Sunday, May 21, 2006

How is Writing Romance like American Idol?

I was not originally a fan of AI, but those Alabama boys have been doing well. AI 4 and 5 are the only ones I've watched every show. This season every Wednesday and Thursday morning my Aunt Addie and I discuss the show in great detail because we love Taylor Hicks while my Aunt Deanie is embarrassed by his antics. (Go, Taylor!!) To each her own! That applies to writing as well. Some will love your book while others think its distasteful, boring, silly, insert your own adjectives. What is a great book for some to others is a wallbanger. It's all in individual perception.

Everyone is a critic. At some point, some person will comment on your writing in a very blunt, no-nonsense terms. Others will only offer cheery comments with no real meat. Some will like your voice, others will not.

Everyone has an opinion and some aren't shy about sharing. And with the internet, they can do it behind anonymity. I'm sure it's disheartening for authors when they discover someone they thought a friend or professional associate is the one dissing them and/or their book. And that does happen.

Some authors win the big prize, others won't--NY Time & USA Today bestseller lists, contracts that keep on coming their way. Sometimes luck plays a bigger role than talent. That doesn't mean you're not talented. People just didn't "vote" for you by buying your book. I'm not suggesting that poor books make the lists. It might once, but for continued success, an author has to write a compelling book every time.

Or maybe your book just came out at a bad time. There are other things people are spending their money on like Christmas presents.

When it comes down to it, most things are out of an author's control. God bless you if you're a control freak. Publishing is NOT the business for you.

All we can control is our process and how we tell the story. No book will get written if you don't insert butt into the chair. No book will get published if you don't send it out into the world and face rejection.

So if someone makes a Simon comment just smile and thank them for reading your book. Now, that may really drive them batty.

And, hey, if a 27-year-old, gray-haired man can be America's Idol, maybe there's hope for me to sell once again.


Carla Swafford said...

One of the comments I hear often enough to have a comeback for is, "You read those dirty books?" and always said with a leer. Now you first need to understand, if someone calls them dirty, in my mind, they deserve to be told, "You believe the beautiful act of making love is dirty? I feel so sorry for your spouse. She's/he's missing out on so much." I smile the entire time I'm saying it. It's funny how they start backtracking. No one in this age of enlightenment wants to be thought of as a prude and us Americans can be some of the worse.

Karen Beeching said...

Some years ago, a man I was dating finally got around to asking me what kind of fiction I write. I told him romance. His immediate response? "Why don't you write about something important?"

This is not a great comment to make ... well, ON A DATE!

Needless to say, it didn't work out.