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Monday, August 13, 2012

Writers Compete Daily Against Millions


I loved watching the Olympics. Almost anything they show on TV looks interesting because I realize I couldn’t do most of the things being presented. I’m not fast enough to race against the elderly. I can’t swim. I’m too short for basketball. The only gymnastics I perform involves getting out of bed without disturbing my bulldog. I marvel at the athletic ability, mental conditioning, and their ability to answer the grueling challenges to compete at a high level under a global spotlight.

But I realize the Olympians don’t compete the way writers do. Writers actually have much stiffer competition. To be amongst the commercially elite writers, you have to outsell millions of books. The athletes in the Olympics only beat out thousands of competitors.

The Olympics, with over 200 nations represented, are really dominated by just a handful of nations. Only a third of the participating nations have won a medal, half of which won at least a gold medal. Just five nations have won 10+ golds. That doesn’t mean these achievements aren’t amazing – but they are dwarfed by what the average author has to go through.

In any given week, there are a few dozen bestseller spots available. Tens of thousands of books are released each week, but millions of backlist titles are still eligible to compete for the top spots. It’s a crowded field. Authors, to become bestsellers, is a bigger accomplishment than to win an Olympic medal. Though NBC is not broadcasting Author Olympics, I would like to award the gold to all the writers who battle for consumer mindshare, marketplace dominance, and creative awards.


Interview With Author Alicia Singleton

  1. What type of books do you write?  Suspense novels

  1. What is your latest or upcoming book about? Dark Side of Valor is about a former teen-aged runaway, turned child advocate, Lelia Freeman.  When she is summoned to Washington to serve on a subcommittee that aids children of a war-torn, African nation, she stumbles onto sinister political secrets.  She is kidnapped overseas and must depend on a tall, dark handsome stranger to save her life.  But he has secrets of his own.

  1. What inspired you to write it? Dark Side of Valor started off being a totally different novel.  Initially, I did not choose to write about teen runaways and teen homelessness.  The novel was originally about a woman held captive in a foreign country and she needed to escape back to the United States.  So, I began to research runaways from foreign lands.  Every time I’d type in the search parameters, books, reports and articles popped up about teen runaways and homeless teens.  After several hours, I gave up and read one of the articles, then another, then a report, then a life account.  After about an hour, I was sitting in front of the library computer blubbering.  As I finished reading, I had to write their stories and out of their stories, Lelia Freeman was born.  

  1. What did you do before you became an author? My husband and I have owned a commercial cleaning service for 11 years.  Prior to that, I was a registered nurse.

  1. How does it feel to be a published author? Any advice for struggling writers? It feels marvelous! I started my writing career in 1994.  My first book contract came in 2011.  Through years of meeting agent after agent, shaking hands with editor after editor and getting rejection after rejection I became frustrated and discouraged, but I never gave up.  If writing is your passion, stick with it and keep the faith.  While you are waiting for your contract, continue to learn the craft of writing and learn it well.  Always seek ways to educate yourself on how to become a better writer.  Trauma surgeons, professional ballerinas, electrical engineers, classical pianists, Olympic gymnasts and architects don’t learn their crafts in a weekend.  Neither can great writers.  Again, educate yourself.

  1. Where do you see book publishing heading? The digital era has taken the industry by storm, but, the tactile fulfillment of the page will never go out of style.
For more information, consult: www.aliciasingleton.com and http://aliciasingleton.com/media-room/.   

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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