I recently read an interview with author Nicole Baart on the Women’s Fiction Writers’ website (hosted by author Amy Sue Nathan). Nicole had some very good advice for debut authors. Some points particularly resonated with me, and I wanted to share them here.
Don’t be defined by sales (or lack thereof). Of course a NYT runaway bestseller would be about the greatest thing ever …. But whether the books sells 1,000 copies or 100,000, don’t lose sight of the fact that you wrote a book. You bled on that page (maybe even literally) and a part of your soul is forever captured in those words. That is a huge accomplishment! Be proud of what you’ve done! Don’t let anything diminish the significance and beauty of your work.
What awesome advice. As a writer who is trying to get published, and hopes to one day write full-time, it’s easy to lose sight of these the truth in Nicole’s words. Yes, it is a huge accomplishment to write a book. But what I struggle with is the question, “What good is it to have written a book if it doesn’t have an audience?” How can we, as authors, touch people if a book has very few readers? But the next paragraph in the interview reminded me about the art of writing and what it means.
Have fun! Embrace the experience. Throw yourself into it arms, and heart, wide open. There will be so many incredible moments, and if you’re too busy worrying about sales and reviews and whether or not you’ll get another contract, they will pass you by. Take pictures. Smile big. Drink wine with friends and throw yourself an epic launch party and sign your books with the flourish of someone who thinks every word you put on the page is brilliant (or, almost). Take selfies with your book baby. At some point, open up that big, beautiful book you wrote and curl up in a chair as if it (the book, not the chair) is someone else’s. Read it with fresh eyes and marvel at what you’ve done.
And that was my reminder that I love to write. I’ve always loved to write, since I was a little girl. Writing is how I express myself – happiness, sadness, anger – all of my emotions have been poured out into written words. Other than knowing I’ve tried my hardest to be a good parent and grandparent, the accomplishment of writing is what is most fulfilling to me. The act of writing itself gives me great joy. It’s my passion. I need to remember to smile big and be happy in the moment. And if along the way I get published, even better!
And maybe I’ll eventually even take a selfie with my 400 pages of manuscript. Why the hell not??!