FF: The Benefits of Selling Later in Your Career

It’s Frabjous Friday, time to have some fun and celebrate our successes. If you have good news, I invite you to let us know about it in a comment so we can happy dance with you.

I’m excited to have author Diana Cosby here today. She’s a great example of perseverance and is offering encouragement from her journey. After 9-1/2 years and over 100 rejections, she sold. But, get this? She sees benefits in that, and she’s going to share them with you. And she’ll be around to answer questions, so fire away. ~ Keli


Here’s Diana’s bio, in her own words . . .

Most people think of retirement as a time to relax. For me, retiring from my job as a Navy Chief Meteorologist/ Oceanographer allowed me to pursue my passion—writing romance novels. With 32 moves behind me and having traveled through many more countries, I was anxious to create characters who reflected the amazing cultures and people I’ve met over the years.

My years of living in Europe drew me to write in the medieval time frame. After watching the movie Braveheart and with my passion for writing complex plots, I knew I had to write in this volatile medieval timeframe, hence the MacGruder brothers were born.

I have many passions in life, but one that resonates in my life is that of giving. I firmly believe that each of us can make a positive difference in another person’s life. There are so many charities that I believe in. With each book I sell, I will tithe ten percent of my royalties to a charity of my choice. The first charity I’ve chosen is The National Trust for Scotland, which acts as guardian of Scotland’s magnificent heritage of architectural, scenic and historic treasures. Without the National Trust for Scotland, many of Scotland’s historical wonders would be lost.


The Benefits of Selling Later in your Career

by Diana Cosby ©2010

When I began writing, I remember sending out my first partial, smiling, telling everyone the manuscript’s title, and that my book was going to sell. Then, I remember months later, receiving the rejection letter. I was devastated. How could they not want the book of my heart? And the rejection letter, Dear Author . . ., it could have been written to anyone!

Over the years I discovered that I had a deft skill for acquiring rejections. I remember one day my oldest son, now in the Marine Corps, carrying in a manila envelope saying, “Hey, Mom, you received another rejection.” *Smile* Gotta love kids. After 100 rejections, I quit counting. I decided I knew how to acquire a rejection.

Throughout the years, through every frustration and doubt, I never gave up. Not only is it important to never give up, but it’s essential for you to RECOGNIZE that with each passing year, you’re growing stronger in the craft, plus, you’re connecting with fellow authors and industry professionals, which = networking. Once you sell, your experience and contacts will prove invaluable. I never realized until looking back, the benefits of selling later in my writing career.

I feel passionate about this topic, because I wish someone would have sat me down and said, “That you write is well and good, but let’s say you sold, what’s your plan?” Plan? Why to write of course. It’s critical that after we sell that we keep on writing, but it’s also important to build a readership. In all honestly, unless you sell a book through a high visibility venue, the hard reality is that few people will know who you are, much less buy your book. So, if you’re a new writer, don’t fret about rejections, they’re a part of writers life, but plan for the day when you sell. Use your time accrued to your benefit.

Your success is no accident:

“Choices are the hinges of destiny.” – Pythagoras

So true, the choices you make create the paths you take. What is your exact goal? Define it. Plan not only make it, but make it a success. So, what can you do? My take:

•A Website. If you have a website, great, if not, place it on top of your priority list. Many authors have a website, but plan yours, let it reflect the target market you are writing for and will eventually sell to. When I worked with my fabulous webmaster, Rae Monet, Inc. Design , I came into the project knowing what I wanted, plus, I had a ‘Brand’ – Romance Edged With Danger. I will always write suspense, regardless if they’re historical, contemporary, inspirational or fantasy. So, we designed my website to be timeless. If you look at my website, you will see it could work for any era. I also love the simplicity of my web pages, that anyone coming in doesn’t have to wait forever if they’re on dial-up for the site to upload.

*A note: Check out other authors sites. What do you love? What doesn’t connect for you. Make a list of your favorite features and incorporate them into your website. If you’re going to blog, great, but stagnant blogs attract nada.

•A Brand. What tag to do you feel is the essence of what you write, regardless of the line, era? As I said above, for me it’s, Romance Edged With Danger.

•Business Cards. My take, keep them professional. I have two different business cards, those I hand out to readers that have my website and e-mail, but not my home address and contact information. The other business card has all of my contact information for professional contacts.

•Bookmarks. I think bookmarks are one of the single best marketing tools a writer can have. I always say that if someone takes one and really doesn’t want it, odds are they’ll leave my bookmark somewhere – to be found by a reader who’ll scoop it up.  Also, I send bookmarks to conferences, booksellers, venues that feature the type of book I write such as medieval gatherings, and anywhere I feel it’s beneficial. I also include bookmarks in bills, which wasn’t my original idea, but I still love it! 🙂

•Other on-line venues: Facebook, My Space, Blogs, and so many more.

•Conferences: Keep networking!

•Marketing. I’ll give you two bits of advice, choose what you LOVE DOING, and what’s within your budget. Caution – you can spend a lot of $ in promotion really quick.

After 9 1/2 years of writing I sold. I found that in addition to writing an intense, multi-layer story, came the challenge of fitting in time for promotion. It’s easy to become overwhelmed. This is where preparing early in your career for success comes into play. Your well-planned foundation won’t add time onto your day, but it will give you a significant edge as you work hard to help your career take off.

As I look back, I’m thankful I didn’t sell early on in my career. After 9 1/2 years of writing I thought I was ready for the challenges after I sold; in essence, I was clueless. The years accrued before I sold gave me time to strengthen my writing, meet industry professionals, and to make friends who were a not only a bedrock in the enormous transition of becoming published, but who are truly a blessing in my life. So, next time you receive a rejection letter, set it aside, and focus on building your career.

Last, always believe in yourself! I wish each and every one of you every success!

Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN Ret.


Diana’s third novel in the MacGruder Brother series, “His Conquest,” – Seathan’s story,” is available for pre-order:
Barnes & Noble

“Cosby gives you it all – passion, danger, lush history and a touch of magic. Excellent reading.”
NYT Bestselling Author — Hannah Howell, IF HE’S WILD, Zebra, June 2010.

About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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44 Responses to FF: The Benefits of Selling Later in Your Career

  1. Diana Cosby says:

    Kathy Crouch Says: It is scary thinking oh my goodness what if what will I do then? I might need a lot of help in that case lol.

    ~:) You’d be fine. Going from writing to selling is a huge learning curve. But, consider that when you began writing, it was a huge learning curve as well. Change as challenges can be scary, but why not embrace them as adventures. Adventures are fun! 🙂 *Hugs*

    2009 Booksellers Best Finalist
    His Conquest – Pre-Order now!

  2. Diana Cosby says:

    My sincere thanks for having me on the Romance Writers On The Journey blog. It’s been my sincere pleasure. I also want to extend my sincere thanks to every one who took time out of their hectic lives to stop by and post/share their insight.
    Remember, each step forward in the journey is exactly that. And from each we build a base from where we can achieve our dreams. Take care and I wish each of you every success! *Hugs*

    2009 Booksellers Best Finalist

    *Keli, I will check back and reply to any other questions that come in.

  3. anitaclenney says:

    Hi, it’s probably too late for this to show up, but I also posted a comment the first day of Diana’s interview and just now realized it didn’t show up. Anyway, Diana, you are so knowledgable and kind. I love the tips you offer and how supportive you are. I’m in that stage where I’m horrified to realize how much time I’ll have to promote. And I’m trying to find the balance. I also have Rae Monet as a web designer. She’s the best!

    • Diana Cosby says:

      anitaclenney Says: Hi, it’s probably too late for this to show up, but I also posted a comment the first day of Diana’s interview and just now realized it didn’t show up.

      ~Anita, I’m so sorry the comment didn’t show up, but my sincere thanks for reposting. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and say hi. 🙂
      Anyway, Diana, you are so knowledgeable and kind. I love the tips you offer and how supportive you are. I’m in that stage where I’m horrified to realize how much time I’ll have to promote. And I’m trying to find the balance.

      ~Anita, my first suggestion is to stop and realistically break down how much time you have to write, promote and so on. Then, find what you love to do and find an angle to use that in your promotion. Also, why reinvent the wheel? Look around and see what others are doing. Is there anything fun, anything that makes you laugh? If so, is there a way you can incorporate it into your work? As I said above, I don’t play by the rules. I work too hard to do things I don’t like. So, when I work on promotion, I make sure I’m having fun. Like your writing, when you’re enjoying yourself, readers can tell.

      I also have Rae Monet as a web designer. She’s the best!

      ~:) Rae is amazing, and I’m thankful she’s my webmaster as well. Take care and I sincerely wish you every success. Listen to you heart, it knows. ^5 *Hugs*

      Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN Ret.
      Romance Edged With Danger

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