“Ability is of little account without opportunity.”
- Lucille Ball
I have a dear friend who has of late repeatedly bemoaned the fact there is no one in the market willing to purchase her latest novel. She is a fabulous writer, clear, concise and emotive in her writing. She is able to engage a reader’s interest and maintain it over the course of a full length novel. Her problem? She writes westerns.
If you’re sitting there scratching your head thinking, “what’s the problem?”, well. . . I’m with you.
I’ve been writing for more years than I care to recount and sadly, I have yet to make my first big sale. Do I think I lack talent? Certainly not. There are many writers who have more talent, but there are those who have been blessed with less. I don’t believe you live or die by any one thing in publishing. It’s about a lot of things and usually, none of those things are personal. And sometimes, it is simply your turn to succeed. Or maybe it’s not.
If you have enough talent to win, let’s say the prestigious Golden Heart, alleged to be the Cadillac of Romance Writers of Americas writing contests, then it would seem to me, you have enough talent to switch genres.
I’ll be the first to admit we all have a genre that speaks a special language when it whispers sweet nothings in our ears and begs us to tell the story, just this one. I’ve done that, caved in to the unpopular story of my heart in the belief that someday, the genre will be back in favor and the story will sell.
But do I limit myself by sticking to a genre with a low sell through potential where a first sale would be difficult if not impossible? No, I do not.
I’m a firm believer in following some basic rules.
1. Write every day, and you will hone your craft.
2. Learn the craft, and pay attention to the rules. You have to know them before you can break them.
3. Most important, if you want to be successful, don’t give up.
That bears repeating, Don’t give up.
There are many NYT best-selling authors who can regale you with stories of changed pseudonyms, agents and publishers. The reason they’re around to tell those stories is simple. They did not give up. I don’t believe they “chased trends”; the behavior is foolish and tiring. But they did pursue opportunities, working hard to achieve the success they wanted. They waited and watched for opportunities to promote themselves and their work and so they were successful.
If all you have is ability, you will not shine above your peers, or rise to the top of your profession. Ability is good, but the person who goes the distance and makes a name for themselves, with enduring perseverance is the writer who pursues every opportunity even if it isn’t their exact dream.
During this Holiday season, while you have dreams of sugarplums in your head, try my friend Anna’s Oreo Truffles and Have a Merry Christmas!
One package of Oreo cookies, crushed.
8 oz. cream cheese, softened and mixed with the crushed cookies.
Bakers semi-sweet chocolate melted.
Dip the balls in the melted chocolate until covered. Allow to set and serve.