When It Rains, It Pours

There’s something I’ve noticed about writing. Excuse me while I philosophize for a while. Often, writing itself, or sometimes doing things to do with writing, seems to create its own momentum.

For instance, if I feel I haven’t sold anything for a while, I’ll “cast bread upon the waters,” which to me means looking at calls for submissions, emailing to check on submissions that are already out, looking to see if I have any finished or partially-finished stories that I can send out in response to those calls, etc.. Or I’ll devote some time to promotional efforts, perhaps seeing if anyone needs a guest blog, or perhaps trying something new, like a new social media platform.

I won’t necessarily see immediate results from any of these actions, but action always feels better than nonaction, and eventually, I often do get results. I think part of it might be just thinking about writing…which makes me, well, think about writing, and move it to the front of my mind, which leads to me working more and better on writing, which leads to good results.

For instance, I didn’t do much writing for several months, but in December, I pulled out a novel synopsis from a while back. I reworked some of that synopsis into a new synopsis that could be a short story. I sent it to my agent, who submitted it to Harlequin. That was mid-December, when nothing much happens in publishing.

Recently, I finally went back to a novel I’d had to abandon and began reworking it into a shorter piece, 15 – 20,000 words. At the same time, I started having ideas for a new novel, and am working on a synopsis and worldbuilding for that. When I had a draft of the ex-novel, I found some first readers, and this week, I’ve been revising the draft in order to send it to them, for a look. Working on the shorter piece seemed to inspire me to have ideas for a new novel.

About a week ago, I heard back from my agent; Harlequin bought the story for Spice Briefs, the one for which I’d submitted a synopsis in December. It’s due several months from now, so I have plenty of time to write it. That sale gave me an idea for other potential submissions.

There’s not really a magical connection between all these events. But it sure feels like there is. We humans make patterns of random events, and I think we can manipulate that tendency to our advantage. If I see working on multiple projects brings a sale my way, isn’t it a way of encouraging myself to work on multiple projects? And it goes without saying that looking for places to submit, then submitting appropriate stories to them, is likely to lead to sales. Much likelier than, for example, not submitting stories is likely to lead to sales!

Every time I’ve dragged myself out of doldrums and cast bread on the waters (or maybe ducks are eating it), something good has come of it. Positive reinforcement never hurts!

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen’s first erotic novel, The Duchess, Her Maid, The Groom and Their Lover (Harlequin Spice, December 2008), was translated into French and German. Her second Spice novel, The Moonlight Mistress (December 2009), was translated into Italian and nominated for a RT Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her third novel is The Duke & The Pirate Queen (December 2010). She has also published erotic short stories as Elspeth Potter. Her blog features professional writing and marketing tips, genre discussion, book reviews, and occasional author interviews.
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8 Responses to When It Rains, It Pours

  1. Jeannie Lin says:

    Congrats on the Spice Briefs sale.

    I know what you mean when you say action is better than inaction. I’m in idea incubation phase right now and it’s making me feel rather restless because there’s nothing to write. Guess that’s a good sign though, right?

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  3. Thanks!

    Hmm, I wonder if research book shopping counts as action? *evil grin*

  4. HUGE congrats on the Spice Briefs sale!

    I totally know what you mean about action feeling better than inaction. It does eventually pay off, especially in this case. Hope the new novel ideas go just as well!

  5. Congrats on Spice Briefs
    BTW love your blog

  6. Thanks, Crystal and Abigail!

  7. Gwynne says:

    I always find working on multiple projects makes me cheerful (though I often have to remind myself to do it when hard at work on a novel).

    Congrats on the Spice Briefs sale!

    I LOVE that “Arrow White Shirt” ad…

  8. I could use some cheerful now and again. Thanks for the congrats!

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