Tuesday, August 4, 2015

By Mary Ellis

When I consider what challenge I have personally overcome or are in the process of overcoming only one answer comes to mind…time management. Trying to juggle too many balls in the air robs me of my peace of mind, produces many sleepless nights, and sends me to my knees in prayer often. God never lets me down. However, when I try to “go it alone,” even for a single day, I struggle. Jesus is my rock on a daily basis and without Him I would have given up on publishing as a career long ago.

Harvest House Publishers, 2015
In my blissful, pre-published days, I erroneously believed that once an author received the coveted “call” and turned in a completed manuscript, she could relax and put her feet up. Nothing could be further from the truth. Being published means honoring contracts in a timely fashion, along with a multitude of details. No longer was I squeezing time to “write a book” into my daily routine of tending home, family and day job. Even though I have “retired” from my day job to write full-time, my life hasn’t gotten any easier. With each new release, the juggling act increases from three balls in the air, to four, five or even six. For readers and writers in the pre-published period of their careers, I’ll explain how five projects can demand your attention simultaneously:

First, there’s the book you’re currently writing and editing, according to your publisher’s expectations for word count, theme, and depth of characters.

 Secondly, the book you recently submitted is by no means done. A plethora of add-ons must be finished before the book heads to the printer, such as developmental edits, line edits, back cover copy, book cover and trailer suggestions, and blurbs or excerpts for catalogs and sales brochures.

Thirdly, if this was a series, chances are a book was recently released and requires promotion. Your title will either sink or swim during the first several, crucial months. An author must get the word out to readers through blog or radio interviews, website and newsletter giveaways, and book signings, along with social media. Otherwise, with so many fine books releasing each year, how will potential readers find yours?

Fourthly, an author needs to research the next book she intends to write, and that often involves travel or at least long hours spent in the library. Not everything on the internet can be trusted for accuracy, so I turn to non-fictions books, travel guides, and in person, hands-on research. Luckily, I have a husband who loves to travel and is willing to pick up and go on short notice.

And finally, what happens when your current beloved series draws to a close? If you don’t wish to be out of a job, you must devise an irresistible proposal that your publisher simply cannot turn down. Publishing houses consider projects well in advance, so authors need to think far down the line too. Considering all this stress, hard work and long hours, you might conclude that I’m complaining. Nothing would be farther from the truth. I love being an author, and pray each night for God to make me a better juggler and time manager. And when I worry and fret? Jesus, my rock, is always ready to pick me up and carry my load.

Mary Ellis
Mary Ellis has written twelve award-winning novels set in the Amish community and several historical romances set during the Civil War. Her latest, Midnight on the Mississippi, first of a new mystery series, Secrets of the South, is set in New Orleans. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate, a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits. Mary enjoys traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming, and lives in Ohio with her husband, dog and cat. She can be found on the web at: www.maryellis.net or https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mary-Ellis/126995058236

 I hope you’ll look for Midnight on the Mississippi at your favorite bookstore or online retailers:

Available at CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/1-midnight-on-the-mississippi/mary-ellis/9780736961691/pd/961690?event=Fiction

At Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Mississippi-Secrets-South-Mysteries/dp/0736961690/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436816683&sr=1-1&keywords=midnight+on+the+mississippi

And at Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/midnight-on-the-mississippi-mary-ellis/1120894147?ean=9780736961691


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