NaNoWriMo Tip #30: The best advice I can give you is this: “Last author standing.”


Forget the Rolling Stones. I always wanted to be a Rockbottom Remainder.

You know: that grunge band made up of bestselling authors, like  Dave Barry, Amy Tan, Mitch Albom, Scott Turow, Roy Blount, Jr., Greg Iles, James McBride, Ridley Pearson and Kathi Kamen Goldmark.

I've had one impediment, and it ain't my singing:

It's that niggling issue of actually making the New York Times Bestseller list.

And doing it again. And again, and again.

But I won't stop trying.

My mantra: Last author standing.

With it, I've beaten the odds and actually gotten published.

In fact, in regard to my publishing record, I've been blessed. Ten years ago I reached a very big dream: I had not one, but two books published by New York publishing houses. And as of December 9th of this year I will have had twenty novels and four non-fiction books published: five of them, traditionally by New York  houses — Simon & Schuster, Pearson/Alpha, St. Martin's Press, and HarperCollins — whereas the rest self-pub'd, including my best-selling Housewife Assassin series, and my best-selling Totlandia series.

I am living my dream: making a comfortable living as a writer, and living in the city that is my heart and soul: San Francisco.

But it hasn't all been a bed of roses.

I've had my fair share of agent changes and editor rejections. Some occurred while one family member fought cancer and survived, and another did not. 

Like so other authors in the past couple of years, I had a book contract dropped when it was obvious that Borders wasn't going to make it–and ironically, Borders sold a good chunk of my books. 

But I'm surviving. 

In fact, I can say I'm thriving in this business. My readers found me, love me, and anticipate my next novel. 

Because I hung in there.

I believed in my mantra: Last author standing.

My literary agent paid me the biggest compliment regarding this vow by saying, “I quote you on it, to my other authors.”

I thanked her. I hope they thank her too. She believes what I do:

If you're going to accomplish your dream, you have to stay in the game

To survive in a business that is ever-changing, this has to be your mantra too.

With what you've accomplished in NaNoWriMo, you've proven you can write.

Now, time to sell it. To an agent who will love it, and cheer-lead it to editors.

To let readers find you and love you.

Or to self-publish it.

No matter which path you take, give it your all–and never stop promoting your book. Never give up on the dream that you can be make your fiction a financial and personal success. 

I hope these tips have helped you. I wrote them because I believe in you.

Because you deserve success, too. 

Now, finish the job.

Make your dream a reality.

(c) 2011 Josie Brown. All Rights Reserved

The photo above: The Rockbottom Remainders





Question of the day: Do you have a mantra, that keeps you writing, despite the odds?

Happy post-National Novel Writing Month,

— Josie


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