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Everybody Makes Mistakes!

August 31, 2010

(Trust me. There’s a reason for the picture you’re looking at.)

Yes, that’s Hannah Montana.

Or is that Miley Cyrus? Sorry, I forgot which one was real.

Yep.

Every time I watch a Nickelodeon or Disney TV show and people are doing something totally ridiculous or embarrassing, I tell my brother: It’s going to take ten years for them to shed the Nick/Disney image. Why would they do that to themselves?

And, really – why? Why not do some commercials and show up on a few episodes of CSI? Obviously, sometimes it works out, and sometimes those shows can be cute, but what Disney/Nick star has been able to shed that image and branch out without people snickering and saying, “Oh, there’s [insert character name from past Disney/Nick show here]. In a real movie. Pfft”?

Look at Zac Efron, who still hasn’t been able to really move on from High School Musical, even though, in my opinion, he’s actually a pretty good actor. And Hilary Duff. Every time I look at her, I think “Lizzie Maguire.” And then there’s Miley Cyrus. The list of Disney and Nickelodeon stars that have yet to move on from their kiddy pasts is long.Their first moves into stardom branded them for years, and possibly for life.

What if your first published work is the same way?

When will Stephenie Meyer ever really be able to move on, past Twilight?

My message to you today: Make sure you’re willing to be branded by your first book.

Clearly, we all love our babies… I mean, books. We’re very probably going to be proud of our first published work – as we should be! It was your Golden Ticket! You’re in! You’re officially a VIP, all thanks to [insert beloved book title here].

However, keep in mind that you will never be able to erase that book from your “permanent record.” Obviously, our writing will always be improving. Every book we write (hopefully) is better than our last. That’s a given.

But I shudder to think that I might regret jumping the publishing gun.

Make sure you are ready, and make sure your darling book is. Don’t be blinded by your seemingly undying love for [insert beloved book title here]. Think objectively.

Not only will your first book brand you, but the genre it’s in. I’ve heard time and time again, things like “Pfft. Zac Efron could never be in a really emotional movie.” Even I tease, “Is he an all-star high school basketball player this time around?”

Attention comes with judgment. That’s how it is. Do you want to be judged by [insert beloved book title here]?

The ideal answer: yes.

Luckily for us writers, people are more open-minded. I’d be willing to read a fantasy novel by John Green. (Okay, okay, I’d be willing to read almost anything by John Green. But you get the idea.)

John Green, lucky him, struck gold with his debut, Looking for Alaska.

You want a brand like that. One that you can show with a sense of pride forever, one a majority of people will respect. Brands tend to be permanent. The hair won’t grow back over the scar.

Be objective. Be a little logical (oh my!). Try to look at yourself thirty years from now from the eyes of other people.

But don’t let objectivity cloud your love. Go ahead and be in love with that blissfully wonderful book of yours.

There’s always a happy medium. Love and logic can coexist. Even if there’s some bickering.

Psst! Paranormalcy came out TODAY! Must. Read.

Also, please, please, please give me suggestions for my blogiversary giveaway! – Help Me Help You

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. sarahwedgbrow permalink
    September 1, 2010 11:24 AM

    This is one of my fears–being branded. It doesn’t fit with my personality. I read all sorts and I write all sorts. I guess this is the biggest perk in being unpublished–you get to write what you want with no imposed restraints. But it doesn’t pay very well.

    • September 1, 2010 11:48 PM

      Goodness, that’s depressingly true, isn’t it? However, I’d write whether I was paid or not (clearly!), as most of us would. It pays to love your work. (And, no, I’m not laughing at my own lame joke.)

  2. September 1, 2010 8:28 AM

    I know that both Stephenie Meyer and J.K. Rowling have both commented on how much they grew as writers while working on their series. Even Stephenie Meyer admitted that her writing had a long way to go.

    But as with anything that’s young, it’s hard to understand that you still have many years left in your life, years in which you may want different things for yourself.

    I’ll never forget being a kid and loving the series Goosebumps. My Dad mentioned once that when I was older, I might want to read other things, and I got so mad at him, declaring, “I’ll never stop reading Goosebumps!”

    I never got rid of the series, but I hate to say that I don’t crack open R.L. Stine as much as I used to…It’s always hard to judge the future when you’re so new to the world.

  3. August 31, 2010 5:56 PM

    smart advice, nothing less than what i’m starting to expect from you 🙂 i deffs agree with those disney actor comparisons, still staying away from zac efron despite my intrigue in “charlie st. cloud”…
    and john green + fantasy? hmm, yes please, only becuase i think he would be able to make it hilarious xD

    • September 1, 2010 11:46 PM

      Aw, Audrey, you know how to compliment! I’m glad you enjoyed the post

  4. August 31, 2010 4:24 PM

    “The hair won’t grow back over the scar.” Ummmm how are you so smart? This is an awesome post. I think about this a lot with debut authors. Everyone secretly dreams of S. Meyer success, but if we think about it, do we really with our first book?

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