I am happy to share a guest post from author Cindy Lynn Speer, who answers my question...
ELF: What would I tell a new author?
CLS: I would tell a new author that there are two things in your control, and one thing out of it.
The one thing that is out of your control is luck. I know people say “I make my own luck” -- but there is a difference between working hard and persevering (which I will speak of in a second) and things aligning right. You send a manuscript out into the world and you are completely unable to do anything to direct the outcome. The person who opens the MS might have had an argument with their lover, might have stayed awake all night worrying about something that happened to them…they might have passed a book store with a book that sounds just a tiny bit like yours.
But that’s actually great. Because if you do the work you are supposed to ahead of time, it’s not your fault.
That means you should work on the two things you can control and not worry about what you cannot. Don’t let yourself be discouraged, because as long as you present a clean, edited manuscript to people you researched, followed the guidelines on their website…the fact they say no has nothing to do with you or the quality of your work. They just said no. Maybe it’s not really their cuppa. That’s OK. Maybe they just sold something vaguely like it -- or failed to -- and are not in the mood to work with you. That’s OK. The same thing goes for readers, really. You can control the quality, but you cannot control what they will think or do about it. And that, too, is fine.
You can control your book. Talent is the first thing you need, and a talent for writing should be honed, developed…and your work, short story, novel, whatever, must be honed and perfected, too. You only get really good at anything by practicing, getting words down on paper, polishing the words until they gleam and move the heart or excite the mind. Do whatever you have to do to create the best story possible.
You can control the work you put into the selling of your story. Research and figure out the best social media plan, get an understanding for how the publishing world works and your choices. Do you want to take a shot at being traditionally published, do you want to go it alone? What do you need to do to give yourself the best chance of success? Part of that is sheer research -- you need to make sure you don’t just send your book off to someone who does not care for your type of book. And some of it is nodding, going OK, and just moving on. Perseverance, in some ways, is the most important thing here, because it is so very hard to no give up. Giving up, moving to another hobby, chilling in front of the TV -- it is so much easier than putting yourself out there to be judged. But it is worth while.
And a bonus thing -- always be kind to yourself. None of this is easy.
by Cindy Lynn Speer
GENRE: Fantasy Mystery
The Chocolatier's Wife: ROMANCE, MAGIC, MYSTERY.... AND CHOCOLATE
A truly original, spellbinding love story, featuring vivid characters in a highly realistic historical setting.
When Tasmin's bethrothed, William, is accused of murder, she gathers her wind sprites and rushes to his home town to investigate. She doesn't have a shred of doubt about his innocence. But as she settles in his chocolate shop, she finds more in store than she bargained for. Facing suspicious townsfolk, gossiping neighbors, and William's own family, who all resent her kind - the sorcerer folk from the North -- she must also learn to tell friend from foe, and fast. For the real killer is still on the loose - and he is intent on ruining William's family at all cost.
The Chocolatier’s Ghost Married to her soul mate, the chocolatier William, Tasmin should not have to worry about anything at all. But when her happily ever after is interrupted by the disappearance of the town’s wise woman, she rushes in to investigate. Faced with dangers, dead bodies, and more mysterious disappearances, Tasmin and William must act fast to save their town and themselves – especially when Tasmin starts to be haunted by a most unwelcome ghost from her past…literally.
The Chocolatier’s Ghost is an enchanting sequel to Cindy Lynn Speer’s bestselling romantic mystery, The Chocolatier's Wife.
from...The Chocolatier’s Wife
Murder. Funny, how the idea of one’s future husband killing someone made headaches go away. It was not that she could not conceive that he was a killer; anyone who read the shipping information at the back of the newspaper, listing, among other things, the manifests of pirate ships that had been taken and destroyed, would know William was quite capable of killing. But, she reasoned, that was hot blooded killing, it was not murder. Poisoning someone with chocolate required coldness and cunning.
She moved at last, only enough to take her hair down. She stared at the pins in her hands. No. She could not believe that William was capable of cunning. He was smart, aye. But practical smart. Not without imagination, of course, you could not accuse a man who wanted to make chocolates of a lack of imagination, but he was also not the sort of man to go around blithely killing people with the very product he hoped to sell. She could not believe it.
After a while, the surprise wearing off, she tried to imagine the two paths her life might take. She thought of being at the university. She had trained there, and so she had friends as well as colleagues among the staff. Eventually she would have the seniority to teach only the advanced students, perhaps even ascend to the Circle, as her mother hoped. A life of teaching and learning how to use herbs, divining the secret meanings hidden in the wind, the rain, and the veins of leaves was hers. She was no master wizard, but she was very, very good, and she knew her life was mapped out for her here, a scholarly life of respect and decent wages and wanting for nothing. It was, clearly, a good life, which was why her family wanted it for her.
Then there was William. She tried to imagine him, blurry in her mind, by her side. A life of children, shop-keeping. It did not seem as glamorous or interesting, though she trusted she would be able to continue her studies and believed that William would provide for her, but her fame would be as his wife alone. No one would remember her save their children. Still, it was not without its appeal, the idea of having someone who was all yours, someone to curl up against in the winter. It was harder to imagine the future, here, for she knew so little in comparison. The unknown could hold pain as well as joy.
She sighed, and went to bed, in a restless attempt at sleep for what remained of the night.
When she came down the next day she had two cases in her hands, and she was wearing her best traveling clothes. Her family looked up at her from their breakfast, as she put the heavier of the two down, her hands switching the other bag back and forth, nervous and moist on the hard, wooden handle. “You see,” she said by way of good-morning-and-here’s-my-explanation, “the problem is that I rather like him.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Cindy Lynn Speer has been writing since she was 13. She has Blue Moon and Unbalanced published by Zumaya. Her other works, including The Chocolatier’s Wife (recently out in an illustrated hardcover to celebrate its 10th anniversary) and the Chocolatier’s Ghost, as well as the short story anthology Wishes and Sorrows. When she is not writing she is either practicing historical swordsmanship, sewing, or pretending she can garden. She also loves road trips and seeing nature. Her secret side hobby is to write really boring bios about herself. You can find out more about her at www.cindylynnspeer.com, or look for her on Facebook (Cindy Lynn Speer) and Twitter (cindylynnspeer).
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