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March 27, 2012

Blog: Lori Wilde: What SURVIVOR Taught Me About Publishing

Lori has offered a drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card!
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And thanks, Lori!

And NOW, Congratulations to Lori for her Rita nomination!!!

What Survivor Taught Me About Publishing
Lori Wilde

            Plotting Princess, Vicki Batman and I have many things in common. We both drive Jeeps, although hers is an elegant white and mine is school-bus yellow. We’re in the same age group. But most of all, we share the same guilty pleasure. We’re both die-hard fans of the show Survivor.
            The three tenets of the show are—outwit, outlast, outplay. Not so very different from the small island that is publishing. If you’ve watched a few seasons of Survivor, you start to see a pattern emerge over who gets voted off and when.
            First to get voted off it’s either the folks with huge egos determined to take control, or is it’s the weakest link. Publishing has a similar trajectory. Come into this business as a know-it-all and you won’t last for long. I’ve been in publishing for over 20 years and have written more than 64 books and I feel as if I’ve just scratched the surface on what there is to know about writing.
            Equally vulnerable are those authors filled with so much self-doubt that they can’t believe in their abilities. It’s a fine balance between humility, self-confidence and cockiness. You have to project strength without coming on too strong. You’ve got to believe in yourself, but check the pushiness at the door. Publishing moves with the speed of a glacier and you can’t force things to happen. The most important part is to keep your focus where it belongs. On the work, not on fame and fortune. If you take care of the work, fame and fortune will follow.
            In Survivor, the next to go are those who scheme too much. They make the rest of the tribe nervous. The same is true for publishing. Too much plotting can backfire—both in terms of your writing and in your career. I know of an author who came from the business world. She was accustomed to working with men and she’d learned to plan and scheme to get what she wanted. It had worked for her in that world, but when she brought those skills to publishing she ended up pushed out (even though she was a good writer) because no one trusted her. Things tend to happen in their own time.  Try to force things to move faster by plotting and scheming can make you look untrustworthy. At this stage of the game, those who hang on calmly are ahead of the game.
            The players who make it to the end tend to have the following traits in common—keen observers of human nature, adaptability, and persistence.  Writers who make it the long haul develop those same skills and yes, they are skills that anyone can develop.
            First, you can’t create compelling characters if you can’t identify with people. Watching what people do and why they do it will yield a wealth information and also make you a more rounded person. If you want to survive long term become a serious student of human nature.
            Secondly, you have to be able to adapt to the changing market. Technology has recently brought huge changes in publishing. If you can’t embrace those changes, you’ll be left behind. It’s not that difficult to do. Keep abreast of the market. Engage in social media. See what’s going on in the world around you and try to stay one step ahead.
            Thirdly, and in my opinion, most importantly, never ever give up. When I’m watching Survivor, the players who frustrate me the most are the ones who just roll over and accept their fate when all seems lost. You have to keep trying and you have to hold onto hope. In publishing, just as in Survivor, the player who ends up winning is the one who simply never surrendered.

What's your guilty pleasure and what has it taught you?

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Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Lori! The PP gals are so happy to have you here and sending a humongous congratulations!!! on your Rita nomination.

Your tips about writing are so true. What hooked you on Survivor?

Sylvia said...

Hey Lori, Congratulations on the Rita Nomination. Very well deserved. By the way, I LOVE Survivor. I've been a fan since the very first season. And yes, talk about showing you how people react in stressful situations. This show shows you so much about how we humans operate in both a good and bad way. I never thought about how it relates to writing, but you are so right. Only the strong survive. This season of Survivor has been the most interesting they've had in a long time, though I am glad the one schemer had to leave the show last week. My only complaint about Survivor is that some people become just mean and the same can be said about the publishing industry. I guess that's why you have to develop a very thick skin or go home early. Your career has definately been one that has outlasted and outplayed. Congratulations! Now bring home the million dollars.

Liz said...

my guilty pleasure, hands down, is beer. yes, it is high calorie and all of the above but....
lovely post ladies and congrats on the RITA Lori.

Nancy Naigle said...

I'm a die hard Survivor fan, too. We can all watch together!

I love this advice. I'm a new author and I know I have a lot to learn, but with folks like you highlighting mile markers -- it'll be a good journey.

Hugs and happy writing~
Nancy Naigle

Liese said...

Major Congrat on the RITA!

Pamela Stone said...

Hi Lori, and welcome to Plotting Princesses. Congrats on the Rita Nomination. To quote my granddaughter, "That's just pure awesomeness."

GREAT article and advice. So very true. All very valuable. I know for me working in Corporate America every day, patience is the hardest. I want to put all the players on a timeline with due dates. Ha!

Unknown said...

Congrats on the Rita! This post certainly identifies in part how that happened. Thanks for the analogy and advice. Invaluable and so very true.

Kara Ashley Dey said...

Congratulations on the Rita nomination. Your article was an interesting read. Yeah, it's Survivor out there, and everyday I must face a long walk across hot coals.


Patricia said...

I used to be a die-hard Survivor watcher and I can see your analogies perfectly. Well done. And it's a great lesson for anyone, especially those new to this writing business.
Thank you for your insightful post.

Bev Irwin / Kendra James said...

Hi Lori
Love your writing. The Rita is well deserved. I lile your comparison to Survivor and surviving in the publishing world. Finally, after writing, rewriting, editing, submitting, rejections, I now have a contemporary medical romance out, a paranormal YA, Ghostly Justice, coming out April 14th, and a woman's suspense coming out in June or July. I feel like I have done my own survival game. But at least I am still standing, holding my torch, and have grabbed on to a brass ring.
Bev Irwin / Kendra James

Liz Lipperman said...

Lori, welcome to PP and congrats on the Rita final. Fingers crossed for you and all the other DARA members out there.

Great post. Although I don't watch Survivor, I do watch The Biggest Loser which is similar. I had never thought about the one who plots too hard and ends up being mistrusted by the rest of the tribe. That's so true.

Kathy Ivan said...

Hi Lori

Welcome to the Plotting Princesses. I love Survivor and think you've drawn some amazing parallels between that and the writing industry. So very true in every aspect.

Congratulations on the RITA final.

Lori Wilde said...

Okay, so who do you guys want to see win this season? I'm not warming up to this bunch yet.

cheryl c said...

Lori, congrats on the well-deserved nomination! I enjoyed reading your comparison of Survivor to never giving up in writing and publishing. To get anywhere in life, we have to persevere.
castings at mindspring dot com

Lori Wilde said...

Thanks, Liese, it is exciting!

Lori Wilde said...

Thanks Sylvia, we've known each other a long time and we both know how bizarre this business can be. I have fantasies of auditioning for Survivor, but I'm always too busy writing books.

bookworm54 said...

congrats and for yur book release! I've already read it, loved it! I don't watch Survior but i can truely understand about not giving up! I have a home daycare and lost a few kids and business is kinda slow so I sure thought i had to close my daycare which i didn't, went back to college and that was scary...most of the students are my kids age but that didn't stop me then I strated subsituting and found so many students that loved to read..gave them a few books to read and we'd have such discussions and so I'm tutoring and getting a newborn next month in my daycare so if i'd given up these things wouldn't of happened!

Harlie Williams said...

I will honestly say that I have never watch Survivor. :) Congratulations on the Rita Nomination. My guilty pleasure is reading.

I'm trying to finish writing my first book and your tips will help me. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Great job! I would love to win this prize today. I just had an injection done in my back to try & help with the pain & this would really cheer me up
Krystal savoy

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Lori,
Congrats on the RITA nomination! Although I've never watched more than one episode of Survivor, I do agree with your blog. Good advice!

Nancy G said...

Lori: Congrats on the nomination. So much enjoy your books. You're a terrific author that writes stories that truly touch people's hearts.

Na said...

I like learning new things and I don't think there is too much thing as learning to much. I remember Survivor and what interested me was seeing how different player strategized - some failed and some succeeded, even if they didn't win they outlasted many.

My guilty pleasure is food. Though, I try to balance the good with the bad. Plus add in some regular exercise. But, yes food is one thing I like to enjoy :)

Congrats, Lori on your book release!

Phyllis said...

Congrats on the Rita nomination, Lori!

I've never really enjoyed Survivor. What I watched came from being with hubby who was caught up in the show.

With that said, I enjoyed your comments and can take some to heart with my writing. Thank you very much.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the release of THE COWBOY TAKES A BRIDE and your nomination. It sounds like it will be a most enjoyable read. My guilty pleasures are reading and spending way too much time on the computer following author and review blogs. I started following for my job as a librarian and now that I no longer work, I am following even more. I need more time and my poor house needs a good cleaning : )

Best wishes for a successful release. I look forward to reading it.

librarypat AT comcast DOT net

Kathleen Baldwin said...

Lori, This was such a clever post. Enjoyed it!

Robin said...

Congratulations! I enjoyed your post!

Watching the reality romance shows has really taught me that if someone rejects you, it's not necessarily anything you did, there just wasn't a spark...


Ciara said...

Congratulations on the Rita nomination, Lori. That is so exciting. My guilty pleasures are dark chocolate and coffee. I use to watch survivor but I haven't had time this season. I think you pretty well summed it up. :)