A Guest Post by C. Michelle Jefferies
I wear many hats in my life. Among those, two are martial artist and author. Strangely, the two have more in common than not.
When I step onto the mat the first thing I do is warm up exercises that involve my core muscles. It sounds odd seeing that martial arts is all hands and feet. However the power that is behind the arms and legs in martial arts all comes from the core muscles. In addition, a strong core protects your internal organs, and muscle memory from repeated practice is what fighters use in confrontational situations.
What does this have to do with writing you ask?
While writing is a skill set and can be learned, managing other aspects of writing is something that is more instinctual. Learning to trust your gut when it comes to the big decisions in your writing career is essential.
I am a published author with one book, Emergence, out there in the world. I loved my publisher and the people that work for the publisher. Yet, here I am two years from my first books release date, and there’s no second book, nor are there plans to forge ahead on any book with that same publisher.
The issues with that books success or failure lies with no one person and can simply be chalked up to circumstance. It was the wrong fit. The publisher is too streamlined in audience and distribution reach for my story and genre. My story is too national for the small regional publisher.
It was after many hours of thought that I finally agreed with my gut and walked away from the publisher with the rights to my second book still in my possession. They still own the rights to the first book but I am in the process of getting them back. We both agree and accept that the fit was wrong, but that the attempt at going national with my story and a few others was not necessarily a failure and definitely a learning experience. I find no fault with them, I am where I am because of them. I learned so much from them about being an author.
Two years later I am back in the submitting and shopping my stories and I am grateful for not only the experience, but that I was allowed to walk away without a fight and the ability to pursue the right path for my stories and career.
Just like trusting your core muscles is essential for martial arts for power, protecting your internal organs, and for instinctual protection, trusting your gut is essential for heading on the right path for your writing. There are all sorts of publishers out there that are willing to exploit new and uneducated authors and take advantage of them for profit. Trusting your instincts goes a long way to protect you as an author. If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You should never sign a contract without someone who has done it before, or a lawyer that is versed in literary contracts looking at it.
Your skill, time and heart are invested in your work. Take the time to secure your investment and keep yourself from being trapped in a deal or contract that hurts you. Trust your gut, and protect yourself and your career as an author.
* * *
C. Michelle Jefferies writes Technical Suspense, a stark contrast to her rural life in South Eastern Utah with seven kids, house, husband, and nine chickens. Although her heart resides in the future, she has been known to be distracted by Urban Fantasy. You can learn more about her and her first novel Emergence at http://cmichellejefferies.comTags: Sequence 00: Guest Posts