Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Writing Successfully from International Best Selling Author, RaShelle Workman

The awesome Alex J. Cavanaugh asked me to share some tips for writing successfully. Thanks for having me. 

Here they are:

1) SELECT YOUR TEAM. Whether you want to publish traditionally or independently, you should have a rocking team in place. For the traditional route you'll need beta readers and an editor or two. As an indie, you'll need a cover designer, beta readers, an editor or two, and a formatter. You might also need a publicist and a personal assistant. 

2) EMBRACE CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM. Listen to those you trust. I'm not talking family. They love everything. =) I'm talking about editors and beta readers whose opinions you respect. Allow your story the freedom to grow to its greatest potential.  

I'm going to reveal an insecure truth about myself. Sometimes I think my stuff sucks and I wonder why in the world anyone would want to read what I've written. Then I tell myself (yes, I talk to myself - LOL) that's false. And I remember I've sold more than 700,000 copies of my books and received thousands of amazing reviews. They can't all be wrong. Sometimes our worst enemy is the one within. Know when to tell those insecure voices to shut the hell up. Keep on keeping on. 

4) WRITE WHAT YOU LOVE. There are those who believe it's good to write with the trends. They say that's where the money is and we ALL want to make money. I know I do. And writing to trend may bring temporary success. But to stay in the business of telling stories for the long hall means writing what excites. It also means being comfortable with the fact that the story you tell may never make it "big." My Immortal Essence series hasn't been as financially successful as my Blood and Snow series. At least not yet. =) I still have hope the masses will fall in love with an alien girl from another planet who is exiled to Earth. If they never do, that's okay. The series is one of my favorites. Most importantly without it I wouldn't have been able to write Blood and Snow. 

Traditional editors are still saying paranormal doesn't sell, that contemporary romance is where it's at. And for the traditional world I've no doubt they're right, but that doesn't change the fact that I enjoy writing about witches and vampires and retelling fairy tales that just so happen to live in Salem, MA. It's where my heart is. Luckily I've been able to reach readers who like those things as well. 

5) BE FEARLESS. Remember the publishing world is constantly changing. Allow yourself to move with the ebb and flow. You're going to have amazing sales months and then months that aren't so awesome. That's the nature of the publishing beast. It doesn't mean readers quit liking YOU, it just means you need to fearlessly wait for it to come back around. It will. Find new ways to promote. Don't give up on your stories. 

There you have it. The writing tips I live by. 
Hope they help you on your writing journey. 
If you ever have questions, please feel free to reach out. 

RaShelle Workman is the author of the popular Blood and Snow series. She loves to reinvent fairy tales teens and adults can sink their teeth into. Her stories include vampires, werewolves, witches, aliens, and creatures of her own creation. Her books: Sleeping Roses, Exiled, Beguiled, and Dovetailed have foreign rights contracts with a Turkish publisher. RaShelle is also one of the co-founders of Indie Recon LIVE. Currently, she lives in Utah with her husband, three children, and their three dogs.

Connect With RaShelle


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

New ways to promote - working on it!
Thanks, RaShelle - you rock.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Considering how much paranormal is still being produced, I'd say those traditional editors are wrong, because the audience is still there.

Peaches Ledwidge said...

Very good tips, RaShelle. Your profile picture rocks, too.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I like the advice about accepting that not all your books are going to be big sellers. My favorites series isn't my bestseller either. Maybe someday.

Fundy Blue said...

Powerful tips, RaShelle! Thank you for sharing your expertise on the ISWG. It's inspiring to those of us who aren't published yet.

Author Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you for this encouraging, empowering post. I feel all jazzed up. : )

Author Leanne Dyck said...

The other problem with following the trends is... It's almost impossible to accomplish because trends change so fast and getting published takes so much longer.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

You have a great work ethic. When Alex mentioned you would be here Wednesday I had to check out your post and I'm glad I did. Being fearless and surrounding yourself with both knowledgeable and supportive people is essential to success in many things including writing books. Thank you stopping by.

RaShelle Workman said...

Alex - you rock!
L. Diane Wolfe ~ I agree.
Peaches ~ Thank you!
Susan ~ It's true. And def someday! =)
Fundy ~ Good luck.
Leanne ~ Jazzed is good. And yes, trends are like fads - they come and go.
Shenna-kay ~ I'm so glad to be here. And it's so true.

J.L. Campbell said...

Congrats on your success, RaShelle. It is true to say that the critic within is dangerous if we let ourselves be paralyzed into inactivity.

Cathrina Constantine said...

Good Advice!! Still looking into new ways to promote without spending a fortune!

Pat Hatt said...

New ways to promote can sure be the hardest part to find sometimes, but have to keep looking.

Christine Rains said...

Excellent advice! Sometimes it's hard to take criticism, but it's so important in growing as a writer and putting out the best story you can do.

RaShelle Workman said...

J.L. ~ Exactly. A certain level is good because (at least for me) it pushes me to write better, but when that inner "evil" makes it so you stop writing, it's not good at all. =)

Cathrina & Pat ~ I think we all are looking for the best ways to market. Have you tried FB ads? They are kind of hit or miss, but can be effective.

Christine ~ I like to let my editors criticize. With them, my books become better. =)

Michelle Wallace said...

Wow! 700 000 copies is mind-blowing...
Thanks for the advice.
Such an inspirational post!

Tyrean Martinson said...

New ways to promote - just had an idea yesterday from my hubs. He suggested making "introduction" letters with little pamphlets (trifolds) to give to church pastors in our area - but not to mail, to walk into their office - because I've written Christian Fantasy and because I've had better "face-to-face" sales than online sales so far . . . so, I'm off to start that project and I hope it works. (oh, and in the letter, offer a writer's workshop/writer's talk)

Maybe we can all introduce ourselves to interested readers somehow - Renaissance Faires, Scifi/Fantasy conventions, etc with flyers/bookmarks.

Anonymous said...

I think my favorite is, "Write what you love." There's something about writing when it's written with a passionate, heartwarming perspective that makes it shine!

RaShelle Workman said...

Michelle ~ You're welcome. =)

Tyrean ~ Good luck with your idea.

M. J. ~ So true.

Caryn Caldwell said...

GREAT advice! A good team is worth everything! And I wish I could be fearless. It's something I'm working on, so thanks for the reminder to keep attempting it.

klahanie said...

Hi human,RaShelle,

All excellent points from an esteemed human writer such as your good self.

Pawsonally, I also think that writing to just the one person and never an audience, is a must. Make it intimate. Make the reader feel like they are part of the story. Indeed, write from the heart.

Thank you for this, my human friend.

Pawsitive wishes,

Penny :)

T.L. Kvanvig said...

Sorry, I wanted to post as myself not anonymously as Graywolf.

I agree the characters are what matter. I look at any books I've loved, or any tv shows I've really enjoyed, it was always about the human condition. What people go through. Even sci - fi / fantasy stuff expresses the human condition in terms of how we relate to others different from ourselves.

That to me is what makes writing exciting. What about the human condition do I want to convey, the human drive to persevere? The human ability to love despite a sucky day, week, or lifetime. The human ability to overcome.

And of course the failings. How much of our own issues do we cause. All of that is expressible in a series of characters to bring out things we like and dislike about ourselves.

The plot and setting, are just mechanisms for showing the human condition.

It'd be interesting to do an exercise on creating character profiles using descriptive writing.