by Malena Lott
Creative transitions are no less scary. What was once a fairly straight path - manuscript, query, agent, publisher, book, now looks as varied as a map itself. It could be manuscript, production, digital publication. It could be a mix of both. Many of my trad published friends now have books that are still with publishers and a backlist or other "almost sold" manuscripts they are publishing "indie" or with the help of small publishers or with the help of service vendors.
I used to vex about this myself. Even though I'm a marketer and have been a creative director for years, I had liked that I could let other people figure out what to do with my fiction writing career. I was relying on my agent, editor and publisher to just "take care of it" even though as the years went on, it became apparent authors must build their own platform. In 2011, I started an imprint to my creative company to publish stories of all sizes. Buzz Books is a huge undertaking, but I decided I wanted to immerse myself in stories. If I could market a university, for example, why not market books? I'm also doing workshops - and many GBC authors are contributing advice and tips GOD BLESS YOU - to support the art and craft of novel writing.
A couple of weeks ago my agent surprised me by saying she wanted to send out a young adult manuscript again that had been passed over several years ago during a particular saturation period. She knows that transitions are a part of life, too. Editors come and go. Types of stories are hot then cold then hot again. You know, who knows? And why not?
Transitions can also mean writing under several pen names and managing several "brands." But I like to think of it as putting on a different wardrobe from the same closet. I'm still me, but my "costume" is different for each genre. I've even got a cool trench coat in my wardrobe I'm wearing as I write my first mystery. I don't even know what I'm calling that "me" yet.
The important thing to remember is that you are still what matters. It takes the writer to write the story. Only you can write the story in your head, not your crit partner or your agent or a Girlfriend. You.
Hang in there. Ebb and flow. Breathe. Write. Write every day. Don't limit yourself to one brand or one type of story if your muse is telling you to try something new. Don't be afraid to try a new opportunity to get your work out there. You have to look out for your future. No one else is going to do your homework for you.
Malena Lott is the author of The Stork Reality, Dating da Vinci, Fixer Upper, and her next novel, Something New, releases in November. She also writes young adult paranormal under the pen name Lena Brown. She's the executive editor at Buzz Books USA and is a den mom, dance mom and yoga chick.