Patti (and all you insightful readers) gave us wonderful ideas on how to achieve success as a novelist.
Now I must share with you some ways to torpedo your career. I must admit I haven’t tried all these things (thank goodness) but will lean heavily on the warnings of my agent Janet Grant (from her online blog) and other industry professionals.
Here in no particular order are some likely career crashers for novelists who write from a Christian worldview:
1. Get into it for fame, money and/or the desire to bare your soul. If the first two are your motives, you are statistically unlikely to succeed. (Think of the market as grading on the curve, except almost everyone gets an F, a few get Ds and Cs, fewer get a B and you can count the As in the hundreds, not in the thousands or millions.) And take the long view: God isn’t much interested in blessing – you know, supernaturally helping and ennobling – people who do things in His name who don’t have His interests at heart.
Want to bare your soul? Unless you have a compelling story and/or can tell it exceptionally well, best to keep that soul modestly covered for now. Maybe later….
2. Approach your writings and publishing decisions from a business point of view instead of after prayer and fasting.
3. Trash-talk an agent, editor, fellow author or other industry professional in public. Don't give credence to what people say about Christian publishing as a very small world where many professionals have worked for several publishers and talk to one another, (even to their competitors).
4. Bank on Christian values such as graciousness and forgiveness from industry professionals. They owe you that because they're fellow believers, even when you don't follow their submission guidelines or other requirements.
5. Jump around from genre to genre. I admit I have done this: Thirteen non-fiction books (several co-written or largely interview-based), one children’s fiction, and now onto novels. I say I did this because I have written what I believed God wanted me to write. It hasn’t killed my career but I’m hardly a household word for any of those genres. (Well, I may be a household word with some Mormons but it wouldn’t be a very nice word.)
6. Listen to and take to heart only opinions about your writing that are offered by people who love you and/or are not industry professionals. (You’ll have that warm glow with you always as you get to sell four dozen copies of your self-published books to them.)
7. Don’t study and absorb your Bible. Consider its stories and counsels as outdated and inferior to more modern works.
8. Refuse to take the time and offer the vulnerability of letting other authors critique your work. (They might steal your ideas and write them faster and better than you and beat you to a publisher. Right.)
9. Lament the lack of quality in Christian publishing but do not read the books that have won awards recently. If you do read them, borrow them so that you don’t directly contribute to the financial wellbeing of the publishing companies nor the authors.
Like Patti, I’ll leave #10 to you. What would you add?