Today I’m excited to share my interview with author Elizabeth Spann Craig. Okay, let’s get the impressive stats out of the way first:
- She writes 3.5 books per year.
- She has written 27 books since 2009.
She shares so much amazing advice about how she writes, manages her publishing career, and attends to her author platform. Some of what we cover:
- How she abandoned earlier books she wrote because she hadn’t yet found her voice. She had just thrown away those manuscripts a few months ago.
- How she wrote her first book while caring for a kindergartener and a baby (who didn’t like to nap) “I could get her to watch Elmo’s world, and I could fit in 15 minutes of writing. 15 minutes a day, I had a book in less than a year.”
- How the first publisher she signed with closed shop before her book was published.
- Over a three year period, she wrote another book and queried more than 100 agents. When she was rejected by all of them, she then broke the rules: she submitted the book directly to multiple publishers at once (without an agent.) Two publishers were interested and she signed with one.
- After she signed with a publisher, Penguin reached out to her to congratulate her and say that they were going to give her an offer when they heard she had already signed with a different publisher. What she did next astounded me. Elizabeth wrote back and said, “Is there anything else you would like to have written? I can write anything.” The editor wrote back saying that she had a new series that she needed a writer for. She asked Elizabeth for 30 pages, which lead to a contract.
She credits many collaborators who helped guide her along the way, including her agent and other writing mentors.
- Elizabeth is honest about her process in a way I don’t often hear writers talk about: “I’m a commercial writer: I wrote for a market. I’m very deliberate about that. Fairly calculating. But it’s also a creative challenge, because I have these parameters that I have to work within.”
- How did she find the time to write and publish 27 books in the past years? This is how: “I trained myself to write anytime, anywhere at a split second. I had notes on my phone, I had Google docs, I had stuff ready to go. I always started out waking up an hour before my family. So that meant 4:30am. I would get enough of my goal done in that hour where I felt already good about it. Then I wrote in both carpool lines, I did afternoon pickup. I would pull the seat all the way back, put the laptop between the steering wheel and myself, and type. I was usually in the carpool line about 45 minutes before school let out, you are on the street otherwise. I got the words done. If I was at a doctor’s appointment — no matter what it was — anytime I had dead time, like oil changes, I would pull it out and start working on it. Five minutes here, five minutes there. Also in five minutes, you can make your story progress by making a list of possible endings, plot or setting details, or just little lists that can go into your story later.
- Her connection to readers: “The relationship I have with my readers is very tight. In terms of suggestions, complaints, I’m very responsive. I’ll write you back 20 minutes later if you email me.”
Why she moved to self-publishing, “I was making more money self-publishing than I was from my two Penguin books. Money talks, so it was clear to me that I had to keep self-publishing.”
- How she manages her author platform and social media, and why she has written a blog for years, why she engages so actively in the online community with others writers. She said, “Honestly, I think that is the favorite part of my day.”
- I asked how she stays on top of blog and trends, and she said, “I subscribe to 2,700 blogs.” She explains how she goes through this to create what she shares on social media.
“Every day I’m writing is a good day.”
You can listen to the podcast by clicking ‘play’ below, or in the following places:
You can find Elizabeth in the following places: