Brooke Moss Lists the Top Ten Things She’s Learned Since Getting Published

on November 7, 2011

UPDATE:  Congrats to Debbie for winning a copy of THE WHAT IF GUY!

Hi everyone!  Brooke Moss, whose book THE ‘WHAT IF’ GUY, was just released by Entangled Publishing , agreed to drop by today with some information and a GIVEAWAY!  So, here’s Brooke….

First off, I have to say, thanks for having me, Rebecca! I am honored to be a part of your blog, and quickly becoming a fan of your Dark Protectors series. I decided to share the top ten things I’ve learned since becoming a published author. Believe me, I’ve learned a lot. Talk about a baptism by fire…

1.) People will not take you more seriously, or give you more respect, just because you’re a published author. In fact, I’ve found that some friends and family members give me more grief because I am now a published author. I’ve come back to the advice my mother gave me in high school: “If you are a good, honest person, the right people will like you and treat you with respect. If you act like a moron, people will treat you like one.” Thanks, Mom. Right again.

2.) Your work is never done. Once your book is finished, the work will not only continue, but double in size. Blogs, contests, tweeting—oh how I loathe thee, Twitter—your work isn’t done once you’ve sold your book. Oh, and lest we not forget the pressure a writer feels to continue writing good books, to keep their career going. Oy vey. So keep writing…even if you feel like taking a month—or seven—off. If you want your career to keep going, the work won’t stop anytime soon. And if you want to be a career writer, you’ll be okay with that.

3.) No matter how much you polish it to a gleaming shine…backstory will always be a problem. Nobody wants to know that your heroine broke her arm playing badminton in the seventh grade. Your reader will almost always skip over the part in your book where you describe the night the hero decided that going into medicine was the right path for him to take in life. What do they want to read? The hero and heroine fighting, laughing, making out, or—even better—getting their freak on. Period. The other stuff is moot. My advice? Cut the fat. Keep your backstory to a minimum, and don’t fight your editor when he/she asks you to scale back.

4.) Nobody will publish a dialogue tag whore. No, really. Get on the computer, and Google the term “dialogue tag abuse”. Read everything you can. Take notes if you need too. He said, she said, he said, she said, he said, she said…YAWN. Find new and exciting ways to explain what the characters are doing during their conversation.

5.) Bloggers are an author’s best friend. Okay, so here’s another misconception I diluted myself with before getting published: Once your book comes out, that’s it. Your work is done, and you get to move on to bigger and better projects. Um….no. Not a chance. Sitting around waiting for readers to come to you is like shooting yourself in the foot. As an author, you have a responsibility to get your books out there for public consumption. And if you can’t manage it by yourself, then hire a publicist to help. (My publicist is AH-Mazing. Literally couldn’t live without her.) You need to get your book out to as many book bloggers with broad audiences as possible. Offer them free copies of your book (I know, it’s painful sometimes. Take a breath, it will be worth it, I promise.) in exchange for an honest review. And if you don’t get a stellar review, try not to throw a hissy fit, and plan revenge. (this actually didn’t come naturally to me—but again, my publicist is not only talented at setting up reviews, but at talking me off of the proverbial ledge.) And never, ever run your mouth. Every blogger is entitled to their opinion, good or bad. Bloggers are often times who will bring readers to your book. Treat them nicely. Always.

6.) You are not the only talented author out there. Unfortunately, I discovered that it won’t always be the “Brooke Moss Show”. This was a painful pill to swallow, because I was really keen on being the coolest, most talented writer in America. But it took a writer’s conference or two, as well as becoming part of the talented team of writers working for Entangled Publishing, to teach me that I am amongst good company. There are writers who are every bit as talented as me, if not better by leaps and bounds. I should be thanking them for associating with me. A fat slice of humble pie will do every new author on the block good.

7.) Your political views are no longer a good topic for Facebook statuses and blog post topics. Ah, yes…this was a tough one for me. Most people who know me are aware that I tend to be a bit of a *ahem* political firecracker. I was the queen of posting my views on Facebook or my blog, in the hopes that I would wind up in a heated political debate. I loved it! However, shortly after I got my contract, I asked Kristan Higgins (my personal hero) for some advice on managing my online presence, and she said that she keeps personal subjects (religion, politics, etc.) off of her public forums. After I kicked the wall and pouted for a day or two, I realized that she was totally right. I don’t want to ostracize a reader, no matter what their political affiliation is. That is a book sale lost. And so…..I refrain. Even when it might kill me.

8.) The publishing game is all about waiting. The managing editor at Entangled Publishing told me something about a week after I was contracted that has stuck with me. In the world of publishing, there is a serious amount of waiting. You send an email, you wait for a response. You leave a voicemail, you wait for a return call. You send your edits to your editor, you wait for the next round. You send a full to your publisher to consider, you wait for a response. Period. The waiting is the same for everyone, and it give everyone a belly ache. (Well, unless your name is Nora Roberts. Then I think the turn around time is quick. Frankly, my name isn’t Nora, and so I wait.) The sooner you accept this, and learn to open a new document and start a new story while you’re waiting, the better off you’ll be. And your stomach will be. Ugh.

9.) An author needs to keep strengthening their craft. Never assume that you are as good as you’re going to get. If you think you are, please go become a dental hygienist. Authors need to continually work on perfecting their craft. I wish I’d known before becoming published how important it is to budget for conferences. There is something about the camaraderie between fellow authors and the energy of a conference that can really ignite one’s muse, and teach new concepts, or introduce new characters. Let your skills grow, and do everything you can do cultivate it. Set aside some of your royalties to make these necessary trips happen. Your fans will thank you, as will your characters.

10.) You can do it. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I was told that I wouldn’t succeed. That I would never get published, or that I should forfeit my dreams for something more attainable. And in all honesty…I let the naysaying drive me. Turn someone else’s doubt into the gasoline filling your tank. You can do it!

Thanks for having me here on your blog, Rebecca. I had a lot of fun! I would love to offer a signed copy of my debut novel, The What If Guy, to a lucky reader. Leave a comment, and tell me what you’ve learned since entering this crazy world of publishing, either as an aspiring or a published author. I can’t wait to share my book with everyone. Find me elsewhere on the web, at my website, blog, Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook.