Today's author: ANGELA ACKERMAN
Here is Angela's SUCCESS STORY PAGE.
Here is Angela's ORIGINAL ENTRY ON THE BLOG.
QUESTIONS FOR ANGELA:
1. What role did your participation in a Miss Snark's First Victim contest or critique round play in your ultimate success as an author?
I'm probably a bit different than the average success story simply because I haven't sold a single novel to date, including this book (and the series to which it belongs). Instead I went the non-fiction route. However, putting work up for feedback gave me the confidence to continue with this novel, and my agent tried valiantly to sell it. It's a great book and I still believe in it. At some point I'll pull it out and rework it, and then publish it.
2. Tell us what your journey has looked like from your MSFV Success Story until now.
Oh, boy. This contest entry was back in 2008...so *yanks cobwebs off brain* The cliff note version is I tried very hard to traditionally publish: I had an agent (then another agent), I made it to acquisitions several times and even had the same editor try to acquire a book at different publishing houses. But stars didn't align. Unfortunately, this is a big part of traditional publishing--finding the right editor on the right day who is acquiring the exact project you have...and the publisher they work for doesn't already have another book that will compete with yours. That's quite a maze to navigate.
It's easy to get jaded in our industry. I did what you're supposed to do: I kept writing books. I also focused on what I could control about the process, which was my brand and pursuing strong writing craft. Becca Puglisi (my co-author) thought the same way and so we teamed up to do something tangible for writers that would help them master difficult areas of writing. We self-published The Emotion Thesaurus, a resource that is part writing advice, part list. The thesaurus resonated so much people kept asking us to write more of these books. So, we did. To date we have six thesaurus guides in six languages which have sold well over 250,000 copies. One book (The Setting Thesaurus) went viral in Japan, and hit the #1 spot out of all book sold on Amazon. Crazy, right?
As our readership grew, more people began asking me to speak. Despite my terror of public speaking I pushed myself to do it as I love travel, and I've had so many great opportunities come about, like teaching on a cruise ship writing retreat and being asked to come to Australia to teach. Becca and I also realized that we could help people in other ways if we moved beyond books, and so we partnered with Lee Powell, the creator of Scrivener for Windows and Linux, and we have a site that is an arsenal of writing resources and custom tools for writers called One Stop for Writers. Now my next project is finding a clone...so I can get back to doing some fiction writing. :)
3. What has been the best part of your experience as an author? What has been most difficult/challenging?
I think the best part has been hearing from people who have found our work helpful and hearing them talk about how they have grown their craft, or how they have signed their first deal...that's just the best. I love helping people--this is a core part of who I am, so being able to do so is very rewarding. The most challenging aspect is trying to keep up. I am blessed to have so many different opportunities come my way, and I love the people I meet and want to help them all. But trying to juggle all of it, and more books, and all the marketing (in multiple languages) is leaving my writing on the back burner. I'd like to make more room for that and other things so I need to learn how to better manage everything.
4. What's your latest offering, and where can we find it?
Becca and I released The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Psychological Trauma on October 25th. This book looks deeply at the very thing that generates the fear that holds your protagonist back from greatness: his (or her) past unresolved emotional trauma. You can find it, and all our books, here.
5. Please leave us with some words of wisdom for all aspiring authors.
Publishing is not a race. Take your time, honor the incredible amount of work you will need to put into this career by only being satisfied with your best efforts, and please, above all, take some risks. Greatness, both for you and your manuscript, lies outside the comfort zone. Explore and see where your passion will take you. :)