“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'” — C.S. Lewis
Well before I met Kourtney Heintz in person, I knew that we shared much in common. We’re both compulsive about writing, for example, both adore dogs (especially our own) and both gave up “glamorous” gigs in the Big Apple for eventual happiness via the pen. Her previous career varied slightly from mine, however, and I figured we could all learn a lot from the recently published author. (Congrats, Kourtney!)
I read a sample of her new release, The 6 Train to Wisconsin, when she’d entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. (She was later named a semifinalist.) Man, was I upset when I ran out of pages; it was that good. Today, I’m honored to share my blog stage/living room with her. I’ll even let her hold my beloved mic. Take it away, Kourtney!
Many thanks to August for generously offering me a spot on her blog. She took me under her wing and taught me everything I know about social media. There’s a reason my blog hits and comments skyrocketed after I met her. (You’re way too sweet, Kourtney! Whoops, your mic!)
1) Deadlines Matter
Delays at any point in the process ripple through the entire project. If I let myself fall behind schedule, I was in trouble, my boss was in trouble, and his boss was in trouble. My actions spiraled right up the chain of command.
Even when you’re indie publishing, one missed deadline can snowball into an avalanche and derail your entire book project.
2) Getting to Yes is A Backbending Feat
Most people opened with “No.” “Yes” means more work. If someone agreed to an interview with me, it was time out of their day. I offered to come in early, meet during lunch, stay late. I’d promise to keep it to 30 minutes and be done in 29 minutes.
Any time an agent or editor request a manuscript, they are adding to their workload. Make sure you’re sending out your very best work. Research exactly how that particular agent likes to be queried. Invest time to understand what will make things easiest on them and then do it.
3) Stamp Out Flames Near Any Bridges
I had to build relationships with hundreds of people within my firm. Each interaction had to be respectful and courteous because all future interactions hinged on the current one. No matter how frustrated you get with someone, you never know how integral they may be to you down the road. And there is always more road.
4) Prioritizing Your Day is the Best Way to Stay Productive
I was usually involved in 3-6 audits on any given day–all in different stages of completion.
Everyday, I crafted my to-do list, ranking everything. My “Top 7” items were mission critical. The rest I’d work my way through. Often a few items had to move to the next day. But I always knocked out what absolutely had to be done.
5) No One Understands Your Process like You Do
No one knows how much testing and interviewing and digging it took to find an issue and make a recommendation to remediate it.
Same with writing. People will think you play on the Internet all day. They can’t imagine what revising entails. You can try explaining it to them, but the most important thing is that you know what you’re doing and you show up and do it everyday.
Author Bio: Kourtney Heintz writes emotionally evocative speculative fiction that captures the deepest truths of being human. For her characters, love is a journey never a destination. She resides in Connecticut with her warrior lapdog, Emerson, her supportive parents and three quirky golden retrievers. Years of working on Wall Street provided the perfect backdrop for her imagination to run amuck at night, imagining a world where out-of-control telepathy and buried secrets collide. Her debut novel, The Six Train to Wisconsin, was a 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Semifinalist.
One Sentence Summary of Novel: When Kai’s telepathy spirals out of control, her husband Oliver brings her to the quiet Wisconsin hometown he abandoned a decade ago, where he must confront the secrets of his past to save their future.
Connect with Kourtney Online:
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/kourtneyheintzwriter
Amazon Author Central Page: http://amazon.com/author/kourtneyheintz
Any thoughts or questions for Kourtney? What has a previous career taught you about writing?