Adventures in Writing – learning from mistakes, part 2
My first book, Daily Meditations (with Scripture) for Busy Moms, came out twenty years ago and was a small hit with sales exceeding my publisher’s expectations. Had I known then what I know now, I would have parlayed that small success into a career in writing. However at the time I had been busy being a mom to three small children, full-time minister, and part-time student. I figured it was enough that the book had been published. I did a few small promos for the book and prepared a series of mini-retreats for moms which I did at local churches. Other than that I was much too busy to dirty my hands with marketing. After all, I was a writer not a marketer!
Book two, Daily Meditations for Busy Couples, was the book that had never been meant to be. A collaborative effort between a writer I had never met, the editor and me, its production was a tale of miscommunication and misunderstanding ending up with a book that misfired out of the gate and was discontinued after a year. Lesson learned: if you think collaborating with someone on a book will be easier than writing it yourself, think again. If you don’t have time to spend in communicating clearly and consistently with those involved, then maybe you should not be collaborating.
My third and fourth books failed to reach the level of success of the first. One on the Rosary, The Rosary: Worry Beads for Anxious Parents, and the other for parents of teens, They do Grow Up: Parents and Teens Talk, they never reached a wide market, leaving me wondering, have I blown my opportunity? Have I gone from promising writer to a one hit wonder?
Add to this my book on the first five years of marriage that never made it to publication. With contract in hand I had feverishly wrote, pouring out on paper all I had learned about marriage from my years of ministry, my training in counseling and from my divorce. I finished well ahead of deadline, submitted it to my editors where it was torn apart. In my haste I had submitted what was essentially only a second draft rather than a finished product, a beginner’s mistake.
Now as I prepare for yet another venture into the world of publishing I have been seeking out people to read my works before I send them out and I’ve enlisted the help of a copy-editor, an expense I never would have considered before. And I wonder – what new mistake am I making????
So you tell me, what have you learned from experience that might help me in my next venture?
Robertson copyright June 2013