Writers Pay it Forward welcomes again Eric Trant who pens today’s guest post:
“Breaking In vs. Breaking Out: The Writer’s Career Arc“.
Readers and Writers alike won’t want to miss this opportunity to hear from Eric
as well as finding out more about his latest novel Risen.
- Title: Risen
- Author: Eric Trant
- Genre: Historical Supernatural Fiction
- Length: 182 pages
- Publisher: WiDo Publishing
- Publication Date: August 15, 2017
Haunted by visions of a demonic angel and sold into servitude by his father, young Alberto battles to survive the horrors of a nineteenth century Sicilian sulfur mine.
Suffering merciless brutality, Alberto must save not only himself but his deformed older brother, both pawns in their father’s mad plan to overthrow a group of wealthy landowners.
Bound by a death-debt to his hunchback master, Alberto discovers a door the miners call Porta dell’Inferno, the Door to Hell, deep within the sulfur mines. When he learns the demon-angel of his dreams stalks the caverns beyond the door, Alberto realizes a strange fate has lured him and his brother to the gates leading to the underworld.
Now Alberto must face the creature from his visions and rise to become the man his father demands him to be, or remain forever trapped in a hellish world where none escape.
Breaking In vs. Breaking Out: The Writer’s Career Arc
Guest Post by Eric Trant
JRR Markien Releases GOTR!
Meet Jonni Rae Robbins. Jonni Rae is an author. Six years ago, she released her first book in both print and e-book media. It is a high-fantasy novel, almost five-hundred pages (four hundred and eighty-seven, not including maps and acknowledgments), thoroughly plotted on notecards and a well-stirred mixture of Word, Powerpoint and Photoshop files, and skimmed by eight betas (family and two co-workers) who probably did not read the whole thing, but claimed they could not put it down.
She spent over three years penning it, and even paid an editor a buck-and-a-quarter per page for four editorial passes.
It is not a bad book, actually.
Jonni Rae Robbins published under the penname of JRR Markien. She titled her novel Game of the Rings, or GOTR for short. It is about kings and some rings and stuff, and includes, among other things, a city of eternal elves, an albino wolf named Blizzard, a wise sorcerer called Gandor, and of course the anti-heroic, half-sized human that is mandatory in any book inked by someone whose penname begins with JRR.
And with all these years of hard work, she sold almost fifty copies of GOTR.
JRR Markien Presses On!
But Jonni Rae did not quit there. See, she knows overnight success takes a lot longer than most people realize. Several years before releasing GOTR, she had joined and eventually led a local critique group. She read all the books she could borrow and buy as related to plotting, grammar, scene structure and dialogue and so on. She attended countless online seminars on the topic of writing. She paid for two classes at the local community college. She wrote dozens of short stories and completed three (horribly unreadable) novellas, and created a blog on writing that she still manages today.
Even her dreams began to obey the character arc.
On top of her writing studies, she traced the career paths of authors who treaded these waters before her. She accepted how few debut novels do well on the shelves. She appreciated the power of backlog, and while GOTR was not intended to be a series, she penned out a sequel to it.
Same story, but this time she sold fifty-five copies in the first twelve months of release.
Introducing Jonni Robbins
Jonni Rae penned two other GOTR books under the most profitable initials in history, but when they failed to generate either a movie by that guy who directed Firefly, or an HBO series, she shifted her sights to a coming-of-age story at a school for god-sorcerers.
She wrote under the penname of JK Riordan.
Still no dice.
But rather than quit, Jonni Rae kept writing. She penned a duo of short westerns under the name of Cormilla McCormac. She inked a horror novel titled That by Stephanie Kang. She wrote about a group of teenagers forced by an evil government to battle to the death in a book called Maze Games.
As her frustrations grew, and as is so often the case with authors, she reached the pinnacle of her tenth novel with no notable notoriety whatsoever.
So, she wrote a simple girl-meets-boy story that turned out to be more of a woman-meets-man. That was not her intent, but it wrote itself out like that, owing to her recent real-life divorce after her youngest flew off to college and she found some guy roaming around her house. The novel flowed without effort, and she decided for the first time to use her actual name when she submitted.
She titled it Threaded Hearts for no reason other than she liked the sound of it.
It was accepted by the eighteenth agent she queried, and became her first traditionally published novel, albeit it a smallish publication house she had never heard of before.
Hearts rose in the ranks, and as it floated upward, her older books began to see blips on the sales-meter.
Her fanbase had grown over the years to over two-thousand followers. It surged an order of magnitude in the first three months after Hearts was released. She ranked in Amazon’s top ten thousand, then the top one thousand, then the top five hundred.
Hearts peaked at four eighty-seven, which she thought was ironic given the length of her first novel. It remained in the top one thousand for six months, selling steadily, and the undertow dragged with it her other works.
Jonni Rae Robbins Breaks Free
And so on. There was no magic moment of lottery-esque celebration, no shopping spree as the first seven-figure check rolled in following years of poverty.
Hers was a simple, slow, steady growth, reminiscent of any career in any field. She started off by learning her craft, grew and cultivated her skills, practiced and applied what she learned, and kept pestering fate to glance her way.
Jonni Rae Robbins continues to write today, applying the lessons she learned regarding patience and hard work. She appreciates marketing far more than she once did, and is considering the magical leap of authoring full-time, along with reconciliation with her ex-husband, because life doesn’t write itself out like it did in Hearts, and she sort of liked having him roam around their house.
Jonni Rae Robbins broke in. She broke out.
Now she is breaking free.
About The Author
Eric resides in Dallas, TX with his wife and children, where he writes and manages his own business. His writing combines literary characterization with supernatural elements, all the while engaging the reader’s senses with constant movement and vivid settings. His books are designed to be one-sitters, meaning they can and should be read in one (or a few) sittings, owing to the fast-paced nature of the writing.