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Jo Ramsey’s Lessons Learned Along the Way

Please welcome our guest, multi-published YA Author, Jo Ramsey. Her second book in the DARK LINES series, WHEN DARKNESS FALLS comes out September 15th. Here’s a sneak peek about the story.

Blake Walker learned the hard way to hide his psychic abilities from others. But new girl Faith Carlisle refuses to let him hide from her. When a force of darkness and its human minions endanger the town–and specifically Faith–will Blake dare to use his abilities to save her?

See Jo’s website below for details on how to purchase a copy.  Now Jo, tell us a few secrets about what you’ve learned along the way to becoming a multi-published author.

Coming September 15th

Thanks PJ, I’d be happy to. Friday on your homepage blog, I shared the story of how I went from being the “weird kid” (in my family, weird is a compliment) sitting in her bedroom with a spiral notebook and pen, to being a multi-published young adult author. Today I’ll give you just a few of the gems I’ve learned during that journey.

Lesson One: Not everything is publishable.

When I started writing, my dream was to become a published author. I wrote story after story, dreaming of the day my name would be on book covers. I submitted my first novel in high school. It was rejected–repeatedly. It just plain wasn’t that good. The writing wasn’t great, the plot was shaky at best, and I clearly hadn’t done any research. I still have that manuscript, but I don’t plan on submitting it again unless I do a whole lot of rewriting. This leads me to the next lesson.

Lesson Two: Writing is work!

I have a drawer full of spiral notebooks and a couple of typewritten manuscripts. Some of those stories could probably be reworked and submitted, and someday I might do that. Hence, my still having them. But back in high school and college, I didn’t want to do that much work. I wanted to write a perfect story the first time and send it in for publishers to praise.
         Obviously, it doesn’t work that way. The first draft is called “first” for a reason: There are going to be more! Back when I was in high school and college, to revise I would have had to rewrite the entire thing, because I had either handwritten or typed it on a typewriter. Computers have made life a lot easier for me, since now I can make changes without having to redo the whole thing. This is fortunate, because there are always changes that need to be made. It’s very, very rare for a first draft to be polished enough to be submitted; I know one author who can pull that off, but she’s the only one. I definitely can’t do it.

Lesson Three: Writers don’t typically get rich.

I’ve been asked a lot about how much money I make, or why I have to work a day job if I’m a writer. Some people have the misconception that all authors earn on the level of Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. When I was a teenager, I had the same misconception. I used to daydream about buying my parents a new house with the earnings from my first book. So far, the earnings from all my books combined would barely be enough to buy a doghouse.
         Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but the reality is that writers do not get rich off their work. Anyone who decides to write a book so they can quit their day job is likely to be very disappointed. I write because I love writing, and on the occasions that enough royalties come in that I can pay a couple bills early or buy my kids something I’ve been putting off, I celebrate.

Lesson Four: The “work” of writing doesn’t end when the book is published.

In fact, it’s just beginning. Writing the book, revising it, getting it accepted, and then revising it again under the editor’s guidance—for me, that’s the easy part. After the book is published, the author still has to promote it. Most publishers do at least some promotion, but many if not all of them, especially smaller presses, expect the author to promote as well, which makes sense. The publisher has to promote all of their authors; each author only has to promote his or her own books. Promoting takes a lot of forms. Finding venues and methods to let people know my books exist takes a lot more time than I’d expected. It’s well worth it, but it’s still a lot of work.

I could go on about other things I’ve learned, but I did agree to a word limit on this post. Suffice it to say that I’ve learned a lot, and I haven’t stopped learning. There’s always more to find out, always skills to improve. Being a published author takes a lot of time and effort, but it’s definitely worth it, at least to me.

Now it’s your turn Scribes fans. What lessons have you learned?

Learn more about Jo Ramsey and her books, both published and upcoming, on her website, www.joramsey.com.