you next book. How about one where the lady needs a kidney and someone kills the donor.. oops , maybe that just tooo grim.

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