I wanted to share this Q&A between my publicist Natalie Obando and me for her website: www.DoGoodPR.com. My hope is that other writers might find a nugget of inspiration from my circuitous journey to publication.
Natalie: I hear authors give many excuses when it comes time to talk about getting published and why they aren’t yet. I hear it time and time again:
“I don’t have time.”
“I won’t get published.”
“I have REAL responsibilities.”
No matter what the excuse, the problem remains the same, you aren’t living your full potential.
I chat with writers all the time and the main reason they aren’t yet published authors is the fact that life just gets in the way for them. Kids, husband or wife, school, career, and so many more excuses tend to get in the way of your life-long dream of becoming a published author. This was also true for author Robin Finn, author of Restless In L.A. Today she is celebrating her second week in a row as an Amazon Bestselling Author for her book, that she almost didn’t finish.
Take a look at her interview below to get some motivation and inspiration from someone who has been there and done that!
N: How did you find time to write as a wife/mother?
Robin: Writing the novel was the easy part. Once I began writing“Restless in L.A.,” it simply poured out of me, night and day, for months. I still refer to it as “the divine download” because it felt like something took over and all I could do was write. It was an effortless feeling of inspiration. But then came revisions. And queries. And letting people know I wrote a book. That was the hard part.
When I first came out of hiding as a novelist, the most frequent response from people was: Where did you find the time? Everyone who knew I wrote a book asked me that very question. Often accompanied by a look of incredulity. It’s true that I have three children and, in those days, they were all under the age of thirteen. It was a very hectic time of soccer practices, karate, singing lessons, and field-trip chaperoning. But once I made up my mind to write the book, I threw off the chains of resistance, and it was easy. I wrote at soccer practice, in my car, late at night after the kids were in bed, as I was waiting in reception at my children’s dental appointments. But when I started to believe finding writing time was hard, it got harder.
For me, and perhaps for all creative people, there is always resistance to doing your work. It’s like going to the gym. Even though you know you should, it’s hard to get there but once you do, the workout can be exhilarating. I love writing but once the first draft poured out, I suffered from tremendous resistance to keep going. It wasn’t just that people told me it must be hard; it was that I was looking for an excuse to stop. Deep down, I was afraid and unsure and scared. And now I had the perfect excuse to stop: I had no time.
A writing teacher once called the voice of self-sabotage an inner gremlin. I could see mine perfectly. He looked like a muppet with black fuzzy hair and a gold tooth. Once he saw my hesitation, once he could smell my uncertainty, he whispered in my ear all the reasons I could not write. One of his favorites was:You have three children and no time! Telling him to shut up didn’t work. I had to uncover the truth for myself. The truth was that I had time in my life to do the thing that mattered most and, for me, after my family came writing. Writing makes me feel on purpose. The mail may go unopened, I may go unshowered, and the kid’s reading logs may go unsigned, but there is time for me to write, if I prioritize it above all else, save my kids being alive and fed. Since then, I’ve made a sort of peace with my gremlin. I pat him on the head, give him an M&M cookie, and set him in front of Barney—and then I write.
N: What was your journey to finding a publisher?
Robin: My journey to publication was circuitous to say the least. I sent out dozens of cold queries that resulted in manuscript requests and, ultimately, I landed an agent. I was thrilled! But the follow up did not go as planned. My agent sent the novel out to the Big Five and then months went by—of silence. After the Big Five passed on my novel, my agent became fairly unresponsive and, eighteen months later, I decided to move on without her. I sent my book out to new agents but it problematic that the novel had already been shopped. Since this was my first foray into publishing, I hadn’t anticipated that. I had some nibbles but no offers of representation. I thought signing with an agent meant I was “on my way.” But, two years later, I was back at square one. I was depressed and dejected. My inner gremlin gloated. “I told you so,” he said. “Give it up and learn origami.”
While I was feeling low, I reached out to a writer friend. Over lunch, she told me I needed to decide if I wanted to see my novel published and then follow through with my decision. She reminded me that there were many publishing options beyond the Big Five. I had heard this before many times, but this time it got through. I didn’t want my novel to languish in my laptop. I wanted it out in the world. I was going to make that happen. As is so often the case, once I had a clear intention of what I wanted, the path became easy. I sent my book out to small publishers and then met Melissa Keir of Inkspell Publishing. She loved the book and offered me a contract. I signed with her and Restless in L.A. was released February 27th.
N: What is it like to work with a publicist?
Robin: No one is going to be more passionate about your book and your career than you are. To me, it just made sense to hire a publicist to help me create a strategy to get visibility for RESTLESS IN L.A. No one was going to read it if they didn’t know it existed. Even though I had worked in PR earlier in my career, book publicity was not my area of expertise. Working with a publicist was a great support. Not only did she design and execute a visibility plan, but she is an expert in promotion. As an author, that is not my wheelhouse. I believe that my willingness to invest in my novel and my writing career is the key to my success. Not only do I have a better chance of raising awareness of my book but it conveys to me, and to everyone else, that I take myself and my work seriously. I am invested in my success. I found a publicist who understood my goals and worked with me to create a budget and a plan that was a great fit. She also helped me figure out how to move forward, well after the launch activities end. I see my investment in publicity as a long-term strategy that will help me with this book—and the next one. And the one after that. 🙂