Friday, December 14, 2012

Why it's so Doggone Hard to Write for Publication

Five Scribe Readers, I don't necessarily think it's a dog's life to write for publication, but I do agree with Sparkle Abbey that it's doggone hard.  If it were easy, hey, everyone would do it.  So let's see what these authors of the Pampered Pet Series have to say--and what they suggest we do to get published.   Then let's talk about those 2013 goals, which despite what the Mayans say, are right around the corner ~ Donnell

What a great time to be a writer! There are so many publishing opportunities for writers today. Unfortunately, that’s both the good news and the bad news. So, let’s talk about that and why it’s so doggone hard…


As writers we all know we need Goal, Motivation, and Conflict in our stories. At least we hope you all know about GMC. The wonderful Deb Dixon (who is also half of the Bell Bridge Books publishing team) wrote a crazy great book about GMC called Goal Motivation and Conflict, the Building Blocks of Good Fiction. If you don’t have the book, go out and get a copy right now.


Are you back? Okay, so now let’s talk about why writing and publishing is so hard and what you can do about it. Well, we’ve found it’s also true that if you choose to write for publication, you’ll need those same previously mentioned GMC elements in your career plan.


It works like this.

What’s your goal? Be specific. Is it to get a book deal? To publish your book?  To hit the best seller list? You need to figure out exactly what that goal looks like.


Our goal was to have a career doing what we love. We’d both been writing for quite a while and collecting rejections. Good rejections, positive comments, contest wins. No sales. We were at a loss. Then, we had the opportunity to chat with a very savvy NY agent about why it seemed we were so close but still garnering rejections. (That whole thing is a story for another time but if you want to know more just check out Confession on our YouTube channel for the details.) Anyway long story short, we came up with this idea for a collaboration with two main amateur sleuth characters who are cousins, one a pet therapist, the other a pet boutique owner. The series sold and, as they say, the rest is history. We’ve had so much fun writing the Pampered Pets mystery series and we’re getting closer to that goal.


How about you? Have you figured out your goal? Okay, then.


Now what’s your motivation? Why do you want that goal? Be honest with yourself. Really examine what keeps you working toward that goal.


It’s important to know your motivation because it will impact every choice you make along that way. Really. Every choice should be measured against what you want and why you want it. Also, knowing why you’ve chosen this particular goal will help you stay motivated when the going gets tough. And it will…


Which bring us to conflict. Whether you want it or not, once you’ve identified your goal and figured out your motivation, conflict descends. It just does.

It may be good stuff or bad stuff but it’s still stuff in conflict with your goal. And you have to figure it out if you’re going to survive this journey with your dreams intake.

Once we sold, we had, between the two of us: a new boss, a new job, a wedding, remodeling, a graduation, a parent in the hospital, the loss of a very dear writing friend, a baby granddaughter who needed a kidney operation, dance recitals, holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, book signings, TV interviews, conferences, oh, and deadlines. And those are just the highlights!

Working toward whatever goal you’ve chosen, we promise getting there will be full and wonderful …and hard. It’s hard to stay the course. And part of what will keep you on the path to reach your goal is knowing “why” you want it. Knowing your motivation will help you deal with all those things that are in conflict with your goal and then they become just part of the journey. Your story.

We wish great success in your goals!

Sparkle Abbey

So…please share. Do you set goals? What goals have you set for 2013? Have you thought about your motivation? Do tell.

Also, please comment and get your name in the drawing for free books. We’ll be giving away some copies of Desperate Housedogs. Also, just an FYI, 

Get Fluffy, which is book two in this cozy mystery series is currently part of Amazon's Big Deal program and is $1.99 until December 22. You can find it here:

Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of mystery authors Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter who co-write the Pampered Pets Mystery Series featuring feuding former Texas beauty queen cousins Caro Lamont and Melinda Langston who are strong enough and smart enough to solve crimes that have stumped the police in posh pet-friendly community of Laguna Beach, California. 


Book One: Desperate Housedogs

Book Two: Get Fluffy  Amazon's Big Deal thru 12/22

Book Three: Kitty Kitty Bang Bang (coming soon)

Book Four: Yip/Tuck (2013)



Donnell Ann Bell said...

Sparkle Abbey, love the way you look at this. Thanks for blogging with us on this topic. I've already bought Get Fluffy. What a bargain!

Sparkle Abbey said...

Thanks for having us over, Donnell.

Unknown said...

Sparkle Abbey, I so agree with you about GMC. Not just Debra Dixon's fantastic book, which was the first book on writing I ever bought, but that whole approach to writing. When writing, do you always start with Goal? I sometimes find myself gravitating to Conflict or Motivation first and then backing into the other two.

Barbara Barrett

Cathy Shouse said...

What a great interview showing the ups and downs of publishing. I can relate to the friendly rejections.
What made you decide to work together? It seems like it would be harder to write and harder to make money. :)

I'm struggling with the 2013 goals. I want to read the GMC book more closely, polish a manuscript and send it in. I'm just not sure whether to submit to agents or editors. I've also bounced in between romance and mystery. Did you find clues leading to a mystery hard to write?

cathy underscore shouse at yahoo dot com

Bess Gilmartin said...

Hey Sparkle Abbey!
I have a tendency to set goals and then do everything but meet them. BUT...this year I am going to finish the manuscript that won the contest this summer. Really. I mean it this time. My motivation is that I actually had an editor request the full, and while I know she's not sitting around pouting because it's not done, still, it's awful knowing I haven't sent it to her yet. Ugghhh!

Ok, you've inspired me- back to work!

Sparkle Abbey said...

Barbara - You are so right! Sometimes you know the conflict - or at least that's what starts you thinking - and then you have to figure out the goal and motivation. With the Sleepover Clause what did you know first?

Sparkle Abbey said...

Cathy - We decided to write together because it seemed very natural for this project. There are things about the collaboration that make it more of a challenge, but so many, many more things that are great about it!

Sparkle Abbey said...

Bess - A couple of things that we've found helpful with setting goals and accomplishing them are: 1) Make sure they're specific
2) Write them down
3) Post them where you'll see them
4) Tell someone else about them who will hold you to them.

Okay, that was more than a couple. :-)

Sparkle Abbey said...

Oh, and by the way, Bess, that's great motivation. Major congrats on the request for a full! Whoo hoo!

Sparkle Abbey said...

Cathy - Your 2013 goals sound like perfect goals. They're specific. Study GMC, polish your manuscript, and once it's ready if you're still not sure...well, there's no rule you can't submit to both editors and agents. :-)

Sparkle Abbey said...

Cathy - If you decide to go the mystery route, there are a couple of books we'd recommend.

* Killer Fiction by Carolyn Wheat
* Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel by Hallie Ephron

Getting the clues right can be a challenge but that's the fun part too.

Unknown said...

SA - Re: The Sleepover Clause, and thanks for asking, I think I started with my hero, Mitch McKenna's motivation. He feels obligated to stay with the family business, even though he has been trained as an attorney, because they underwrote his schooling.
Thanks for such a thoughtful article.

Barbara Barrett

Lisa Potocar said...

Hi Sparkle Abbey!

Thank you for your timely blog--so helpful to me in setting my 2013 writing goals. You have certainly motivated me to examine my schedule more closely and find where I can erradicate those activities that I'm allowing to needlessly overshadow my finishing the sequel to my debut story, released nearly a year ago.


ML said...

Lisa - That's great! Sometimes it's all about putting things in focus. Wishing you much success on your 2013 goals!

Sparkle Abbey said...

Oops, I was signed into Google as ML and so it grabbed that profile when I commented. LOL

Sparkle Abbey said...

Donnell - A big thanks to you and the rest of the Scribes for having us as guests.

ML & Anita aka Sparkle Abbey

Sparkle Abbey said...

We'd like to send you all a copy of Desperate Housedogs, so please send your mailing info to

Have a great rest of the weekend!

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Sparkle Abbey, thank you for being our guest! DQing me from the free books and I bought GET FLUFFY, and both books are delights! Wishing you every success!

Remember, folks, Amazon's Big Deal on Get Fluffy is on until December 22 for $1.99. What a bargain!