Monday, 14 March 2016

It’s not rocket science, but that doesn’t make it easy!

with guest blogger Rachael Johns
Australian women's fiction author Rachael Johns

Excuse me if this blog post is a little all over the place. My house almost burnt down this week, I’m in the midst of HELLISH revisions for my next women’s fiction, and the proposal for my next category romance was just rejected. That’s right, rejection happens even after you’re published and it hurts just as bad. Needless to say, this week things have been a little hectic in my life – my brain switching between dealing with insurance companies, trying to make The Art of Keeping Secrets (next WF) even better, and working out a total new plot for my next category romance (a Special Edition in my new series The McKinnels of Jewell Rock).



These days I’m a commercial fiction writer – I do this gig for my full-time job and I get paid (yay) to do it. This sounds like a dream come true, right? And, of course, in many ways it is. But things have changed from when I was first writing ALL those years ago (1997 to be exact) and only dreaming of being published.

In those days I stole time to write on weekends, when my kids napped or when my husband watched TV at night, but these days I wave my tribe off to school and work, and then I sit down at the computer and write. I do this whether I want to or not, whether the muse is playing nice or AWOL, because I have contracts, deadlines and private school fees to pay.

And like any job, it’s NOT ALWAYS EASY.



There are bad reviews, edits from publishers that make you want to throw yourself off cliffs and sometimes a book you really want to write isn’t the book your employer wants you to write, so you have to come up with something new. You have to manufacture an idea. I find this particularly hard because I am not one of those writers who has exercise books full of ideas for future novels. And the more books I write, the more I doubt about whether I’m actually any good at writing books at all.

You have to have a tough skin and you have to be resilient to write fiction for a living; a bunch of really wonderful writing friends who understand the highs and lows is also a must. You have to be able to write through crippling self-doubt and disappointment, and even when your muse is nowhere in sight.

With being a full-time writer comes the responsibility of being able to keep coming up with fresh story ideas, to write a book that is even BETTER than your last one. I’m blessed to have a whole host of devoted readers who are waiting for my next book, but with this comes a kind of pressure that wasn’t there when writing was essentially a hobby. It might not be brain surgery or rocket science but life as a commercial fiction writer is NOT for the faint-hearted.


A few of Rachael Johns published works

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot I love about being an author – getting new covers, seeing my books on shelves, getting reader letters from die-hard fans, and of course the fact I get to work from home in my PJs. But I just want to get it out there that getting published might seem like a massive hurdle when you’re first starting out, but be prepared for the fact that publication is only the first mountain you will have to climb.

Love to Love: Nashville (totally addicted at the moment). Oh, and my house not burning down this week – that was pretty cool!

Love to Laugh: With English comedian, Michael McIntyre – his stand-up skits about parenting are hilarious (check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFQfylQ2Jgg)

Love to Learn: about plot. I love craft books and usually I buy them and barely look at them, but right now I’m reading AlexandraSokoloff’s Writing Love: Screenwriting Tricks for Authors 2 and I’m thoroughly enjoying it! 








An excerpt from Rachael Johns' March 2016 release...
Outback Sisters

Frankie and Simone are sisters and best friends. Could a new man in town drive a wedge between them for the first time ever?

Cafe owner Frankie has been unlucky in love all her life. It’s hard in a small town like Bunyip Bay to meet prospective partners. Her sister, Simone, lost the love of her life years before and is now devoted to raising their two teenage girls, leaving little time for romance. When Frankie is kissed by a handsome stranger who calls her Simone, it’s a case of mistaken identity – but who is this man and how does he know Simone?


Read more and purchase via Rachael's website.



29 comments:

  1. Excellent post, Rach. The realities of this biz can sometimes come as a shock. I don't think any of us understands how bloody difficult it can be sometimes.
    Which is why this is so true: "a bunch of really wonderful writing friends who understand the highs and lows is also a must." Yup, an absolute must.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay...collating my pre-publication author's checklist:
      "...really wonderful writing friends..." Check.

      Delete
    2. Couldn't get through without you, Cathryn! x

      Delete
  2. Rachael, thank you for this frank look at the highs and lows of writing. It's an eye opener for sure, but a good one.
    And for those that have yet to read it...I absolutely loved The Patterson Girls (by Rachael Johns). I read it, thinking Rachael must be from a big family like mine because she had each of the sisters' personalities down so well!! If you haven't read it, do it now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome Dee. I was hoping it wasn't TOO depressing! Last week I was at an all time low so it could be a wee bit TOO honest! And thanks so much for loving THE PATTERSON GIRLS :) x

      Delete
  3. Thank you for the tips about being published, Rachael. Very insightful revelation of just what it means when you first 'get the call' from a publisher. Proves to those who don't write and think writing is easy that it really isn't. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome Enisa - I'm all for us in the business being open and honest about the realities with each other. As well as celebrating and enjoying the highs of course :) x

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Thanks m'dear. You are one of those writing friends I couldn't live without :) x

      Delete
  5. Hi Rachael, I'm just beginning to learn about the other side of being published. The need for self-promotion (which I find so hard), the worry of bad reviews (none as yet/fingers crossed), the pressure of writing another book. Yep, as you say, it isn't easy, but as you also say, there are a lot of things to love about being an author. Love your books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Firstly HUGE congrats - I'm seeing THE FARMER'S WIFE everywhere and I can't WAIT to read it. I know if I can keep going then so can you and we'll be seeing another book from you on the shelves VERY soon! xx

      Delete
    2. Thanks so much Rachael! Really appreciate your encouraging words(and to sitting at your table at the ARRA High Tea this coming weekend). :)

      Delete
  6. Hi Rachel, thanks for writing such a great blog especially with all that is happening in your world at the moment...Wow... house nearly burning down that is scary. I am currently writing book number three with a deadline looming to near for my liking and all that you mentioned I am feeling, worrying if it will be good enough, feeling guilty I am spending too much time writing and not enough time doing other things - like housework and feeding the family... like you I write even when I don't want to. Like any other job you have your good days and bad. And no one else is going to write the book for you...Regarding rejection after publication I know one author who had eight crime fiction books published then number nine was rejected and she gave up writing. There is certainly no guarantees in this world is there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sending some hugs your way, Karen. This business is definitely not for the faint hearted, but I KNOW you can finish that 3rd book by deadline and that it'll be awesome. I think sometimes we need others to have the faith FOR us. And that's sad re that crime writer, although maybe she's enjoying life back on the other side. lol. xx

      Delete
  7. Thanks for this insight! As you know I have just enrolled in Creative writing (and a second major maybe in publishing) and I know it won't be easy. I just have to decide later down the track if I write for me or for others! I have s few years away. I have written a few stories but I have stopped for now until I leave more about how to do it better!

    So thank you for the honest side that I dread the most!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Honestly Tris, I don't think you should be stopping while you learn. The ONLY real way to become a write is to WRITE. xx

      Delete
    2. Hi Tris, Miranda here from last week's column on this blog, Miranda's Musings. We have a book from last week donated by Valerie Parv, The Art of Romance Writing, that we'd love to give you. Just send your details to breathlessinthebush@gmail.com and we'll sort that out. Happy writing!

      Delete
    3. Calling Tris!! Sorry if you sent your details for your prize book to the above email, there's been a few hiccups. Can you either send your full name and address to:
      mirandamuse15@gmail.com
      or...
      message Valerie Parv on Facebook, and The Art of Writing Romance will wing it's way to you! Sorry about the delay!

      Delete
  8. Wonderful post Rachael - honest, brave and wise. Thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. I'm sure you understand :) x

      Delete
  9. Thanks for this Rachael. There's always an upside and a down side. Hopefully the upside wins... Most of the time, anyhow! Thank you for your creativity and generosity in sharing. Hope the house incident does not repeat, and the revision work. And that the next book is NOT rejected!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Rachael

    Hugs to you for all that you go through to give us readers such great stories Authors amaze me with their imagination that gives us the stories and take us on some wonderful journeys around the world ☺

    Have Fun
    Helen

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks for your honesty Rachael. You continue to be an inspiration to me and now even more so because of your transparency. Until I started writing I had no idea how thick my skin needed to be. Every second day I decide to give up on this hobby. Then on alternate days I dream of writing full time. Thank God for new friends I've met who keep me encouraged. And of course readers. Without them there would be no point.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Don't stop writing, Tris. The more you write, the more you learn about the mechanics of it. Read your own work aloud - its a great tool for judging rhythm, sentence length and realistic dialogue. Find yourself a fellow student, friend, or tutor who is willing to give some feedback. It's extremely helpful. ��

    ReplyDelete
  13. Sharing what it's like to be published, the highs and lows is a very generous act. As you know, writers are faced with obstacles of our own making as much as getting our beautiful stories accepted. Good on you for having courage to be a writer and keep going with it in the face of your house nearly burning down and receiving that proposal rejection. You definitely have what it takes and have earned your success. Thanks for sharing and inspiring.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Nearly losing your house must have been so scary Rachael. I'm so glad you are all safe. It was comforting to know that everyone goes through highs and lows in this industry. As a newbie published author I feel like I am still very much learning as I go and the nerves about the second book are really starting to play havoc with my head. I'm lucky to have writer friends who don't think I'm losing it, even if I feel like I am sometimes. Thanks for a great post and for your great books.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I just told my bestest writing buddy that I don't think I can make it to RWA this year. Not because of the money or motherly commitments, but because I feel like a failure. I had rejections coming on a daily basis and that s*it hurts.
    So, thank you for your post, Rach. I really needed to read it.
    Sending hugs your way...or wine. I'm not generous enough to send both. ;)

    ReplyDelete

We love getting comments. Why not leave one?!