Sunday, March 11, 2007

Winning and The Winner

Today is the day Faye Hughes and I give away our gift certificate for the winning commenter for our humor blog entries in the month of February. And it has me thinking about winning and feeling like a winner, about what it takes to keep going before you arrive.

Yesterday, I found out that Sharie Kohler, who writes as Sophie Jordon for Avon, made the USA Today List with her second book. I know she’s feeling like a winner. Congrats, Sharie! The funny thing was that Sharie talked about how, of all the things that helped her arrive on the list, she felt she actually had control of only one thing. And it’s true, things happen in this business that we have no control over – print runs, book placements, where our books are sold.

Yet, as I heard her news and saw her excitement, I knew that of the few things Sharie did have control of, she did them to the best of her ability. She wrote the best book she could. She promoted herself in the best way possible. She did this even when she faced some of the not-so-great sides of the business like deadlines and worries over another project. She remained positive and never stopped following her dream. She deserves to be a winner. And what a win.

Not all of our successes can be this big. But if we allow ourselves, we can celebrate all our wins–no matter how small. The completion of a chapter or a first paragraph, writing “the end” to a book, finaling in a contest, having your editor say something positive about your work.

My big win happened in November when I heard from Kim Lionetti that Dorchester was offering me a three-book contract and practically in the same day, Triskelion made an offer for a different book. Just like making the USA Today list, some of the things that landed me those contracts were out of my control. But the things I did have control of, writing one book after another in spite of the rejections, continuing to enter contests, and proceeding to learn and improve my craft, Those things, I did do. I did the best I could, and I think I was able to keep doing them because I learned to celebrate all the small wins along the way.

So today, my question to you is ...what can you do to the best of your ability to help your career? What small wins are happening along your path that help you keep going?

And now for the winner of our posting contest? The lucky winner is


Congrats, Terri! Look for the link to the gift certificate from Barnes and Noble in your mailbox!



Teri Thackston said...

Thanks to Faye and Christie. What a great surprise!

JoAnn Ross said...

Okay, everyone's heard this so many times I'm sure people are starting to tune out and snore right about now, but the best thing I've done to help my career over the past 25 years is to try to write the best book I can at any given point in time.

Because everything else -- promo, contests, presenting conference workshops, bloggings, booksignings -- doesn't mean a thing if publishers don't want to 1) buy the books, and 2) better yet, spend their money to promote them, and if, in the end, readers don't want to buy them.

Which, actually, makes this business much more simple than it often seems: write a good book and the readers will come. Hopefully. *g*

After that, it's all a crap shoot. lol

Oh, just remembered. . . one important thing I've kept in mind which has helped a lot, is that this wacky writing business is a marathon, not a sprint.

Terry Z McDermid said...

JoAnn, I don't mind hearing that over and over. Reminds and reinforces what I believe. It's so easy to get caught up in all the promotion aspects and really, what I can do for my career is write and enjoy the writing. That's why I started writing anything. I may not have many awards or even a lot of books out but. . . I am published in several areas and that's what I wanted when I started all those years ago.

Just putting something in the mail to a publisher, finishing a story or proposal, those are the wins that keep me going each day.