I received a very distressing e-mail from one of my writer friends and a member of my critique group the other day. She has written a series of three books so far and is working on the fourth, but she doesn’t seem to have much enthusiasm for it. My friend, Yvonne Anderson, is an excellent writer and she has helped me a lot in my development as a writer, so when I read that message, I felt an ache inside. For her, for myself and for all the authors having to deal with rejections and little or no advance.
Yvonne published the first two of her Gateway to Gannah series with a traditional publisher, who doesn’t pay any advance and does not assist with publicity. Therefore, she is left to handle all the marketing herself and as a relatively new author, book sales are slow. Not an encouraging picture, is it? In today’s publishing world where closures and mergers are the order of the day, and agents only seem to accept queries by referral only, new authors are having a hard time cracking the proverbial glass ceiling.
However, every now and again I come across a blog post that gives me a bit of hope. Julie Isaac, author and book coach, whom I follow on Twitter, wrote about Dr. Richard Carlson, now famous author of Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff. One evening, Dr. Carlson was discussing with his wife that he was thinking of quitting writing because he had received such a small advance on his book, You Can Be Happy, No Matter What, when the phone rang. It was Oprah’s producer calling to say that she was just in their library looking for a book on stress management when the book fell off the shelf and hit her in the head. (If I wrote that in one of my novels you would say it was contrived, wouldn’t you?)
But anyway, the lady wanted to know if Dr. Carlson could fly out the next day to be on the Oprah show. And the rest, as they say, is history. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff has sold over 25 million copies. What are the chances of your book falling off a shelf and hitting Oprah’s producer in the head? The same as lightning striking on a clear, sunny day. But if you don’t give into discouragement, doubt and fear and keep on writing, you can eventually succeed in the writing business. Don’t give up!
You can view Yvonne’s blog (and buy one of her books!) here: http://yswords.com.