Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Tenacity Interviews - Karen Whiting

1) What do you write?
Christian nonfiction for women, families, and children

2) How do you define “success” for yourself?
In my early days, I felt successful if I could complete a short piece and submit one every month. I worked hard to polish it and find a good match. It worked as I sold something every month for 100 months and then became a columnist.
As time went by I changed my goals. I cannot control the acceptances, only my work. So I set goals on how much to write, marketing goals, and submission goals. I feel successful if I reach the goals and keep all deadlines.
It helps to have several books published and two more to be released I 2010. It was sad to have those two books delayed in being released by another year, but that gives me time to build the marketing for them. At the moment I have no contracted books that are not written and I’m prying about my direction now. It is giving me time to work on speaking, marketing, and sending off articles that have been on the back burner for a while as well as rewrite some proposals .

3) How long did you write before your first sale?
I sold articles almost immediately. Within 3 months of attending my first writer’s conference I sold a few pieces to a children’s magazine published by Simon & Schuster. I keep submitting to that magazine (now out of print/ceased publication) and after a year or so, the editor called and asked me to write an activity book.

4) Who believed in you the most? What role did they play in your ability to keep going?
My husband who kept introducing me as an author. And my oldest daughter who has always believed I could do anything.

5) When did you have to push hardest for your dream? How did you reach for the stars?
Anytime I saw a possibility. For example, when I met an editor at a writer’s conference who mentioned she wanted to start a line to compete with American Girl books with a Christian basis. I tossed out some ideas and she asked for a proposal. I went home and worked hard to come up with the proposal and sample pages. A few months later I had a two book contract.

6) Can you be tenacious and content at the same time?
Yes. I always work hard, but also trust the responses are in God’s hnds. Sometimes I think parts of my writing are for my personal development and other writings are to be published for people who need it.

7) What advice do you have for a writer who is facing “no” right now?
1. When you submit something, also send a note to a friend who will respond with enthusiasm. That helps you focus on relationships and some of the people in your life ho believe in you.
2. Keep rewriting and try to discover how you can make a beter publishing match. In some cases, you may get a personal note or a lit that checks off the reason for the rejection. Let those be new guidelines. I had one magazine write that they loved my style and writing but had that topic covered and asked what else I could send. I submitted other pieces that I sold.
Another place had checked off several reasons for rejecting a puppet script (one of my first submissions). I decided that I would try and write something that they could not check off anything o the list and used the list as a guide. I spent two months writing a new scritp and sold it in two weeks.

3. Attend writer conferences and listen to the needs of editors. Find out what people want to read. And then figure out what you can write to fill those needs.
4. Do something fun. Since I also write inspirational craft books, I make something to overcome rejection. I love to work with my hands and get creative. Or sometimes I write something new and creative. The creativity is what I love about writing and doing it helps me focus on the fu side and not the rejections.
That is seriously great advice, Karen! Thanks so much!
I bid you all, good writing.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

Karen, that is wonderful that your husband was your biggest supporter - mine is as well!

L. Diane Wolfe

Writer Lady said...

If you don't sit down and write, nothing will happen. You seem to do a good job of following your set direction.

I loved the post.