copyright 2010, Misa Ramirez
Here’s a riddle for you:
How many irons can a mystery writer keep in the fire without getting burned?
Um, I don’t know yet. I’ll let you know when it happens.
Seriously, I do sometimes wonder how I keep my head afloat. My mother is always telling me to slow down, relax, don’t take on so much, etc. But I think it’s in my nature to keep busy. As Lucille Ball said (yes, that Lucille Ball), “If you want something done, ask a busy person.”
I’m that busy person.
I rarely have time to waste, so I multitask expertly. TV time with the kids? I'm blogging (because I have 2 blogs I write for: The Stiletto Gang and The Naked Hero, or editing (because I’m a writer and there’s always something to edit or revise), or reading student work (because I teach writing at a local college), or working on my business, Books on the House, a website I founded to bring writers and readers together under one roof. Pretty good tagline, right?!
I’m a mother of five, ages 8-18, a PTA volunteer, a wife, an education advocate (but, man, that’s a whole ‘nother story built out of pure passion and necessity), book clubber, band mom... I could go on. And on.
Considering everything I have going on in my life, I often wonder why I wasn’t satisfied with just my writing. Why did I co-found The Naked Hero? Why did I join The Stiletto Gang? Why did I found Books on the House?
I think the answers really define who I am, as a person and as a writer. I’m proactive. I’m a doer. If I see a need, I jump in. If I want something, I figure out how to get it. There’s another quote I like, author unknown: Some people dream of success... while others wake up and work hard at it.
Just to clarify, I don’t see success as something finite or concrete. I already feel successful. I have set my mind to accomplish certain things, I’ve worked hard, and I’ve reached those goals.
I wanted to write. So I did. Every Monday night when my youngest was but a few weeks old, I went to a coffee shop with a friend and wrote.
I wanted to write a book. A character was born, then her family, then the mystery and premise of the book.
I wanted to have that book published and pursue a new career, although I never had expectations of bestsellerdom. I joined a writing organization, learned to hone my craft, found an agent, then another agent, and voila!, a short 3 years later, the book found a home at St. Martin’s Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books.
I wanted to venture into e-books, so I did, signing with and having two romantic suspense books (based on Mexican legends) published with Diversion Books.
After learning the hard way that publishers don’t help much with marketing and promotion, I wanted to create a way for authors, like myself, to inexpensively market and promote themselves and their books to a captive audience. Books on the House was born.
Being an education advocate, I wanted a similar site for children’s and YA books. Books on the House for Kids and Teens was created as an offshoot of the main site.
And now, as my career has grown (feeling less like a fluke after the Lola Cruz Mysteries with SMP and more like that career I dreamed of since I signed a contract for 3 books with NAL), I have a solid marketing strategy and the opportunity to build my career even more so I can continue doing what I love.
I’m first and foremost a mystery writer, but the silver lining from all the irons I have smoking is the unexpected success of Books on the House. Running this site has allowed me to meet some amazing people like the fantastic Aaron Lazar :), Sarah Addison Allen, Alyson Noel, MJ Rose, and so many more. I’ve met equally amazing readers who are so excited to discover new-to-them authors.
Six months ago I had a nugget of an idea about a way to bring readers and books together. Now I have a site which gets more than 60,000 page views per month, a subscriber list of more than a 1000, and is growing every single day is phenomenal. I’m so proud to have created something people respond to so whole-heartedly and that is built around my passion of books and writing, and seriously, what’s not to love about discovering new books and entering to win free books?
So, how many irons do you keep in the fire, and have you gotten burned?