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Throwback Thursday: I Knew Nothing, Jon Snow

Welcome to Throwback Thursdays, the day when we look back.  Sometimes this may mean laughing over old covers or sharing books that STILL make us sigh twenty years later.  On some Thursdays we may repost old blogs that have (or haven’t) aged well as the industry changed around us, but today I’m taking a stroll down memory lane to talk about my very first release and all the things I didn’t know that I didn’t know.

The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo & the Poltergeist AccountantMy first release came out in 2009.  It was digital-first.  It was paranormal-rom-com.  It was a novella.  And I knew NOTHING about branding, marketing or building a readership.  It had the longest title known to man (The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo & the Poltergeist Accountant) and was goofy, playful, and more about the comedy than the sexy-times.  My follow-up?  A super sexy, serious shape-shifter novella in a totally different world. 

Independently of one another either of those books could have made a good debut, if I had then consistently followed them with books that built an idea in a reader’s mind of what they were going to get when they picked up a Vivi Andrews book. But my initial approach was more spaghetti-random (throw it all at the wall and see what sticks).  I didn’t think about how I felt as a reader when I didn’t get what I expected from a book.  I just thought about all the different fun ideas I had and threw them at the wall.  This can work when you’re pitching to editors or agents, but I’ve definitely learned that when it comes to publishing a brand helps build your career. Branding is about setting expectations and satisfying them.  When you think of your favorite authors, you know what you’re going to get when you pick up one of their books.  It’s part of why you buy.  But people didn’t know what they were going to get from me – and I think that was my biggest mistake from my “training wheels” books.  But it definitely helped me learn. I figured out that I needed to be clear about setting reader expectations and I took that lesson with me when I launched my Lizzie Shane name – contemporary romance with a clear, consistent tone.  Hopefully seeing my mistakes will keep you from making the same ones.

What do you want readers to expect from you? What are some of your biggest takeaways from mistakes you’ve made along the way as you’ve developed as a writer?


Lizzie Shane is the author of over thirty contemporary and paranormal romances.  Her latest book, A Royal Christmas Wish, was released by Hallmark Publishing in September.  For more about Lizzie and her books, please visit www.lizzieshane.com.

4 responses to “Throwback Thursday: I Knew Nothing, Jon Snow”

  1. Darynda Jones says:

    What a great post, Vivi! Boy, do I remember those days. So clueless. I still want to write in every genre under the sun. I really have to weigh what I write against what is now expected of me. It’s a hard compromise sometimes.

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  2. Lydia Stevens says:

    I will be interested to see where I am in another five years. I’ve always been a writer, but began working on the education and career about five years ago. I started as an indie author, now have a small press publisher, and am still working on getting an agent. I know where I was and I know where I want to be, (professionally speaking) so it is kind of surreal considering I’m sort of in the middle of obtaining my goals. Some days I feel like I know nothing, and other days I feel like I am on top of it all. It’s very strange to try to reflect on the experience as a whole, when I only have part of the journey.

    To you lovely ladies who are seasoned professionals, was there a point you reached where you said, “This is it. I made it. I’ve accomplished what I set out to do and now everything else is just a fabulous bonus?”

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    • Honestly, I still don’t feel like I’ve “made it” and I’m not sure I ever will. I like the idea that there is always a new goal to strive for – but I do think it’s important to take stock and see how far we’ve come from when we started out. It’s a long journey and it can be easy to miss the mileposts along the way. So I’m all about celebrating each accomplishment, but definitely looking for the next goal to work toward. At least that’s my two cents. 🙂

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