Thursday, 31 March 2011

A Writer's Joy

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the unease of being a writer. About now knowing whether the current book is doing well enough or the next book will be good enough to be published. It’s all true, and I’m sure every author goes through it.


There’s another side to the coin.

Ann Weisgarber, a fellow Macmillan author, got me thinking about this when she pointed out, calmly and concisely, that I have a book on the shelves, an additional German deal, a growing collection of rave reviews, and I’m with an excellent publisher.

That’s all it took. That brief external viewpoint was what I needed to give me a good kick up the pants and to let me know just how damned fortunate I am.

I’m an author. An honest-to-goodness official author. It’s something I’ve wanted for years, and I should celebrate it much more than I do. I’m usually very reticent about blowing my own trumpet, but perhaps it’s time I got over that and started playing it loud enough to bring down the walls of Jericho.

It’s a huge achievement. Others recognize that even when I don’t. I tell them I’ve got a PhD and they’re mildly interested. I tell them I have a novel published, and that’s it – that’s the new topic of the conversation for the day. They are thrilled for me, and excited that they personally know an author.

A few days ago my youngest daughter took a copy of Pariah into her school, on the request of her teacher. It’s certainly not suitable reading material for her age group, so I wondered what was going on. When she came home, she told me it was so the teacher could hold it up in front of the class and talk about it as an example of achievement. It brought tears to my eyes.

And then there’s this story concerning a YouGov poll about the occupations that people would most like to have. What do you think came top? Sports personality, perhaps? Jet pilot? Astronaut? No, none of the above, glamorous though they might seem.

An author. That’s what topped the list. That’s what people dream of becoming.

I have fulfilled that dream. If I another have success with another book, I am and always will be a published author.

And I’m enormously grateful for that.


  1. As one who is striving to get where you are, I tend to dwell on the knock backs I've had over the years. So WHEN I get a book deal, I'll try and remember this post. I'm sure I won't believe my 'luck' either, Dave ;)

  2. Hi, Mel. Thanks for posting. It's great that you have such a positive attitude, and I'm sure that your 'WHEN' will arrive soon. There is an element of luck involved, but I think we also make our own luck to an extent, and we do that through sheer persistence and determination and improvement over time. It's about getting our work in front of the right person at the right time, and that's only going to happen if we keep at it.