Monday, January 4, 2010

New Years Greetings from the Newbie

by Bente Gallagher

When I was given my assignment for this – my first blog for the Southern Authors – I wasn’t quite sure what to think. The future of publishing? How I took my writing to the next level...?

The thing is, I’ve been published for precisely a year and two months today. My first book, called FATAL FIXER-UPPER – it’s one of those cutesy hobby-mysteries, about a designer-turned-renovator in a small town in Maine – was released on November 4th, 2008. Exactly a year and two months ago. Book 2, SPACKLED AND SPOOKED, came last August, and I’m currently gearing up for book 3, PLASTER AND POISON, which is due to hit stores in March. I’ve finished writing book 4, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the wheels of publishing keep turning for long enough that I can see it hit stores in late 2010. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to the publication of the first book in another series, A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS, in June 2010.

Sounds good, but really and truly, getting published at all is the only level I’ve attained thus far. I’m sure my writing must be getting better—usually that happens when you do something a lot; you get better at it—but I can’t say I think about that a whole lot. I’m too busy cranking out words as quickly as I can.

I wouldn’t mind taking my career to the next level, though, although I guess it would help if I knew what that meant. Is it more money? More books sold? My name in bigger letters? Moving from mass market paperback to hardcover? Hitting the New York Times bestseller list? Being featured on Oprah? Is that how you know you’ve arrived?

Or maybe you don’t ever know you’ve arrived.

I had occasion, last year sometime, to meet the wonderful Carolyn Haines (Hi, sweetie!) who should need no further introduction. She came to speak at our local Sisters in Crime meeting in Nashville, and we had dinner together afterwards, a group of us, and if she lived closer, I swear I’d be bugging her all the time, because she’s just great fun and I had a marvelous time hanging out with her. Of course, what I did to repay the kindness, was to beg the poor woman to read my ARC and – if she liked it – to blurb my new book.

Just goes to show that a good deed never goes unpunished.

Carolyn, being a class act all the way, agreed. And I appreciate it. The funny thing was when she told me she wished she could get one of the big names to endorse her. Which struck me as hilarious, since I wanted her to endorse me because she is a big name...

This is the first blog of the year, so I guess maybe it’s appropriate to do those dreaded New Year’s resolutions. What I’m going to do to take my writing to the next level in 2010.

Here are my resolutions; feel free to chime in with your own:

1. I’m going to finish the last book on my contract, and make it the best book it can be.

2. I’m going to write another book as well, one that isn’t under contract, and make that the best book it can be, too. And then I’m going to pray that my agent can sell it.

3. I’m going to attend three writers conferences in my own neck of the woods. (No, that’s not actually a resolution. I’m already signed up for those.)

4. I’m going to attend one writers conference somewhere else, and while I’m there, I’m going to pretend to be out of myself, and I’m going to meet someone I haven’t met before and make a new friend and learn something I didn’t already know.

5. I’m going to attend at least one association meeting every month, and actually get involved in each of the associations I’m a member of.

6. And because writing is one of those professions where you can easily spend fifteen hours a day sitting on your spreading butt in front of the computer—at least I can—I’m going to stand up and exercise at least every other day. Mens sana en corpore sano, and all that.

So that’s it for me. Feel free to tell me what your New Years resolutions are going to be this year, or give me some ideas for how you’re planning to take your writing to the next level in 2010. Or suggestions for how I can do the same for mine. And if you have some insight into the future of publishing, I wouldn’t mind if you wanted to share that with me, as well.

Happy New Year!

Bente Gallagher writes the Do-It-Yourself Home Renovation mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime under the pseudonym Jennie Bentley, and—starting in June 2010—the Savannah Martin Real Estate mysteries as herself. She lives in a historic neighborhood in Nashville with two boys, a hyperactive dog, a parakeet, two goldfish and two African dwarf frogs, plus her husband the Realtor®.

You can find her at or (they’re one and the same) or at, if you’re in the market to look at real estate.


Lynn said...

Hey -- Newbie! It's the wanna be from GG's checking in. I'm strong on goal setting and resolutions. I have them set out by month and by week. But my dream - is to sell one of the three books I'll have finished by the end of this year.

Now I have to get off the internet and get my daily word commitment in.

Jennie Bentley said...

Hiya, Lynn! Good to see you! And good luck with your goals and dream. Fingers crossed that this'll be the year one of 'em sells!