Or, Why I Haven’t Spent the Past Year Swanning
Around as a “Famous Author”
First of all, stop laughing. I know I’m not famous. Second, before my editors and publicists have heart attacks, don’t panic, I still aim for fame. (And my friends would probably say I do plenty of swanning.)
This post is about something different.
It’s about reality. Sorry.
I know, I know, I’m supposed to be all dewy-eyed about being a published author. The joy of seeing my name on a cover, having readers tell me they love my book, and of course, the delight that comes with each sweet word that drops onto the page, expressing exactly what blossomed in my soul. Yeah, yeah, I feel all that.
But that stuff is a bit like the thrill of riding a roller coaster. Or that heady I-can-do-anything sensation of falling in love. Or the terror-slash-joy of meeting your baby for the first time.
You need to feel all that stuff, with every cell of your being.
Then you need to stop feeling it, and tuck the memories into a fire-safe box, deep inside your heart, where you can pull it out when reality kicks in.
Because it will.
The fair leaves town. The baby becomes a puke-factory. The honeymoon ends.
For writers, reality comes in bad reviews. Or no reviews. Or a book that disappears into that vast wasteland of the forgettable. Bad numbers. A dropped series. Oh, reality can bite hard for writers.
I’ve been writing for a long time. I know. That stuff hurts. (Not baby puke, that’s painless. And it washes out. Also, 25 years with the same guy, folks. Twen-tee-five.)
Sometimes reality can make you want to curl up in a ball and just… stop… trying.
But writers are made of different stuff. We have to hang in there, despite the hard knocks, because it’s all part of the job. Our job.
So, way back, when my books weren’t selling and the kids were all in “a stage” and I couldn’t remember why I got married in the first place, I opened up that fire-safe box and reminded myself that it’s all part of the deal.
Then I put my head down, donned my big-girl panties and did the work. Mopped the tears, educated the man, paid the bills – and the rough times passed.
And as I kept writing, pages accumulated. Manuscripts got finished. I studied my craft, learned about the industry, followed market changes. And every now and then I’d write something that expressed so perfectly what blossomed in my soul, that I’d be overcome with gratitude. Even dewy-eyed.
Maybe I’d never have a huge audience, but I was doing what I was meant to do.
And then, last year, I got a call from my agent. Entangled Publishing wanted my book.
First I didn’t believe it.
Then I questioned the mental integrity of the editor. I mean, really. She wants me?
Fortunately the wisdom surrounding me prevailed. We signed the contract and I went to work. Revisions. Promo. Drafting the next book. More revisions. More promo. Still more promo.
And gradually, I realized that I’d entered a whole new world, where editors actually edit, where, in fact, a team of editors, copyeditors, proofreaders, publicists and artists are all dedicated to polishing your book and getting it out to the widest audience. And most amazing of all, a world where writers get paid. (Fame and fortune. Did I mention I want both?)
I felt like I was living in a dream. When would I wake up?
I submitted another proposal. They accepted it and right now, I’m celebrating my third release with Entangled Publishing. Fake Fiance, Real Revenge comes exactly one year after that momentous first book, Three River Ranch, was released under the Bliss imprint and there’s two more coming in the next six months.
The fire-safe box in my heart is full to bursting. After all those years of hacking away in silence and solitude, I’ve got people who believe in me. And readers who want my stories. Dewy-eyed? As I write this, tears are pouring down my cheeks.
But enough of that. There’s no time for swanning around. I’ve got a deadline to meet.
I’ve got the Best Job Ever. And it’s time to work.
Fake Fiance, Real Revenge is now on sale!