Sunday, August 21, 2016

Bogiversary Guest Post and Giveaway with Rochelle B. Weinstein!

First let me thank Bethany Clark for hosting me on her fabulous blog. If you’re here it’s because you, like me, love to read and/or write books. Let’s applaud Bethany and her fellow book bloggers for sharing their passion and keeping the relevance of books alive on these pages.
Now a little about me. I know Bethany has shared her selfie interview with you all and I’m going to give you a little bit of background about me and how I got here.
My name is Rochelle Weinstein and I am 46 years young. My husband and I have been married a blissful 19 years and we are the parents to twins, Brandon and Jordan, who are 16 going on 24.

Born and raised in Miami Beach, Florida, I have lived in College Park, MD and Los Angeles, CA before returning to Miami. I’m what we call a boomeranger. My career began in the entertainment industry, notably film and music, and I eventually parlayed the experience into writing books. My women’s fiction titles are WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND, THE MOURNING AFTER, and most recently, WHERE WE FALL. I have self-published and I have published through Lake Union, an imprint of Amazon. We call that a hybrid!
When I’m not reading or writing, I love to be with my husband and kids, hike in the mountains of North Carolina, yoga, Pilates, go for long walks, visit the beach, watch a movie, listen to music and drink good wine, dinner with friends, and catch up on binge TV.

Now for the inspirational component of this entry.
The Top Ten Nuggets For Aspiring Writers:
1)    First Drafts Always Suck. Put simply, your book is a house. The first draft is the foundation. Flattening the earth, laying down the cement, driving piles. The obligatory, necessary components. The editing is the heart and soul of the house. Furnishing, polishing, adding color and shine. Learn to love the editing process. It’ll make a you a  much better writer.
2)    You Are Not Going To Be The Next #1 Bestseller. If you are, congratulations, because that is a ridiculously high goal that many successful authors never achieve. Successful. Did you hear that? If your book doesn’t make a bestseller list, don’t fret. The majority of authors don’t fit into that category and they still manage to have a meaningful career, a healthy following, and an income. Write your book and congratulate yourself on that feat (because it’s a big one) and focus on sharing it with the world.
3)    Writing The Book Is The Easy Part. Yes, you heard me correctly, though that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still congratulate yourself. Bravo! But the hard part comes next: determining who is the right agent to champion your work, querying literary agents, handling rejections from agents, finally signing with an agent, getting rejected by a house, deciding what to do next, researching self-publishing, getting a publishing deal, learning the ins and outs of said publishing deal, editing your book again, marketing and promoting your book, navigating social media, breaking out of the masses, bad reviews, writing your next book, and writer’s block.
4)    Speaking of which, Embrace Writer’s Block. As an author, I’ve been asked for the secret sauce to cure writer’s block. I’ve given plausible answers to shake up the juices and jumpstart your writing. Until I experienced a severe case this summer. I won’t bore you with the details, but a back injury sidelined me and even when I was able to sit at my desk with ice and heat across my bottom, I couldn’t string together a single coherent sentence. At the time, I was going through some other author-related issues. In hindsight, the back injury was a blessing. It forced me to slow down and move away from my work. The voices in my head were pressuring me to return to writing, but it wasn’t the right time. When you find yourself blocked, don’t fight it. There’s usually a reason for the block ,and when you unlock it, I can guarantee the creativity will flow. Mine did.
5)    Don’t Get Hung Up on A “Traditional” Deal. As a hybrid author, I have been labeled  and criticized for everything from destroying indie bookstores and their physical books, for selling out (whichever side you sit on), and lacking credibility. If you’re lucky enough to have a choice, publishing is a personal decision. Whether you self-publish or try the traditional route, or if you self-publish and transition to traditional, be true to your craft.  There are good books. There are bad books. And they come from self-publishing houses and even the Big Five. Do not let the rhetoric squash your dreams. If you write passionately, your work will shine through, no matter the platform.
6)    Which brings me to this: Write From Your Heart. Write what you know and what you care about. Where there’s passion, there’s a beautiful story to be told.
7)    You Will Feel Very Alone At Times. Besides sitting at your writing desk (alone) day after day, there are many aspects to a writer’s world that inhibit interaction. Take for instance that most of your friends and family will never understand or grasp the commitment or the harrowing roller coaster ride of querying, getting rejected, or reading reviews. Writing is a personal art form. You’ll be judged, critiqued and compared. If you can find at least one author to share your journey with, it will make the experience a whole lot easier.
8)    Don’t Read Reviews. But if you must peek, don’t take them too seriously. You’ll know you’ve reached a healthy stage in your literary career if you can read the one-star reviews with the same gusto as the five-stars. Why? Because you can’t base your writing solely on others’ critiques. Does what I’m saying remind you a little of middle school? It should. The gold star must come first from within.
9)    But then again, once in awhile, One Reader Can Make A Huge Difference. True story. An email I received via my website after aforementioned writer’s block and seismic changes with my publishing house and agent. Subject: Great work! Message: I don't usually send emails to the authors whose books I read, but in this case I had to. I read all 3 of your books this weekend. They were great! I read A LOT, and I don’t like to waste time on frivolous books with no meaning. I guess I am very picky when it comes to what I read. You have a talent. Great characters and great storylines. I finally had a weekend to spend on myself and luckily I found your books on Kindle. It was a very nice weekend! Keep doing what you're doing....please! We may write the books, but readers are our inspiration.
10)    Don’t Forget To Pay It Forward. I was fortunate to have numerous authors and industry insiders help me with my writing career. One of the most gratifying aspects of my being a successful author today is mentoring new writers and giving back to the writing community. Anyone who reaches out to me on my site gets a response. I’m happy to share my advice, author tips, and my contacts (when applicable). I’m a true believer in Karma boomerangs.
11)    Okay so I added one. A bonus. Always Remember Why You Write. This is one of the most important pieces to the writing and publishing process. Whether the answer is to make a living and travel the world, or to simply explore a hobby and touch people’s lives, be honest with yourself. Having a clear goal paves the way to reaching it and makes the process that much more rewarding. Knowing why you write is also relevant in choosing your publishing path. Dig deep and be clear. It can make all the difference in your career and your expectations.  

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