The inspiration for this blog post came in the form of a Hallmark submission call. I was minding my own business on Twitter (as one does on Twitter *cough*), when I saw someone tweet that Hallmark was going to start publishing books. I get really excited when I see new publishers and lines starting. Generally, it means that you’ll get a response quickly, and that they’ll be more willing to take a chance on you because they’re new.
So I was tempted, until I realised that not every opportunity was for me.
That realisation came when I read the submission guidelines (which you should always do). They were looking for small-town romances that were wholesome and set in the United States. And while I could probably do it, it didn’t take me long to realise that I didn’t want to. Firstly, because I love setting my books in South Africa, in big or small towns. And secondly, though I write sweet romances, they have a spice to them that would challenge that wholesome call. So while I would have loved to submit to Hallmark, I had to take a step back and look at what I wanted to write.
It can be hard to remember that.
Especially when you’re desperate for your hard work to be acknowledged as an aspiring author. Or when you’re craving feedback as a new author. If you have a project that kind of a fits a submission call or a pitch competition, it can be so tempting to forget what you want to write and immerse yourself in that call or competition.
But you’re in it for the long haul.
Which means you’re going to have to figure out whether changing that project is really worth it. Will you be able to write the next book in the same vein? Would you be happy doing so? Is the publisher one you’d be happy to be a part of long term? Will they invest in you, in your career? And if not, would you be okay with that?
To be perfectly clear, I’m not telling you not to take those opportunities. I’m telling you to discern which ones are best for you and your career.
You’ll know that opportunity when you see it. Believe that, and trust in your gut. And if that doesn’t work, speak with someone you trust. Your career is important, and figuring out which opportunity will help further you in your career is important.