“Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.”
- Albert Einstein
I’ve been thinking about what will happen at some point when I “make it” as a writer. Making it means different things to different writers.
Is it when you have an agent?
Is it when agents fight over you?
Is it when you get a publishing contract?
Is it when publishers fight over you?
Is it when you get a big advance?
Is it when your book hits the stores?
Is it when you sell 100 copies?
Is it when you make back your advance?
Is it when you’re on the New York Times bestseller list?
Is it when you sell a 2nd book? 3rd? 5th? 10th? 100th?
When these things start happening (and I have to think when and not if), I wonder how I’ll feel. How I’ll react. We can never plan our reactions in advance.
I recall when I anticipated having my son. I pictured him with brown hair and eyes, just like my husband and me. I’d look into those brown eyes and cry.
Here’s what happened:
He came out after 20 hours of labor with 3 hours of pushing. His eyes and hair weren’t brown. And I didn’t shed a tear. Instead I felt relieved. (Can you blame me?)
I don’t know how or when it will happen or exactly what will happen. But I do know that I will be one of the most grateful writers out there when it does.
And this is what I, future published author, VOW:
- I will NOT post about my book every five seconds. (Except for the week or two before the book release.)
- I will NOT have a Twitter account… still.
- I will NOT take it personally if you don’t want to be a part of my book tour.
- I will NOT comment on bad reviews I receive, even though I will probably cry in the privacy of my own home.
- I will not brag about any success because I’ll be too busy pinching myself and waiting for something to go wrong. (Irish people – even half ones - know not to get too big for their britches.)
- I will still comment on blogs, especially to the bloggers who comment on mine. (Though maybe less often.)
- I will still follow people who follow me on Blogger and Facebook.
- I will respond to all e-mails. (Though if you ask me to read your work, I may not have time for that).
- I will remind you that I was where you are and I kept at it. So you can too.
- I will give back in small ways and BIG WAYS.
There’s nothing more warming than seeing authors and agents give away critiques for free just because or to view auctions to raise $ for victims of disasters. We have the power to help. The more power I have, the more I want to help others.
I’ve been blogging long enough to see some authors change when they get agents or become published. I’ve seen others endearingly stay the same. I’m sure it’s not easy. There are deadlines, school visits, filled inboxes, and who knows what else. And often the $ hasn’t exactly poured in so you’re still juggling these responsibilities with a job and/or a family.
Here’s more proof that becoming published isn’t the end all-be all. Read this great article by Therese Walsh at Writer's Unboxed.
Writers, what’s your definition of “making it”?
How do you think you’ll handle it when you get there?