Being Good at What You Do
Now that I'm embarking on my writing career full time rather than part time, I stopped to consider some advice that I'd given out recently. Sometimes I'm pretty darn smart, doncha know? Someone asked me, "Do you think I can do this job?" and my response was, "If you believe you can, so will everybody else." It's the truth. Some folks might say that equates to fake it until you make it, which might be partially true, but in the end, you need to have the chops. And you need to KNOW you have the chops.
It's about time I applied that to my writing job. One of the hardest things we do as authors is promote ourselves. I mean, how arrogant are you when you tell someone you wrote a really good book? But wait a minute. I was expected to tell people what a great manager I was at the day job as part of my annual evaluation, so how is this different? And yet we second guess ourselves all the time. I know I can do this job!
One of my friends recently handed a book in to her editor and she's in the throes of writers' angst. What if her editor tells her it's awful? This is an author who has dozens of books to her credit, who has sold thousands of books. She is established. She has arrived. Maybe she's not a NYT Best Seller, but she writes really good books, and yet that writer's angst kicks in every time. Why? Because everyone's a critic (I'm NOT advocating withholding reviews with this remark!). With the hundreds of reviews we get on our books, which one is the one that sticks in our head? "That one review" where the reviewer criticized something that isn't even in the book! That one comment that says "eh, it wasn't for me." Those are the ones we take to heart. But you know what? My books aren't for everyone. That doesn't mean they aren't "really good books."
At a luncheon recently, I spoke to someone I don't see often who said she was excited for my next book. "Oh? You've read my books?" I ask. (see, I'm supposed to be telling people what a kickass author I am in the first place, not waiting for them to bring it up.) She tells me she got the first one as a gift from her book club, and she was hooked. Brilliant marketer that I am, what do I respond with? "Did you like them?" Well heck. If she didn't, she wouldn't have bought more, would she? (Thank you, Samantha! I'm really excited you like my books!) But this is something I need to do better.
With my attention now focused squarely on the writing, it's time I get out there and tell people I know what I'm doing without blushing and ducking and "aw shucks-ing." I'm good at my job. I've had lots of excellent reviews. I've done well in contests. With more time and attention to get in front of more people, I can show the rest of the world that I'm good at this job!
Wouldn't you know it? As I was writing this post, I received notification that THE TWINS (Epitaph 2) was Awarded Finalist in the Romance: General category of the 2019 American Fiction Awards! I must be doing something right!
If romantic suspense, or romance in general or ghosts aren't your thing, my next venture takes a step outside those boxes into what I consider women's fiction (or some might see as new adult) - its an inspirational novel that I'm pretty darn proud of (but I have to finish it!). A couple of my favorite romance authors have stepped out into women's fiction with varying degrees of success. One author has excelled at it, the other is still writing her trademark romance into her WF novels. Let's call it what it is ladies, and stick with what you do best. Part of me wonders if people will say the same of me (stick with what you do best), but this is a labor of love. Can't wait for you to read it and tell me what you think! Is it really good? Yes! Is it what you want from me? Well, that remains to be seen, and if it doesn't resonate with my audience, I can still be an excellent writer and go back to what my readers want from me. I have plenty of stories waiting to be written, in whichever genre people want to see from me. I hope you'll let me know which of my books you like best!