Girls Write Out
Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Writing novels as a career is a really strange job. I think it involves a certain amount of mental illness because there's the creative aspect of it -- you have to understand people and how they work, and what motivates them. But then, you have to understand the business aspects too. How is a publisher's distribution? What percentage/advance ratio is best for both pub and writer? Is marketing necessary? Does a publicist work? The insecurity that is in a writer is in Nora Roberts and Stephen King, too. Don't believe me? If their novel stays at #1 for two less weeks than their last book? You can bet they stop and obsess over what went wrong with this book, that it only stayed on the bestseller list for one year instead of two!

As a writer, you can't believe in the work alone and that's the business end of things. Sadly, it's a fact of life. No, I don't know if it is sad, it protects both publisher and writer and that's why when someone tells you that your idea stinks? It just might. Example: If you write the most brilliant novel on something no one cares about, guess what happens to it?

I'm a big supporter of the "passion" idea. If I'm not passionate about something, the idea of pulling off 90,000 words on the subject diminishes significantly. So I'm afraid the idea of starting out to write a "breakout novel" ala DaVinci Code is not something that can be planned. No publisher, no writer knows what will take root and grab up America's very short attention span, but it better darn well last through the writer's attention span.

So if you take all that into consideration and add the "need" to write. The high that comes when you are sitting at the desk, words flow and you have forgotten to plan anything for dinner, or have to get called by the school yet again to be told, "It's early pickup today, Mrs. Billerbeck." THAT is a high like no other -- not even triple espressos at Peet's. That is joy. It's so rare that a writer gets to sit down and make it happen compared to planning, proposing, editing, marketing, that I never want to take it for granted. This is a fabulous business, but like any other, there's about 90% weeds in the field and 20% total high. (That's the math of a writer!)

I turned in my book on Thursday at 1:11 a.m. Now I get to think about the next thing!!! Woohoo, this is one of my favorite parts. I think it comes from the marketing background. So if I haven't convinced you, it's part mental illness, stick around awhile, our blog should prove it in no time flat.
Kristin Billerbeck  
posted at 1:44 AM  
  Comments (15)
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At 8:55 AM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

Great post, Kristin!

At 9:55 AM, Blogger Tina said...

Thanks for the inspiration. It's my goal to keep that passion foremost in my mind. It's the reason I want to be writing.

And huge congrats on getting that novel turned in! ;)

At 11:47 AM, Blogger Pam S. said...

Nice picture! Where was it taken?

Thanks, again, for the "truth talk" about being an author. It's always helpful to get a "shot of reality!" :O)

At 12:01 PM, Blogger Cara Putman said...

Congrats on turning the book in. There's no feeling like that!

At 12:42 PM, Blogger Kristin Billerbeck said...

That picture is in the kid's section of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Isn't my daughter so darling? I got a great picture of her in the aquarium I would have rather posted, but I thought the crazy talk went with me in a shell. LOL

At 1:05 PM, Blogger Gina Holmes said...

No doubt we writers are a bit off. I shopped all day yesterday wearing two different shoes. Like usual, I was in my own creative world.

I know it's a great feeling to turn your novel in and beginning a new love with the next one.

Your daughter is lovely!

At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I KNEW it, I KNEW it!

Great post, Kris. So very, very true. It's great when writers post those truisms cause it helps the rest of us realize we are not alone.

Congrats on turning in your book! I know it feels great!

:) Rachel

At 3:25 PM, Blogger eileen said...

Things to ponder! Thanks for adding to our world of wonder.

At 4:28 PM, Anonymous Shirley Buxton said...

A wonderful post. Congratulations on your successes.


Shirley Buxton

At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Jeana said...

Congratulations! Your agent thanks you for delivering another fabulous book.

Great photo of you Elle.

At 6:18 PM, Blogger Tina said...

CUTE little girl!!!

At 10:06 PM, Blogger Kayla said...

Definitely my favorite blog of all. I wrote 50,000 words of a novel for NaNoWriMo last month and it was such a chore some of the time because I didn't want to fall behind...but then there were those times at 3 AM when I couldn't fall asleep and wrote a few thousand words without even checking the count because I was really excited about a scene.

Those times were even better than checking my word count on November 25th and seeing 50,028.

At 11:21 PM, Blogger Kristin Billerbeck said...

WOW Kayla, way to go!!!! That is excellent! Welcome to crazy. : )

At 4:04 PM, Anonymous Gail Kroll said...

With a diagnosis of GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) and Schizoaffective Disorder? YOU of all people, Kristin, know how much I appreciate your truth of language. Thank you so much for all your support and appreciation for all that I do! YOU LIKE MY WORK!!! For me? What can I say? I LOVED Ashley and SPLIT ENDS is totally going to knock off the socks of the "Sane" world too! Luv ya!

At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Nancy the Romancechick said...

What a great post. It would be fabulous if a writer could just sit in her flower-covered bower in a flowing pink, gauzy robe thingy, drinking tea and writing fabulous books and let some minion deal with all the mundane, less ethereal stuff, but you're right. We need to be grounded in reality, too. Thanks for the reminder.


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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