Write On 2017! – Your Writing TEAM

Writing is a solitary pursuit and lonely profession. Publishing is not. Behind every successful author is a team who gets stories from a writer’s heart and into readers’ hands. If you’re a Lee Child or J.K Rowling, your team will include hundreds of members ranging from editors and publicists to street team leaders and booksellers. If you’re working on your first novel, your team may number just two or three. 

Regardless of where you’re at in your writing career, I’m going to challenge you to build and nurture a team that includes a minimum of two people, someone on the home front and someone in the biz.

First, let’s get personal. You need at least one person outside of publishing to offer support and encouragement. Someone who does not have a financial interest in your success. Someone who will stand in your corner with pom poms to cheer you on and bandages to patch you up when things get bloody. Someone who believes in you. Maybe a spouse, friend, sister, child, or in my case, Grandma Adeline.

Twenty-five years ago I gave my first completed novel–Silver Wings, a bloated, melodramatic 75,000-word category romance with eight dead bodies in chapter one–to my Grandma Adeline. It was the first time I let someone read my fiction, and it was SCARY. Grandma Adeline held a little piece of my heart in her hands, but I knew she would be gentle and kind. With her I felt safe. So think of this home front person as your safety net. Make sense? (BTW, the photo at right is of me and Grandma Adeline at her 100th birthday party two years ago. See the pen in my hand? I’d just signed a copy of one of my books for her.)

It’s also important to have someone in the publishing industry on your team. Traditionally, this would be your agent and/or editor(s). Good agents open doors, slay beastly threats, and talk you off ledges. A good agent doesn’t just believe in your manuscript, she believes in you. Likewise, a good editor “gets you” and your stories. She will help you become a better writer and storyteller.

Publishing insiders can also include GOOD critique partners, freelance editors, writing organizations, or mentors. These team members know something about the biz and provide motivation, education, and guidance. In need of an industry insider or two? Stick with the Rubies. We bill ourselves as “Your sisters on the yellow brick road to writing success”, and we are here for you with the Ruby Blog and our Winter Writing Festival held every January and February. 

Your Assignment: Thank one person on your team.

I’m dead serious. Call, text, e-mail, or send flowers to someone who has made a difference in your writing life. Ooooo…and if you’re game, publicly acknowledge someone on your team in the comments section below. 

This is Part 7 of the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood’s series, Write On 2017! A Writer’s Guide to Prioritizing, Goal Setting and Time Management. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.

Shelley Coriell is an award-winning author of mysteries, romantic thrillers, and novels for teens. Her debut thriller was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of the Year, and her other novels have been nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, Best Paperback Original of the Year from the International Thriller Writers, and a Kirkus Recommended Read. A former magazine editor and restaurant reviewer, Shelley lives in Arizona with her family and the world’s neediest rescue weimaraner. You can find her at and Twittering @ShelleyCoriell.

15 responses to “Write On 2017! – Your Writing TEAM”

  1. Kathy Crouch says:

    I’m not yet published but I have people that I thank all the time for helping me. I can’t wait until one of the ladies that’s helped me with critiquing will be moving closer. She’s moving from NY to NM and I’m in Texas. Congrats on sharing your book with your grandma.

  2. jbrayweber says:

    What a precious picture of you with your grandmother, Shelley.

    I’ve always been confident in my abilities (…well, most days…okay, maybe just half the time…) but having people to want you to succeed and who can commiserate and celebrate highs and lows really help make a difference. These people elevate you. And I thank my team regularly.

    Great post!


  3. Sounds like you have a great community in your corner, Jenn. Yay you! I think writing organizations like RWA are immensely valuable in helping writers find and build strong communities.

  4. Cynthia Huscroft says:

    Thanks so much, Shelley, for this series. Lots of good information. It has been/is very helpful to me.

  5. Vivi Andrews says:

    I am lucky to have an incredible family support system and the awesome Rubies and other writer cohorts who know about the biz! I’ve also had some incredible editors over the years. It really is a team sport. 🙂 Great post, Shelley.

  6. I am thankful for my agent but even before she came into my life I was blessed to have a mentor, writer friends and the support of my family. I’m still unpublished but I’m still writing.

    • So glad to hear a shout out for an agent, Sherri! Good agents wear so many hats…editor, cheerleader, therapist, money wrangler, etc. Congrats on finding a good one and Ruby heel clicks as your stories go out on submission!

  7. Blessed indeed, Sherri! May the goodness in your writing life continue.

  8. Kim Hardin says:

    I love this, Shelley! I have two friends who read my very first (and very terrible) manuscript and were so encouraging in their critiques, Diane and Courtney. They even offered to read more! 🙂 And of course, my husband who is my biggest cheerleader. <3 I miss my Grandma. I'm so glad you have you shared your with us!

  9. Kim Hardin says:

    Erg, where’s edit? That last sentence was messed up. Just starting my first cup of coffee. :p

    I’m so glad you shared your Grandma with us!

  10. […] This is Part 8 of the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood’s series, Write On 2017! A Writer’s Guide to Prioritizing, Goal Setting and Time Management. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7. […]


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