Don’t give up

When I tell people that I’m a writer, I usually get one of two responses. The first is congratulatory on being published. The second is that it isn’t a big deal because anyone can be a writer.

Irving Thalberg, the famed Hollywood producer said, “What’s there to being a writer? You just put one word in front of the other?” He didn’t believe that screenwriters should get credit for anything. To this day, I see Hollywood doing little to honor book authors and screen writers. They are paid less than their worth. After all, there wouldn’t be a movie without plot and story. Actors get millions while writers get crumbs.

In the publishing world , a few authors make the best seller lists and gain critical acclaim as well as comfortable bank accounts. Celebrity and political stars get the lucrative contracts, employing ghostwriters who do the work without the credit. Struggling writers just get form rejection letters from secretaries.

Welcome to the world of being a writer and author.

The writer’s world isn’t easy. It’s a constant challenge wrought with perseverance, hours of labor, constant rejection and criticism. There are few “overnight successes” and paying dues by working one’s way up the ladder is a way of life.

I’ve been paying my dues for more years than I’d like to admit. I write because I have to. Writing is as natural and as necessary as breathing. It’s something I have done my entire life. From creating picture books for classmates in elementary school to crafting short romance novels for friends in high school, from pounding out 400 page manuscripts on my old Smith Corona manual typewriter in college to staying up until 4am when I had to get up at 6am for work, I have been writing.

Years later I was able to leave the corporate world (in sales and marketing) and pursue my craft full time. I began by writing articles for a small local newspaper. It was a learning experience in how to conduct interviews, crafting stories on varied topics, working with editors and editing copy. I even won a small press award for a profile. Using that experience, I moved up to writing for trade publications. I learned that having a specialty helps. I used my expertise in antique safes and vaults to regularly write about them and had my articles featured on the cover of an international trade magazine. I branched out to architecture, construction and design where I was the lead writer for a local trade magazine.

I progressed from writer to author. Utilizing my experience and connections, I was selected to write a local history book. When the coordinator left, I was commissioned to coordinate publication of the book as well.

Having experience, a web presence and networking led to my being contacted by an established New England publisher to write the text for a local photographic history book. Out of three authors considered, I won the job. I had two weeks to pour over photographs, research and write captions as well as create all of the text found in the book and on its cover. An additional week was for editing. Thus, my first hardcover coffee table book with a “real” publisher was for sale. Cleveland Ohio, A Photographic Portrait has been a steady seller. It’s being sold all over the City of Cleveland and even in other states and countries.

Writing women’s fiction novels has always been my joy. I joined Romance Writers of America, regularly met with a critique group and kept submitting and submitting to literary agents and editors. I received many “good” rejections. I knew that it wasn’t my writing but the fact than my plots were too unusual for a new author in a publishing world where the powers-that-be seem to want the same thing over and over.

I never gave up. Through the years, I met writers who were amazing literary geniuses with more talent than I can ever imagine. However, they gave up writing because rejection was too intimidating.

If you want something bad enough you don’t give up.

The world of electronic book publishing has changed the business of writing. More opportunities abound. Publishing avenues have opened beyond the traditional agent to editor submission process.

My first e-novel, Paradise Found, a multicultural romance set in the exotic Seychelles Islands was published by a small press. I learned about the new electronic book world.

With Crimson Romance, my favorite novels have found a home with the backing of a large publishing house. I have learned even more about he electronic world, about social media and promotion utilizing my marketing degree and experience.

My first romance with Crimson is Lab Test. This is a book-of-the-heart. It’s a humorous paranormal with a twist. The heroine is turned into a black Labrador Retriever who is adopted by the hero. Both learn the value of unconditional love and trust, both as dog and master and as a human pair. If you love dogs, especially black Labs, as I do, you will be able to relate to this adult fairy tale. Available for pre-order at Amazon and I-Tunes, the novel will be released June 4 as part of Crimson Romance’s debut. I love the cover because it captures the essence of the story. Who can resist a Lab?

My advice is to never give up. If there is something that you would like to pursue, like being a writer-author, go for it. The journey may be long and hard but it’s the destination that counts. I’m not there yet but I’m having fun and moving up that ladder one rung at a time!

Nancy Loyan Schuemann