The Anxiety-Inducing Roller Coaster of Writing: An Update

Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay

It might be time for me to make the dreaded migration to a self-hosted website, but since it’s been so long since I posted anything here, I thought I’d dust off my dashboard and say hi. Hi. Ain’t these some fun times we’re having?

A lot has happened in my writing life since my last entry nearly two years ago—good, bad, and ugly—but before I share it, I’ll mention that once I switch over to a self-hosted website, I’m not sure followers of this blog will be notified of future posts. I’m not even sure there will be future posts since I might not carry the blog over. I might just stick to a newsletter. So if you’d like to hear about my future book news, feel free to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve only sent one in two years, so that should tell you how often you’ll get one.

Now for my year plus eleven months in review…

There’s a tendency to only share the good things that happen with our writing. Partly that’s because we’re professionals and we don’t want to spread negativity. Partly it’s because saying less can be more in this industry. And partly it’s because we all suffer from impostor syndrome and are hesitant to share anything that might prove it. 

But getting from point A to point B in writing is rife with hard work, self-doubt, and rejection, and if we paint nothing but rainbows and butterflies, it does other writers a disservice. But please know that when I share my bad and my ugly, it’s not a reflection on the industry or on anyone else. It’s simply my experience. With the good, I’ve taken the bad, and like the big girl I am, I’ve weathered it.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

So, in chronological bullet points for the sake of brevity, here is my year plus eleven months in review:

July 2018: A prominent agent discovered my already published The Bone Curse and reached out to me, first by email and then by phone. She told me she would like to work with me, but since series are hard to sell out of the gate, could I write a thriller unrelated to my series and send it to her?

July 2018 to February 2019: Pinched myself over and over, tethered myself to my keyboard, and wrote a new thriller. Never had I been so productive. Meanwhile, The Bone Curse was doing decent in sales, and I finally started making some money from writing.

February 2019: Sent a query letter to the prominent agent who wanted to work with me. Told her my new manuscript, Fatal Rounds, was finished and had been beta read and edited. Ten days later, received form rejection from her assistant that project wasn’t right for her. Manuscript wasn’t even requested.

February 2019 to May 2019: Spent each day in a writing depression, the anchor of disappointment so heavy on my chest I could barely bring myself to write. I plucked around with book two in my series but couldn’t turn off the neon sign in my head that kept flashing: what’s the point? Meanwhile, I queried Fatal Rounds to several agents. Nothing but crickets and rejections.

May 2019 to July 2019: I bucked up and decided I wasn’t getting any younger. Got a cover designed and submitted Fatal Rounds to the Publishers Weekly BookLife Prize contest, not with any expectation of winning, but to get a blurb for promotional purposes. Then went to ThrillerFest in New York and, last minute, pitched to a handful of agents at PitchFest, feeling like a loser because it was the fourth time I’d done so.

Ten days later I received an offer of representation from more than one agent. 🎉

August 2019: Signed with the awesome Victoria Skurnick of Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency. 🥂 Made a few revisions in the manuscript. Got featured in BookLife and Publishers Weekly.

September 2019 to December 2019: Fatal Rounds advanced to quarter-finals in the PW BookLife contest, then semi-finals, and then got named finalist.

December 2019 to now: A lot of waiting, waiting, waiting. Fatal Rounds has received a few publisher rejections, and we also turned down an offer, but now with COVID-19 acquisitions are down overall, so I’m not sure how things with Fatal Rounds will end. (Hopefully not fatally, snort snort.)

And finally…

I also finished two other books I’d started earlier, and since one is a cozy mystery and the other is the second in my Benjamin Oris series, my wonderful agent agreed I could go indie with them. She knows I’m ansty to get some work out there, because, you know, have I mentioned I’m not getting any younger? Meanwhile, I’m writing a new manuscript for her.

The first of my new books is The Cruise Ship Lost My Daughter, a humorous cozy mystery I wrote under a pen name and drew from a British Isles cruise I accompanied my mother and stepfather on in 2017 (talk about literary fodder). It survived NetGalley (always a scary place to be) and was published three weeks ago.

The second is book two in my Benjamin Oris series, where a man of science gets caught up in otherworldly situations. It’s called The Bone Hunger and will be released on August 11th.

So there you have it. My year plus eleven months in review. Remember, if you want to hear if my agented book gets picked up by a publisher or of any other publication news, sign up for my newsletter. Hopefully, if I migrate to a self-hosted website, I won’t blow the internet up in the process.

Thank you so much for catching up with me. I’d love to do the same with you. What’s going on in your life, writing or otherwise?

107 Responses to “The Anxiety-Inducing Roller Coaster of Writing: An Update”

  1. Bumba

    The best of luck! It definitely is difficult to gain traction as a commercially successful writer. Hats off hanging in there, from someone who’s already hung up his hat and is just hanging out.

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  2. thelonelyauthorblog

    Hello Carrie,

    I hope you and yours are well.
    I wanted to let you know I achieved a milestone on my blog and I mentioned you as the second person who followed my blog five years ago. Hopefully,the mention will bring you a little more traffic.

    I hope it was okay to do this. If it isn’t my deepest apologies.

    ‘Drew

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    • Carrie

      Very nice of you to do, thank you. I don’t blog anymore–just put up this post as an update–but I do miss those days. Just not enough hours in the day though, and I get more writing done now. Thank you again and take care!

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  3. Cindy Georgakas

    So in awe of your shift in careers since “you’re not getting any younger” and pursuing your writing aspirations! Your story and persistance is inspirational and your writing exceptional. You paint a clear and accurate picture of the profession of hurrying up to wait. Can’t wait to see your book on the best sellar list.

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  4. Ally Bean

    I’m pleased to read that despite some setbacks, you’re doing great– both as an author and as a person. I see you on Twitter, of course, but blogging is whole ‘nother thing. So fun to find you here again.

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    • Carrie

      Thank you. It’s more a drive-by. I’ll disappear again, but I thought I should pop in one more time. I miss the blogging world, but I’m more productive now, so it’s a trade-off. Stay well out there!

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  5. Diane Henders

    Hello, Carrie! It’s nice to see you back! 🙂 What a roller-coaster you’ve been on. Congratulations on persevering and finding the right agent (boo to that other rude one), and hooray for your success so far with Fatal Rounds. And wow, look at you go with a cozy mystery, too!

    I hope everything goes *ahem* ‘swimmingly’ for you from now on – I’m sure all your hard work and dedication will pay off! And now I’m off to Amazon to check out The Cruise Ship Lost My Daughter. 🙂

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    • Carrie

      Thank you, Diane! Nice of you to drop by. And thank you for your interest in the cozy. Just a fun side project I did to commemorate the trip. Soooo much fodder!

      I felt bad leaving the blogging world, but I get so much more writing done now. I’ve always been impressed by how you manage to keep at it weekly plus keep writing books. BTW, I just buzzed by your website. It looks amazing. And I see it’s still a WordPress dot com website. Hmm, now you’ve got me wondering if I really do need to change to a self-hosted site or not. Would be a lot easier not to…

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      • Diane Henders

        Yes, I actually operate two other self-hosted WordPress websites, one for my husband’s business and one for the Mount Arrowsmith Rhododendron Society, where I volunteer as webmaster. There’s a lot that I like about the self-hosted sites; especially the customization options and the ability to install whatever themes and plugins I want. But I’ve just never gotten around to migrating my own site over. It’s nice to have somebody else responsible for website security. (I’m hoping I don’t ever have a reason to regret that decision!)

        I agree, blogging takes a lot of time. I’ve gone to posting every second week, and that frees up a bit more time for me. I still enjoy doing it, though, and it’s nice to be able to connect with my readers that way. I still have my Facebook author page because it’s kind of a necessary evil, but I loathe Facebook and grind my teeth every time I have to use it!

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        • Carrie

          I feel the same about Facebook. I don’t post nearly as often as I should. I’m active on Twitter though. That’s my main platform.

          I can see why you stay with WordPress dot com after having to manage two other sites on your own. Maybe I’ll have to check out some other themes, find something that looks more like an actual website and less of a blog. Thanks!

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          • Diane Henders

            You probably don’t need to change your theme at all (unless you want a totally different look). Just switch over to using a static homepage – that setting is in your WordPress dashboard under Appearance | Customize | Homepage Settings.

            After you do that, visitors to carrierubin.com will get directed to your home page instead of your blog, and the blog becomes just another page of content on your site. Then you can build all the pages you want for other content. Just a thought – that’s how I’ve done mine.

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            • Carrie

              Yes I did that a couple years ago. Definitely looks better now, but it still has that WordPress look. Then again, it probably doesn’t to someone who’s not familiar with blogging. Thank you!

              Liked by 1 person

  6. Marie A Bailey

    So good to hear from you, Carrie!! And well done that you’ve persisted through so much disappointment (in other people, naturally; your writing is never disappointing). Congratulations on your new releases. I’ve pre-ordered The Bone Hunger and am so looking forward to it. And I’ve signed up for your newsletter too 🙂 Wishing you all the best!

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    • Carrie

      Thank you, Marie! So nice of you. I’ve always appreciated your wonderful support.

      I think of you often, navigating the public health waters during these times. I’m sure there are days you’re ready to throw in the towel. Take care and stay well.

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      • Marie A Bailey

        Thank you, Carrie! Yeah, it’s hard enough to cope with COVID-19 as a citizen, but my stress level tends to skyrocket during the work day … and I don’t even work in epidemiology! Our epis are the ones who are really doing the heavy lifting and there’s not enough of them. With our increase in new cases, I wish our governor would at least hire more epis since they are the ones that have to do the contact tracing. I won’t hold my breath … except when passing by someone who’s not wearing a mask 😉 Stay healthy and safe!

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  7. annabellefranklinauthor

    Well done for your persistence and congratulations on your successes. I’ve been working on a supernatural series for children but I seem to have fallen into a muddy pond of indecision – self-publish or traditional, and is it even ready? I think I need to take a leaf out of your book – less internet and more work!

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    • Carrie

      Thank you, and congrats on the new book! Sounds wonderful. Good luck with it whichever route you decide.

      “Less internet and more work”—I like that, and it’s definitely true. Makes for a great slogan!

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  8. Jacqui Murray

    I have been wondering about you, Carrie! I follow your tweets but more lurking than active. Great news about so many nibbles. Something just has to work out, there’s too much smoke.

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    • Carrie

      Thank you, Jacqui. I hope so. It’s not the best time to have a book on submission, but we’ll see. In the meantime I’m thrilled I can at least get something out there.

      Miss interacting with you in the blog world, but something had to give. I’ve gotten so much more writing done since I left blogging. I don’t know how you keep up with everything!

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  9. ParentingIsFunny

    So cool to see you blogging again, Carrie! I feel for you with the let down from that one agent. Ugh! And great that your current one was cool with you going indie to get your stuff out there. The cruise ship one sounds great! Here’s hoping for Fatal Rounds!! I just love that you keep coming up with ideas and keep writing!

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    • Carrie

      Thank you! I greatly appreciate the support you and your mother have shown me over the years. I’ll never forget her kind appearance at my book signing. 😊

      It’ll probably be another two years before I post again, but hey, at least it’s something! Happy writing to you. Hopefully your concentration is better than mine right now.

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      • ParentingIsFunny

        I’m glad I still have you on Twitter, which, as you may have noticed, I’m endeavoring to utilize more often of late, since that’s what we writers are supposed to do.

        As to your last comment, I find that highly unlikely!

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    • Carrie

      Thank you for stopping by! You know I usually read your movie reviews even though I don’t leave my calling card anymore. I discuss them with my screenwriter son. He says you have good taste, but that I don’t. Sheesh, I drag him to one or two bad movies as a kid, and he never lets me forget it. (Case in point: Hot Pursuit) 😄

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  10. aFrankAngle

    Hi Carrie! Thanks so much for checking in. Not only congratulations on the successes, but extra cheers to your endurance through the tough times. Keep plugging away!

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    • Carrie

      Thanks so much, Frank! Always nice to hear from a fellow Ohioan. It’s been quite the crazy world out there lately, and I imagine no cruises for you and your wife for a while. Or ballroom dancing, I imagine, at least not with others. Hope you’re both doing well. Take care and stay well!

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      • aFrankAngle

        Yep … we had two trips planned this summer … nada … Ballroom is off the books, although there are opportunities. We went several weeks ago, but are passing this week. Hope you drop by the the latest post.

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        • Carrie

          Just read it–wow, you’ll certainly be missed, but it’s understandable. It is indeed a time commitment to blog. Like you, I had a self-imposed standard, and when I could no longer keep up visiting other blogs and didn’t have enough time to write, I knew it was time to let things go. But it’s pretty nice we can still connect from time to time. Even two years later like now!

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    • Charissa

      What a ride you’ve had! I just bought the cozy mystery. I’m excited for Bone Hunger. The first one in that series was awesome. 2020 has dumped a bucket of ice water over my writing muse, and I am shivering and trying to stop my teeth from chattering as I plow SLOWLY through a rough draft for my next book. Having family home working makes it weird to read scenes aloud like I used to. My husband gives me that crazy look, so I’ve zipped my lips and pray he can get back into the office someday so I can get back to my normal writing routine. Ha ha. (Please, pass me some hot chocolate to thaw out) 🙂

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      • Carrie

        Thank you, Charissa! Very nice of you. Hope you enjoy it. It’s much lighter than my usual fare. 😄

        I hear you on the writing. I had my two college sons home unexpectedly because of the virus, and although it’s lovely to have them, it made writing more challenging. Oldest just graduated and moved out though (luckily his job is still on), so now we have one less. It’s like going through the empty nest all over again! Combine that with the stress of everything going on in the world, and it’s definitely been challenging to be productive in 2020.

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