It is the last day of this series, which means it is time to get real.
Here's the deal: Success does not happen on its own. You have to want it. You have to work for it. You have to overcome obstacles and even then results are not guaranteed. It does not matter if you are writing a screenplay or going for a promotion at your job. You will have to work for everything you get.
You will also likely find it rare for someone to come up to you and offer you everything you want. Unless you are already famous, no one will offer you a book deal unless you write a book, make it good and get out there. And no matter how supportive other people are, you have to be your biggest cheerleader and advocate. You are responsible for what you do.
Don't be discouraged by this fact. Use it to empower yourself to make opportunities. Why wait for something to happen for you? Make it happen for yourself.
Want to be a book reviewer? Start a blog. Review books that you read on your own. Eventually, people will see what you are doing and offer you books to read. That's what I did.
Want that book deal? Write the book. Have people critique it. Get an agent/ publisher. Self publish. Do what you have to do.
When I think of people who have made opportunities for themselves, one person who comes to mind is Samantha Robey. She founded Chick Lit Plus, and also released her debut novel under the pen name Samantha March. She did not wait for someone to ask her to do either — she took the initiative and made it happen. I met her through the Twitterverse, and now I'm pleased to participate in her Chick Lit Plus blog tours.
Samantha was kind enough to do an interview with me so I can share her story with you. Maybe it will give you the inspiration you need to make your own opportunity.
Samantha Robey: I've always been a big reader, and it really just came to the point where I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to talk to people about the books I read. I anted to hear other's opinion on the books. I wanted to connect with the authors. And I want to be published myself. In 2009, after googling around the Internet, I found a book blog that was everything I wanted to have for myself. I sketched out my own ideas, did some more researching, and hired a blog designer within the week and Chick Lit Plus was created. I have always said it was my best idea yet.
LC: What are the services and products you offer through your website.
SR: Let's see here:
1. Book reviews
2. Author interviews/ guest posts
3. Lots of giveaways!
4. Blog tours via CLP Blog Tours
5. Freelance editing services - includes proofreading, content editing, manuscript critiques, etc.
6. The Chick Lit Reading Challenge - this will be my second year hosting it.
7. And I recently just published my debut novel under my pen name Samantha March — Destined to Fail, so I feature a section on Chick Lit Plus called For Writers - writers helping other writers.
I think that's it but… more to come in 2012.
LC: How did starting the website change your life?
SR: It really, truly did. Before I started Chick Lit Plus, I had my goals and dreams. But since I have started my site, I saw what hard work and perseverance could do. Chick Lit Plus absolutely helped me become a published writer. The resources and connections it opened me up to have been incredible. And now to use my experience and knowledge to help authors and run my business from it — life changing in every way.
LC: What outcome has most surprised you since starting the website?
SR: How hard it can be. How much work goes into a blog. I had no idea when I first started this that it would grow to what it has now. I had no idea I would be where I am now. But I think it is because of the work that I put into it. I have two to three original posts every day — including weekends. I'm constantly updating what I'm reading, what's next on my bookshelf, what I got in my mailbox. I post book reviews three to four times a week. I interview an average five authors a month. I write original content on books, writing, celebrities, fashion, beauty and fitness. I'm marketing myself for hours a day, chatting on Facebook or Twitter or updating my Amazon or GoodReads page. Oh yes — then I red. I average three books a week, but my to-read pile is still out of control. Is it exhausting? Yes. Do I fear carpel tunnel? Every day. But do I love it? Yes. Is it my passion? Without a doubt. There are times where I feel down, where I feel like I can't have a day off, away from my laptop. Where I feel that I can't pick up a book without feeling the weight of a deadline on my shoulders. Then I just have to remind myself that I'm lucky. I'm doing what I love every day. Trust me — it's worth it.
LC: What advice would you have for other writers who feel like they nee to create new opportunities for themselves?
SR: Do it. Don't let anyone tell you differently. Don't tell yourself differently. If you have an idea, something that you feel will work and you have done research on it, just go for it. No one is going to make the opportunities happen for you. You have to make them yourself.
LC: Is there anything else you would like people to know about your website/ writing career/ self?
SR: Just that I'm grateful. I'm so extremely grateful for everyone who has supported me and Chick Lit Plus these past two years. I don't think I would be published if it weren't for the enthusiasm, support and persistence of others to never give up. To the wonderful feedback I have gotten from authors, readers, bloggers, and clients. For the first time in my (kind of) young life, I feel that I'm on track. I know what I want to do and have some good ideas on how to get there. And for that, I am grateful.
For more information about Samantha, visit her websites:
Giveaway challenge: What opportunity have you created for yourself? What was the result?
LAST CHANCE TO ENTER: Answer in the comments below to be entered to win this week's Twelve Days of Writing drawing. Be sure to check back Friday at 2 p.m. CDT to see if you are this week's winner. Read about the contest and what prizes you can win here. This week's winner will receive the Top Chef cookbook and recipe kit.