When I was making my bed yesterday, I kept hearing something like a branch hitting one of the windows–only there was no wind and no branch for that matter. Living in our house, stuff like that isn’t unusual, but since it was cleansed for good several months ago, my first thought was “They’re back.” So I ignored the noise and kept at it, but the noise kept at it too. I’d just finished arranging too many pillows on the bed when I gave up and looked at the window to see the culprit–an adult male blue bird.
My good friend and fellow author Anna Lee Huber and I commiserate sometimes about how crazy this whole debut author thing is. One minute you’re soaring and the next minute you’ve looked at last week’s sales on Amazon’s Author Central and you’re plummeting to the ground.Then you’ll get another good review or an email or Facebook post from a happy reader, schedule a couple of book club appearances, or look at those darned sales again when you swore you wouldn’t and WALLAH! They’re up again. It’s hard to stay on an even keel in real life as it is, but throw in the complications and joys that come from a foray into creating and selling imaginary worlds and it’s next to impossible.
I stood there watching this tenacious little fellow I was sure was trying to tell me something, and then it hit me. The metaphor isn’t about me. The poor bird had nearly wracked himself silly trying to make his point and it wasn’t about luck or happiness.The point is that he keeps trying.
This past weekend, I had the privilege of teaching some of the 500 hopeful attendees at the Dallas Fort Worth Writers’ Conference what I know about texture and writing for the women’s fiction market. Like most women’s fiction readers, I enjoy books in the genre for a lot of reasons, but for the most part, I read for a satisfying ending. Not necessarily a guaranteed happily ever after, but an ending that reminds me ultimately all is well with the world or everything will eventually be well.
I think that persistent little blue bird was meant to remind you and me that whether you’re selling books in the marketplace or trying to sell your first novel to a traditional publisher, the only way any of us will find a satisfying ending is to keep fluttering our wings and believe that one day the window will open.