Tuesday, July 8, 2014

DiAnn Mills: Learning from the Pro Writers without Stalking Them

DiAnn Mills
You know who you are. It’s time to step up and be counted. You follow the award-winning, best-selling writers whose success make you drool. Their books are read and reread, often with highlights. Their blogs are ingested like candy, and whenever they speak, you’re there. At conferences, you sign-up for one-on-one appointments and sit at their tables at mealtime. Their Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and whatever other social media is used capture our attention while we’re learning the craft.

That’s not a bad practice. In fact, emulating our favorite writers can establish professional habits, whether it be in

the writing process or in marketing and promotion. Modeling our careers after successful writers is commendable. But stalking a writer through harassment and unwanted attention shoots the follower straight out of the unprofessional canon. What exactly do I mean? Here are nine naughty ways to give you the status of a stalker.

1. Multiple requests for the writer to read your work. Free 
of course.

2. Numerous comments on social media.

3. Pushing a piece of toilet tissue from one stall to another with a note of devotion. (I had this happen during a writer’s conference. I avoided the writer for the remainder of the time.)

4. Repeated emails of your fan status and how you’d do anything for him/her.

5. Sending an abundance of gifts.

6. Shoving a manuscript in his/her face before the first sip of coffee at a writer’s conference. (I had this done. I wanted to bite the writer’s hand.)

7. Planting your rear outside of the writer’s residence. (A good reason for a professional writer to use a post
office box.)

8. Waiting outside the hotel door of a writer at conference.

9. Writing that enlists plagiarism is a crime.

So what can a writer do to increase agent, editor, and professional recognition without being a nuisance? The following are nine ways to model your career after successful writers—the smart way.

1. Approach your writing as a business. To make a business prosper, an investment of time, education,
and money is a necessity.

2. Invest designated hours to learn the craft and write.

3. Invest in how-to books, time to read and reread.

4. Invest in the novels from your genre and read them.

5. Invest in a writer’s conference that provides sound teaching and is well attended by agents, editors, and
respected writers.

6. Involvement in a critique group, via online or face-to-face.

7. Involvement in a writer’s group, via online or face-to-face.

8. Social Media is a must in today’s world of publishing. Learn it. Do it. That means a quality website,
Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, blog regularly and/or guest blog. Practice the philosophy
that social media is not about you but what you can offer to others.

9. Subscribe to blogs and newsletters from those within the industry who have a proven track record: agents,
editors, publicists, marketing and promotion specialists.

10. Understand there is no easy road to publication.

11. Willingness to provide instruction to other serious writers.

12. Wisdom to discern what guideline work for you.

Did you note there are more smart items than naughty ones? A professional writer embarks upon a journey on the road to publication. It may take six months, a year, two years or more to reach your publication goals, but you can do it with the habits of a successful writer and be able to help other aspiring writers too.

About DiAnn Mills:

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She currently has more than fifty-five books published.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2014 president of the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; and a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a craftsman mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild.

She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. Visit her website and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

About DiAnn's new release, FIREWALL:

After a whirlwind romance, Taryn Young is preparing to board a plane at Houston International Airport, bound for a dream honeymoon, when a bomb decimates the terminal. Injured but still alive, she awakens to discover her husband is missing and they’re both considered prime suspects in the attack. Further, the FBI is convinced her husband isn’t who he appears to be.

Agent Grayson Hall’s number-one priority is to catch those responsible for the day’s act of terror. All evidence is pointing to Taryn and her new husband. But his instinct tells him her pleas of innocence are genuine. Is her naiveté just for show, or could she truly be another victim of a master scheme, possibly linked to the software she recently developed for her company?

With both their lives and reputations on the line, and the media outcry for justice increasing with each passing minute, Taryn and Grayson have no choice but to trust one another . . . and pray they can uncover the truth before they become two more casualties.


  1. The first set is hilarious but sadly true. What's so very hard is that while we want to encourage new writers, we don't have the time. I have 4 critique partners to whom I have pledged fast turn-around on crits (thankfully, we all have different deadlines). Too often a newer writer wants a published writer as a crit partner. That doesn't work. There's no "partnership." I always tell new writers to get a crit partner on the same level and learn together. My CPs and I did. And we're all published traditionally.

  2. I thought it was funny too - in a sad sort of way. While I don't consider myself one of the
    "big" writers, I am multi-published and almost always have multiple deadlines. As much I'd like to critique for everyone who asks, I simply don't have enough hours in the day. DiAnn's post is so timely, and full of truth. Good job, DiAnn!

  3. I would add another idea for pre-published writers who want a critique from a published author. Enter writing contests. Many ACFW clubs host writing contests for which published authors judge and critique. You may receive a critique anonymously from your favorite author! Writing contests are a wonderful way to receive one or more honest critiques from industry professionals at a modest fee. The ACFW website lists upcoming contests on their website. Go to the website, click "About", then "News and Events". You'll see that ACFW Arizona is hosting "The Rattler" in August, ACFW Denver is North Denver is hosting a "Flash Fiction" contest in September.