Linda Joy Singleton on Linda Joy Singleton: “As a kid, I was always writing. During a two-week school vacation, when I was 14, I challenged myself to write a chapter a day, completing a 200 page manuscript. I kept many of my stories and show them to kids I speak to at school.
“After high school, life detoured me away from writing, until one day I heard a radio announcement about a college writing workshop which led to my joining a writing group in Sacramento.
“Two years later, I sold my first book, Almost Twins, to a small publisher.
“I was thrilled when my dream of being a series author came true when Avon published my first two series: My Sister the Ghost and Cheer Squad. More series followed: Regeneration (Berkley 2000), Strange Encounters (Llewellyn 2004), The Seer (Flux 2004), Dead Girl trilogy (Flux 2008), and my latest book Buried: A Goth Girl Mystery by Linda Joy Singleton (Flux 2012).”
What lessons have you learned from your years as a professional writer?
|Linda Joy researches Sword Play|
- Writers never stop learning. “Research” is another word for embracing new adventures.
- Another writer will understand you better than your most supportive friends/family. Who else can understand that joy in a “good” rejection?
- Take notes. Once I asked a very wise friend why she was handwriting notes at a conference that was being taped. She said it wasn’t because she needed the notes, but that the act of writing words on paper helps focus the connection between listening and learning. Writing down information creates a learning path from ears, eyes, heart to hand. Grasping information in a way you can remember later.
- Read books better than you think you can write. Then you’ll learn to write better.
- Craft in writing is a concept wrapped in layers of details, rhythm, awareness and study; a fine wine of words that ripens with experience.
- When rejection flames into anger, never reply to an editor or agent unprofessionally. Wait until the heat of hurt simmers down. Vent to a trusted friend or write down your feelings then destroy the paper. Anger never heals; it’s only another rip in a heart.
- Always say thank you. Gratitude, like a smile, is a gift that keeps on giving. There are no rules. Rules are the figment of someone else’s imagination. But there is value in advice, learning and practice. Learn from the wisdom and experiences of others; live by the wisdom and experiences you’ll gain along your own journey.
- There are always exceptions. Like the writer who self-publishes a book that editors assured her no one wants to read—then the book goes on to be a bestseller. Or the writer who gets an agent with his first book who enthusiastically predicts a bestseller, and instead receives poor sales or rejection. Throw the dice and roll with your own career, listening and learning and working hard.
- Writing is not an easy job–it’s satisfying, grueling, fun, amazing, heart-breaking, heart-warming, the worst job ever and the best job ever.
- Enjoy your writing journey.
What advice do you have for authors experiencing a career stall?
|Linda Joy, age 7, with Sandy|
- Keep on writing.
- Be willing to put a manuscripts aside when you love it but the market doesn’t. (I have retired about seven manuscripts.)
- Listen to advice from your writing friends. Doing this has led to new opportunities for me.
- When rejections hurt, vent in private to your friends, never post it publicly.
- Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. I’ve been doing a lot of that this year, and my books have improved.
- Be flexible and ready to shift your focus and reinvent yourself when an opportunity arises.
Change is scary, but often it’s just one door closing so you open a door leading to new exciting places.
- Be grateful for friends, books you love, and for each “Yay!” moment of your career.
- Pay good fortune forward with critiques, encouragement, mentoring or the gift of a book.
Linda Joy Singleton looks forward to the release of Snow Dog/Sand Dog (Albert Whitman).
Attention, teachers & librarians! Linda Joy Singleton will send you free bookmarks if you email her at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Bookmark Request”
in the subject line. She’ll also offer a free Skype visit to the first teacher
(elementary to high school) who emails me.
Enter to win a one-page synopsis consult, plus a copy of Linda Joy Singleton‘s synopsis template (usually only available at conferences).