Sunday, February 4, 2018

My Best Seller Badge

I am so proud to have been awarded a Books We Love Best Seller Badge! This is the culmination of a lot of hard work - not just by me as the author but also by my publisher, Jude Pittman. Jude's dedication to Books We Love is beyond anything I ever expected when I signed with the company.

Yes, I'd gone the find an editor/agent, traditional publisher route and never quite hit the right moment. As a senior, and two-times breast cancer survivor, I was also very much aware of what I wanted to achieve in what time I still have. Take note, not what my lifetime expectancy may be, but what I have now.

Getting published was my dream. Holding a book with my name on the cover was what it was all about for me. The fact that I might earn an income from it was a secondary consideration at that time. With each book I have written I have tried to make it better, which brings me to a comment I frequently hear when I talk to people about writing - 'Oh, I could write a book.'

Yes, you could. Anybody can but - and there is a but - are you prepared for the long haul? Big name authors, like big name actors, tend to not happen overnight. Some are truly gifted writers but they still have to put in the work of getting the story out of their heads and onto paper. Even though all writers have a different process, writing is a lonely occupation. I have only ever once met one author who could talk and write at the same time - during a very lively conversation around a table with several people involved she produced about 3000 words worth of work. I have no idea how much it needed to be edited, but the point here is that she got that many words out of her head and onto the page.

And there's another point - your work always needs to be edited and preferably not by you. Spell and grammar check are good but not perfect tools. The more you have learned your craft by reading, attending workshops and conferences, or being part of a writing group, the better your writing will be. You can learn to edit your work, especially to get rid of things like passive voice and filtering, the overuse of 'was', 'had', but those other eyes will spot things that you can and will miss. Cognitive science explains that a neural pathway is created when we do something right. Too bad that also happens when we do something wrong.  This builds both good and bad habits so it's easy for our minds to slip by default into existing neural pathways.

For me, writing is exciting. I'm not a fast writer by any means, but when the work is done, the cover revealed (thanks to Michelle Lee, Books We Love's artistic director) I know I've done the best I can. I may never be a New York Times best selling author, but my Books We Love best selling author badge means everything to me.

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