“Mina” is ten years old
A ten-year-old name, that is.
The entire year that I was going back and forth with my editor and publisher on what would be my first book, I was communicating using a different name. (They still call me by that name, because it’s the one that everyone else pre-publishing calls me.) On the day that we got final confirmation that my book My Imaginary Ex would be released, I chose Mina V. Esguerra as my pen name, so now here we are.
Friends: This is my 10th year as a published author, and I’d like to do a giveaway. There are so many things associated with having your first book published and they happen over a period of time, but it was in March 2009 when I decided on my author name. Giveaway in thread: pic.twitter.com/pIPHvLau9U— Mina V. Esguerra (@minavesguerra) March 27, 2019
This blog has all my posts and everything I’ve ever learned from 10 years of being a published author already, but some highlights that come to mind:
My time is valuable. I wrote through a lot of life changes, and that affected my productivity, but time spent on writing is not wasted as long as I’m clear about what I’m spending it on. As much as possible I tried to negotiate terms so writing wouldn’t feel like a chore, and valuing my time was a good marker for it.
It’s okay to take breaks. Writing has always been easier for me when I write regularly, but I also learned to not be afraid of breaks. Sometimes writing after a break is better. Sometimes the break is necessary.
It’s okay to question the way things are in publishing, especially if it’s always somehow about lowering author expectations. How many blog entries on here have been about opening windows after doors closed? And seriously, how much fun would I have missed out on if I gave up after the first closed door? I know I can’t always demand ideal work situations, but I love encountering people who always offer what they feel is right, instead of what is common. “I know everyone else does just this, but we should be doing that and more.” These people exist! And sometimes being that for someone first brings it out in them.
Insist on rights reversion. Publishing will only care about a book for a certain period of time, but I’ve seen readers enjoy a ten-year-old book like it was a new release. There are new readers every year, every day even.
Growing and changing and going back to fix things is okay. For a time I was worried about my “brand” and things people associated with my books, like it was a thing that should be a rule that would never change. Still, I made the decision to experiment: I wrote “chick lit” then YA, then contemporary romance (US characters), heist romance, that political drama AU romance, then somewhat explicit contemporary romance with Filipino characters. Yes, all that has the effect of gaining and losing readers, but some did stick around for all the experiments, and eventually I did find the zone I want to stay in for a while. I also went back and changed things that bothered me now in some previously-published books, so I can continue to be proud of them, and that’s been a good decision. The book is what it is to people who loved it then; it can be something better to those readers and new ones. (And I own rights anyway.)
Recent lesson: It’s worth it to expand to other media. I made worlds and characters. They don’t need to be in one format only.
Thank you, readers/friends, for being wonderful to me throughout all of this. Okay, on to the next things!