I remember the day I learned that multiple publishers were vying for my novel. In between phone calls, I scrubbed toilets and washed floors. I was excited, obviously, but my house was dirty and my children needed me, and I was still too swept up in day to day living to think too much about what being published might mean.
Latayne, my very humble dream was to revolutionize Christian fiction. I haven't quite achieved my goal yet, so I'm rethinking my goals. Perhaps it is enough to write the very best story God has equipped me to write and leave the results to Him. Iím pretty excited about this new direction.
I enjoyed your story about the person who asked who helped you write your first book. It reminds me of a day I went shopping with my mom, a born publicist. Mom can turn any conversation to include that I happen to be a published author. The proprietor of the store, a man, raised his eyebrows and asked, is it a cookbook?
I thought I would be thinner - don't ask why, since the activities that make one an author pretty much define "sedentary occupation." I also thought getting published would make me more interesting, which is also odd since the activities that make one an author ... well, you know.
I did hope that I could tell people I was a writer without risking that skeptical smirk these ladies have already mentioned.
But I still rarely tell people I'm a writer, because while they seldom smirk, they tend instead to lavish attention on distinguished author me. No one is more surprised than I am to learn that I don't much like lavish attention.
When I sold To Dance In The Desert, I returned home to a big party and a banner over the porch that read, "Author Author." I thought I'd leave that banner up forever, till the first beautiful summer morning when I took my laptop to the porch to work on my edits while the sprinklers ran. I looked up from my work to see cars slowing so the drivers could glance first at the banner and then at me and my laptop, like I was some sort of carnival display. The bits of tape that held the banner are still there.
There is one thing I hoped for that did pan out:
I hoped my books would mean to someone somewhere what certain favorite books have meant to me. I hoped that readers would write to tell me that their sight was clearer, their souls more open, the darkness lifted just a little. It pleases me immensely that I've heard such things from my readers, some of whom are reading this post today.
The future I envisioned after selling my first book involved submitting my two-week notice at work and staying home every day to write. I knew it wouldn't happen overnight, but I hoped it would be a reality. So far, it hasn't.
Also, I never realized how humbling book signings could be. Sometimes they were so rewarding, and it was always wonderful to meet readers, but there were other times that involved sitting at a table for hours with people walking past avoiding eye contact. Awkward, to say the least, but not out of the ordinary for an author just starting out. There was much more involved than simply showing up. A successful book signing involved having a build-in audience, which isn't always possible.