Jodi Thomas on Keeping Your Career Going (31 Years, 50 Books, 15 Novellas)
This September I will have been a selling writer for 31 years. Fifty books. Fifteen novellas. I’ve attended the death of my career so many times I’ve worn out the black dress.
When talking to beginning writers, I always mention learning the craft and the market, then I suggest they read everything and write as often as possible. But what I should be adding in the top ten list is learn to fall. In fact, when the roof is tumbling, jump!
Rules for Jumping:
1. Rejection is part of this game so put on a parachute and develop a plan when you face a downward turn. Worse rejection I’ve ever received: “We’re not interested in your story and we also read for these small publishing houses and they don’t want it either.”
Keep chocolate in the hiding place for the first impact.
Wine for later when you have to tell your writing buddies.
Take a day off and watching movies.
Cook your favorite meal or better yet, eat it out.
Go shopping for an hour on-line and then leave it all in your basket.
I know one writer whose plan is to always have sex in a new place when bad news comes in. All I have to say about that is, watch out for fire ants.
2. This is an up and down game. Buckle up and enjoy the ride. When you’re up, don’t believe your own press. When you’re down, look at it as an opportunity to change your style. I usually say stay in one line when you start, and don’t switch genres or change names. But when a road runs out, it’s time to look for another.
3. One hard lesson is hitting the mat. Sometimes you’ve got to turn loose in order to grow. An idea is like a new boyfriend or lover. Everything looks great at first. But then the idea dies and you find yourself dragging it around to every critique group hoping for fresh eyes. You dress up the plot. Add a little humor to the dialogue. Upgrade your setting.
But the idea is still lying in the coffin stiff as ever.
There is only one thing to do! Stand on your balcony and toss your once lovely idea over. Until you do, other ideas won’t come to visit.
4. Don’t always believe your editor when she says your career is over. I got the call, “Your last book didn’t do too well. We probably won’t buy your next.” Or, “We’re closing your line and don’t have anywhere for you.”
Just smile and say ‘nice working with you’ because the editor has just given you options. You can change houses, change genres, move to self-publishing, take six months off and write that new book you’ve always wanted to write or better yet write a series.
At book five in my career I was told I’d peaked. That was five RITA’s ago.
5. And last, enjoy the flight whether your headed up or down, you’ve got a great view. You’ve chosen a career everyone wishes they had. You’re meeting fascinating people and some of them may be real.
Mark Twain once said that compared to writing, horse racing is a stable occupation. Maybe he was right, but the gamble is worth the try.
When we’re all done and sitting around the home, which would you rather say, “I played as hard and fast as I could,” or “I never ran into the game because I was afraid of falling.”
Mistletoe Miracles - Ransom Canyon
A small-town Texas Christmas story, where hearts are lost, love is found, and family always brings you back home.
Griffin Holloway is desperate: the Maverick Ranch has been in his family for generations, but lately, it’s a money pit. He’d sooner marry one of his horses than sell the ranch. Marriage, though, could be a solution. If he can woo a wealthy bride, he might save the ranch—just in time for Christmas.
Jaxon O’Grady likes his solitude just fine, thank you very much. But when a car accident brings the unexpected to his door, he realizes just how much one person can need another.
Crossroads is the perfect place for Jamie Johnson: avoiding nosy questions about why she’s single, she’s happy to keep to her lakeside home. So she’s baffled when she gets the strangest Christmas present of all, in the form of a Mr. Johnson, asleep on her sofa. Who is he, and why does everyone think he’s her husband?
In this uplifting novel, three unlikely couples discover just what Crossroads, Texas, can offer: romance, belonging, and plenty of Christmas spirit.
A fifth generation Texan, Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state.
When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, Tom, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo, and "checking up" on their two grown sons.