The Author's Life
By Amanda Albright Still
Recently, I got a snub from an author who isn't particularly famous, but certainly better known than I am. I determined that when I am well known, I will also be known for being nice. Heck, one of the nicest mystery writers I've ever met is one of the most successful, Carolyn Hart. I probably would never have been published if she hadn't pushed me to go talk to an editor at a conference. I told her about my novel and she said, "That sounds thrilling. Go over there and talk to that editor." I shook my head. I just didn't have the nerve. She insisted and I wasn't going to let an icon down, so I spoke with the editor and then kept speaking to editors until my first novel, SHADOW OF TWILIGHT got published.
Anyhoodle, I asked an author who writes in my genre to give me a blurb. She not only declined to give a blurb, but to even read ECHOES OF THE STORM or BRIDES OF THE STORM to see if they are blurb-worthy. She declined with a flimsy and rude lie.
The snub left me feeling discouraged, but discouragement is just part of being a writer. I went on. I sent my book out for more reviews, to some of the leaders in the industry. I also gave books away to storm-ravaged regions of the country and to prize winners.
I got a call from a woman who said she liked my book and would love to have me come over to her house. She said her name, which I thought was Kathryn Clark, which didn't ring any bells. She probably had won my book in a contest. I called her back because I figure, I'm determined to be nice when I'm a famous author, so I have to be nice on the way up as well. If she wanted me to come by, fine. I'll call her and see if she's a nice lady or nut job. Either way, I have a fan.
Well, I called and found I'd gotten the name wrong. It was "Kathryn Falk" who is the publisher of Romantic Times, RT-Book Review, one of the biggest names out there in book land. She wanted me to visit her at her ranch. She also has a villa in Italy and a chalet in Austria, but the Texas ranch was the closest.
I don't know if her magazine will review my book. I'd love if they did, but just meeting her and hearing her stories about E.L. James, Truman Capote, and Barbara Cartland was wonderful. Having someone like that say my book was good just made me feel great. She also gave me advice on the business of books that I couldn't have gotten anywhere else.
Somehow, knowing that there are people at the top this nice made me feel great about being a writer. Yes, we'll face snubs--I think some folks who've been through the rejection writers face have a need to lash out--but there are plenty of great people around.
Amanda Albright Still is the author of the Galveston Hurricane Mystery Series, ECHOES OF THE STORM and BRIDES OF THE STORM, which take place just after the Great Storm of 1900.