1. How-to choose which book to write. Before you decide to write a specific book, ask yourself: “If this is the last book I write, is it the one I want to have been my last book?” Every book you write requires that depth of devotion to give it your best. If the desire to tell a specific story gets a yes answer to that question, then go for it. If it doesn’t, don’t waste your time.
2. How-to select content conducive to career-building. Writing a lot of types of books can be most fulfilling, but it is also most difficult in terms of building a career. If you write books you love that are in the same genre, you’ll be climbing one ladder. Switch genres, and you’re climbing many ladders. It’s a personal call, which you do, just know what you’re doing when you decide to do it.
3. Never write a book you don’t love. Your love and enthusiasm shines through in the work in thousands of ways. Some are evident, some are subtle, and some aren’t seen but are sensed by readers. If you don’t love the book, that shows too. The work might be technically perfect but it’s flat. Like music without soul. Flat, uninspired work doesn’t sell and it leaves readers wanting. It leaves writers wanting, too.
4. Writing genre-blend books. If you have a burning desire to write something that is different and doesn’t fit in a predefined box, most will tell you not to write it. My take is that you’re never given a desire like that without the ability to manifest it. Go for it. But know when you go for it that it’ll probably take longer to sell. Might be a more difficult sale. Might take years. One such book of mine was written in 1988 and not sold and published until 1996. But I loved the book. I believed in the book. Eventually others caught up. These writing decisions are never easy. The question isn’t whether or not to do it, it’s when and how to do it in a way that meshes with your career and personal needs. Maybe this odd duck should be what I call a Sunday book: one you write for the sheer love it. I’ve written many Sunday books. All but one have subsequently sold. (That one that hasn’t, hasn’t been submitted in final form because I’ve rewritten it repeatedly but I am still not satisfied with it.)
5. Define success. Not someone else’s definition. Your definition. You decide what what you want to accomplish or achieve and what success means to you. “To sell a book” isn’t enough. Maybe you don’t want to sell a book. Maybe you want to actually write and finish a book. Maybe you want to tell a life story. Maybe selling doesn’t matter to you, only writing matters. Most define success at writing occurring with publication. But your vision of success might not include even seeking publication. Whatever your vision, make sure you know what it is and why. In other words, don’t let a fear of success keep you from submitting to sell. If you really don’t give a fig if you sell, that’s fine. But fear of failure or success is not fine. Confront the fear and get it behind you. Remember, there is no right or wrong answer. This isn’t about others’ aspirations for you. This is about you, what you want, your dreams and aspirations. Your definition of success. Others need to focus on their own definitions of their own success and leave yours to you. No one better knows what you most want and need.
© 2015, Vicki Hinze. Hinze is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Bride, Shadow Watchers, Book 1. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s online community: Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact.www.vickihinze.com. Subscribe to Vicki’s Newsletter.