Tuesday, April 23, 2013

In 2012, I signed a nine-book contract with a traditional print publishing house; my first book, The Hidden Son, releases March 2013. 

I’m not an expectation person: meaning, I rarely have expectations. Instead, I tend to roll with it as life happens, something I had to learn as a child. However, with the publishing industry, I’ve found myself taken aback by the business side of the industry. I’m not referring to the process of landing an agent or a publishing contract (I’m well experienced there—after I completed five novels and submitted to agents for seven years, I finally signed with my agent in 2007); I mean the marketing process. When I started writing my first book back in 1993, the Internet was basically unknown, and didn’t become huge until after I landed an agent. The way a book was marketed ten plus years ago, even five years ago is no longer the case. Things are extremely different now. Authors need to have a huge online presence and spend a ton of time marketing.     

I have an enormous comfort zone. Things that others see as “a problem”, I either view it as nothing much at all or as a challenge to tackle and overcome so I can improve my soul. So…in those rare times when I’m out of my comfort zone, I’m uncharacteristically nervous and struggling to feel God in my midst, which is where I find myself with the business of writing nowadays. Even though I’m thrilled with my contract and couldn’t be happier, as a published author I’m experiencing life outside my comfort zone.

Even though I love writing, writing novels is difficult. Being published is even harder. Sales is something that haunts a fictional author. I don’t write for the money, I’m certainly not an EMT for the money, I don’t even like to spend money, and I don’t give a fig about fame, but in a writer’s mind their sales equates to if their book is good or not, thus if they’re a good writer or not.  Well…I know my sales will basically represent the amount and type of marketing I did (or didn’t do). I’m a diligent person (probably an overachiever) so I’ve worked hard with my publicist on marketing and setting up my spring book tour, events, etc. once my first book releases, and most of this marketing stuff isn’t real fun or comfortable to me.

I’m a writer, not a speaker, and I don’t like being the center of attention, so speaking engagements and media interviews are an emotional and mental roller coaster for me. Also, I’m not into the techno world of today (I have a five-year-old flip phone and don’t text). I could live in a jungle with the bare necessities (I grew up climbing mountains and camping on the side of a mountain with my dad—Think: My pillow was my backpack, but I loved it). So, spending so much time at my computer (beyond writing) on marketing isn’t my bag at all. Yeah, if you’re thinking I was born a hundred years too late, I already think that myself. But, that wasn’t God’s plan for me, so I simply focus on being who I am and doing what works for me.           

Just like every person is different, every writer is different. Marketing is different for every writer. What works for one writer, doesn’t work for another. I focus on what makes sense to me for my writing career with my online presence, and I do it; even though speaking and giving interviews is uncomfortable, I’m willing to deal with the turmoil it creates for me because every job has its negatives and positives. That’s just life.  

In addition to the nine books I’m contracted to publish, I have countless ideas for more books, and my writer brain cooks up new stuff daily. In addition, there isn’t another career I’m more suited for, I’d be better at, I’d like more. At the end of my writing day, even if the writing isn’t going well, I wish it could be ten o’clock that morning again so I can continue to write. I think that says it all. 

I encourage you, too, to run your writing career to fit who you are as a person and what works best for you as a writer. 

Come back Friday for a chance to win a copy of Dianna's new book!

Dianna Torscher Benson is a 2011 Genesis Winner, a 2011 Genesis double Semi-Finalist, a 2010 Daphne de Maurier Finalist, and a 2007 Golden Palm Finalist. In 2012, she signed a nine-book contract with Ellechor Publishing House. Her first book, The Hidden Son, releases March 2013. 


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