My guest today is Lisa Hall, author of the bestselling psychological thrillers Between You and Me and Tell Me No Lies, which Heat magazine called ‘breathlessly fast-paced and cleverly unsettling’. Not content with a successful career as an author, Lisa has also crossed the divide to the other side of the business by founding a new publishing imprint, Manatee Books.
In the introduction I give a recap on my progress during 2017.
It was a good year – my most productive so far, in fact – but I am keen to improve and to make 2018 even better.
In 2017, my main writing goal was to write two new novels and to finish, edit and publish the Worried Writer book.
I also narrated the audiobook version, which was very enjoyable but also quite tricky and time-consuming! It will hopefully be up for sale by the end of the month.
My supernatural thriller is almost ready to go on submission to publishers. This is always a nerve-wracking time and I’m very grateful that I have other projects to distract me…
I got The Garden of Magic made into an audio book and created a short story giveaway for my reader group sign-up.
I’m trying to get better at celebrating small successes, so listed some of my highlights from 2017:
- Talking about overcoming fear and self-doubt on The Creative Penn podcast. You can listen here or watch the video on YouTube.
- The Worried Writer being featured in Mslexia magazine.
- Getting a new publishing deal with Lake Union with Beneath The Water.
I give a brief overview of my goals for 2018, but will put up a more detailed ‘Writing Goals’ post on the 2nd January.
Are you setting goals for 2018? I would love to hear about your plans, too.
Comment below with your goals, or get in touch with any questions on goal-setting, defining success, or productivity.
In the interview:
‘Because I’ve got three children I have to cram quite a lot in those hours in the middle of the day. When I’m writing I aim for 2000 words a day… I try not to do anything in that period when the children come home from school and go to bed.’
‘I do work Saturdays and Sundays. Especially when I’m on a deadline or I’m in the zone… Even I only get 500 words down then I don’t feel so guilty about taking the rest of the day off and spending it with the kids.’
‘The first couple of hours in the morning I do admin stuff. With Manatee Books there’s a lot of admin… I keep hours in the afternoon free for writing. I mean, it doesn’t always balance-out! It balances out eventually, but it’s quite hard.’
‘I’ve always got a to-do list… So I can work through and I know exactly what needs to be done every day and then I tag my wordcount onto the end.’
‘I quite often go for a run if I get stuck.’
‘I hate the thought of editing and when I get my edit notes, I don’t want to open the email… But once I make a start I’m okay.’
‘I’m a massive planner… I can’t write any other way.’
‘When I’m working on a book it’s like the idea for the next book can’t fully come through until that book is finished… It’s like my brain won’t let me think about the full story so I do worry that the idea won’t come, but it’s been like this every time.’
On starting a publishing company:
‘I’ve had a really good experience with my road to publication and the way HQ have handled things for me… And I know there are people out there who don’t have such a good experience so I wanted to set up something where hopefully we give every author a good experience… It’s really really exciting when you sign the contract but I feel like that excitement should keep going all the way through… I just want everyone to have a lovely experience. We’re living the dream after all!’
‘One day I might run out ideas but even if I can’t write I’ll still get to be involved in books, in publishing and be surrounded by brilliant stories and that’s all I really want.’
‘We are open for submissions. Liz is always on the lookout for good crime novels. I prefer the more commercial crime novel but she is all about the quirky… I work on the women’s fiction side of it which I really love… I’m looking for good chick lit, nice holiday reading and I’m really on the lookout for a good bookclub read. Um, bit of romance – not too saucy.’
Lisa’s advice to other authors:
‘Building an author brand is a slow burn and you need to be patient.’
Thanks for listening!
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