The Kobo Writing Life team is excited to announce our latest Live Q&A on October 28th, 2021. From 12:00 PM-1:00 PM EST, we’ll be chatting with author Zoe York about being a romance author in 2021, the ups and downs of indie publishing, and more on the Kobo Writing Life Facebook and YouTube pages. If you can’t make the takeover, feel free to comment on this post with your questions and we can ask them for you! 

The last year and a half has been a time of reflection and re-evaluation for a lot of us. (Even Taylor Swift talks  about this in her Folklore: Long Pond Studio Sessions on Disney+; she says “If we’re going to have to recalibrate everything, we should start with what we love most…”, a quote that has stuck with me all year)

This type of fundamental review and change can be destabilizing, but I see it as an opportunity to figure out what truly matters. For me, that right direction comes down to one question: five years from now, what do I want to have written? Five years from now, what do I want to be known for?

And then there’s a second, just as important question: right now, today, is what I am working pointing in that direction? Or am I off in the weeds?

But I also want to say, these questions didn’t crystallize for me until a few years into writing full-time. It took me three years and probably twenty books (a mix of novels and novellas) before I started to narrow in on where I wanted to settle in. Keep this in mind when considering any advice that falls under the “pick a lane and stay in it” umbrella. It’s absolutely okay to test driving in various lanes! Sometimes we write all over the place because we are still searching for the right series to settle down with. (Apologies for the mixed metaphor)

As unprecedented as the last year and a half has been, this isn’t the first time I’ve had to pause and recalibrate, reconsider what I wanted from my career. Over the last eight years, there have been other, more personal points of crisis: being laid off from my full-time job the day after I hit the bestseller lists for the first point (but when I wasn’t consistently living off writing income yet); a family health crisis that paused my writing for six months; and a sub-genre detour that really didn’t connect with my existing readers.

So what’s a global pandemic? Just another low point on the rollercoaster. And what will keep me going is remembering that if I hunker down and stay on the track, I’ll go up again. [Also, it will be temporary when I do, so plan accordingly.] Ups and downs are a part of the publishing experience. Planning for them is what makes the difference.

Zoe York is the author of sixty-nine romance novels and novellas (between two pen names, she also writes as Ainsley Booth), and three non-fiction books about the craft and business of writing genre fiction. She lives in London, Ontario Canada with her young family. 

Image by: Regina Wamba