Why Do You Continue Writing even if you aren’t on the NY Times Bestseller List? Andrea Stein author of Rough Harbor
How nice it would be to go to the Thanksgiving Family dinner and when Aunt Sue asks “So how are you doing, dear?” and you get to smugly tell her, “Just fine, since I made the NY Times Best Seller List…”
But to your dismay, Aunt Sue calmly keeps eating turkey, unimpressed. Why? Probably because Aunt Sue has never actually read the NY Times and couldn’t care less about it. All Aunt Sue wants is to read a book she likes.
Writing shouldn’t be about winning awards or making some list. It should be about writing something you love – and because you couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Because you would do it if no one paid you a penny. However, most writers harbor slightly different ambitions. Fame and fortune. Or perhaps recognition and enough money so we don’t have to get real jobs.
As a writer, I certainly write to please myself – but I also write to please the readers in my genre – who will hopefully become “my readers”. Approval – in the form of reviews, comments, word of mouth and yes sales, all mean that my writing is doing what I intend to do – moving people in some way. If you’re writing is good, then it will move enough people, and while you or I may never make a best seller list, that’s not what important.
The recognition and the happiness you can bring to someone with a book is profound. I remember being on bed rest during one of my pregnancies, worried sick about the health of my baby and looking to the books I read during that time to provide an escape, a sense of comfort and happiness. I can still recall my reading list for that time today. Everything turned out fine, but my use of books is common. As readers we use books to transport ourselves. And a good book does just that. A good book doesn’t have to be great literature or win any prizes. A good book makes an impression on the reader, even if it’s just a few hours of entertainment on a cold winter night.
And that being said, with the rise of ebooks, you can still be pretty successful as an author without making it onto a best seller list. All you need is to write books that hit the spot for just enough readers to become fans. Even a relative small fan base, one that Stephen King would sniff out, can be just what another author needs to be able to do nothing but write. You may not get to ride around in fancy limousines or vacation in Paris, but heck – it sure beats working.
Writing is one of the best jobs you can have – but maybe that’s because I have always lived in my imagination a lot. I would read a book as a kid, like Treasure Island, and be able to play out in my head a whole new adventure from that – now they call it fan fiction, but back then I was just the geeky girl who loved to read. So for me, writing has nothing to do with being on a list. It has everything to do with creating an environment that’s rich enough people believe it’s a reality – even if only for the length of time they spend in the book.
Sure – would I love to be on the New York Times bestseller list? Will I be – I don’t know. I can’t control that – all I can control is working on my writing and creating books that people want to read…the other stuff will come if you do that.
Thanks so much for the opportunity to stop by,
You are so welcome. I'm glad to have you. I loved your post too. And now, here's a blurb and excerpt from Rough Harbor.
After a bitter break up and professional set back in London, twenty seven year old Caitlyn has returned to Queensbay to work for Maxwell Randall, an old family friend, at his financial management firm. So far, bit by bit, Caitlyn’s been rebuilding all she lost after Michael St. John broke her heart …and tried to ruin her professional reputation.
But her past comes back to haunt her when Maxwell unexpectedly turns up dead. Not only does Caitlyn find her career in jeopardy but her heart is too, when Noah Randall, Maxwell’s son, and her first love, returns to Queensbay. Once, ten years ago, Caitlyn was sure Noah was the one for her…but the tragedy of her grandfather’s suicide and Noah’s decision to leave town left her bereft…and determined never to trust him again.
Over the past decade, she’s managed to do her best to forget about Noah Randall and the lingering questions surrounding her grandfather’s suicide. But now that’s he back in town – rich and more handsome than ever, and she can’t help wondering what if? What if Noah really was the one?
Noah Randall left home ten years ago to seek his fortune – vowing never to return until he’d made a success of himself – and show Caitlyn Montgomery just what she’d given up. He returns to find that Caitlyn Montgomery has only grown more alluring with time. Noah’s always wanted he couldn’t have…and now he wants Caitlyn again. But she’s determined not to make the same mistake twice.
While Noah and Caitlyn are revisiting old ground – and forging a new relationship, there’s trouble brewing in Queensbay. Old secrets and new lead Caitlyn to believe that perhaps her grandfather didn’t kill himself – and that Maxwell’s death was no accident. But just how far will someone go to keep her – and Noah – from finding out the truth…and will Queesbay prove to have troubled waters after all?
Caitlyn Montgomery carefully let herself in the side door with the key hidden under the flowerpot. Police tape fluttered along the back of the house, the side that faced the water, but here, under the small overhang, there was nothing, only a chilly October breeze and the more distant sound of the water lapping at the rocky shore.
The house was quiet, the silence of sadness. Her footsteps echoed across the polished wood flooring of the hallway as she crossed onto the marble tiles of the foyer. She knew it well, had almost grown up here, and had spent many nights here in the recent months, playing chess and sipping whisky with an old man.
The door to Maxwell Randall’s study swung silently open. Caitlyn crossed the floor quickly, her sneakered feet sinking into the plush carpet. She came around to Maxwell’s desk, an ornate, obnoxious thing meant to look like something a Gilded Age Robber Baron would have owned.
It was just as he’d left it. Empty. Maxwell hadn’t been one for bringing work home, she discovered. His desk was clear, a simple blotter aligned in the middle. A phone off to the right, a brass lamp off to the left. A pad of paper and a can of pens and pencils sat within reach. There was no computer, no planner or desk diary. She supposed if there had been one, the police would have taken it.
Slowly, methodically, she leaned over and began to open the desk drawers. Nothing in the two large ones flanking the right, nor the left. She turned her attention to the middle drawer, the thin one. It stuck a bit, and she felt her heart flutter in anticipation. She knelt down, to get a better view. Caitlyn pushed a strand of her brown-black hair behind her ear and squinted in concentration as she carefully slid her hands toward the back of the narrow drawer.
“What are you doing?”
Her head jerked up, hitting the side of the drawer as she rose to her feet.
“You?” Caitlyn said, surprise radiating through her.
There was a pause. Caitlyn drew herself up to her full height and looked at Noah Randall, all six-feet-one of him, standing in the doorway.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Hi, I’, Andrea Stein an author, mother, wife and blogger and a certified mom-chauffeur. I have been scribbling stories for as long as I can remember, including my first adventure story, inspired by an obsession with Out of Africa (book, movie and biography) about a young girl stranded in Kenya. It was serial fiction handwritten, given to my sister, who couldn’t read my handwriting. That story dies after one installment, but the next year I got a word processor (not a computer, but an ACTUAL WORD PROCESSOR) that showed about twenty lines of text at a time. This was before laptops were widely available and this allowed me to be able to type to my heart’s content in the privacy of my own room. Which I did. I think I spent the time writing stories about my “frenemies” to amuse myself. I also listened to a lot of the Cure and New Wave music. I have since moved on to a happier place.
Even though I read lots of different types of books, I write romance novels with a twist. More like contemporary romance than romantic suspense (I don’t write about serial killers or FBI agents) but I usually like to include a puzzle or mystery for my hero and heroine to solve.
Rough Harbor is my second novel, set in a small New England town. Coming soon is Ivy Cottage, also set in a small New England town on a river.
Other than writing I spend most of my time reading, watching TV, cooking, cleaning, taking care of kids, trying to keep the house clean and folding laundry. I love Twizzlers, chocolate and shows on the WB. For me, reading has always been an escape, a way to escape the ordinary and dive into a world that feels real – but with all of the ‘boring’ parts edited out.
As for the rest of my life, I grew up on Long Island, spent a lot of vacations in small New England towns, went to college in New York City, married by high school sweetheart, worked, had kids, stopped working, and kept on writing. Now I live in rural New Jersey (yes, there is such a thing), and though I don’t own any horses, I do have a barn, which I share with squirrels.
There’s something successful writers always tell new writers about their secret to success. Just do it…Bum Glue…write 1ooo words a day…write for two hours a day….Keep writing. And they’re right. I got more successful with my writing when I started to do it consistently. I don’t write every day, but I shoot for five days a week. This means that the words and pages pile up — and I have stories to shape, make and mold…and share.
I hope you enjoy my books, currently available at www.amazon.com
Links – Website: