owl in winter

owl in winter

Friday, February 8, 2013

After a Dry Spell Comes the Rain

The most interesting things happen sometimes when you're not even looking, when you least expect it, and isn't that what makes life interesting? Sometimes it seems that we endure spells as dry as the Sahara and then, out of nowhere, it starts raining. Not just raining but torrents of water pouring down.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit in on a presentation by the original editor of the first volume of "Fifty Shades of Grey," and in listening to her speak, I realized, marketing your brand is the most important thing, I think, maybe even more important than having a quality product. I mean, everybody knows "Fifty Shades" is a trainwreck but one thing E.L. James understood was the market. She understood she had to get to the market and corner a huge chunk of it to get her brand to sell, to keep her in the driver's seat, and make her a, well, a millionaire. That was what she wanted. And yes, that does sound crass but I believe that E.L. James, like many of us fledging authors, was looking at the grand prize and not so much the product. She couldn't have been looking at the product.

Sadly, that is a trap that too many writers fall into these days and since it is so easy to upload to Amazon and Kindle, polish and professionalism have suffered. Is that a stamp on writing in general? No, I don't think so. I believe that earnest, hardworking, professional writers are still out there. Or at least, I am, and I know I'm not the only one.

Now, another interesting thing happened to me. As the president of the Springfield Writers' Guild, I rub elbows with a lot of writerly people in the community, and one of these people told me recently that she would send me an invitation to the Missouri Writers Hall of Fame banquet, to be held in March. I jumped up and down with glee but deep down inside I wondered, would she remember? With all of the other, more important people she deals with every day, would she remember little old me? Well, I was estatic when I spied that silver grey envelope in my mailbox addressed to me, and the invitation to RSVP. Inductee this year: Ridley Pearson. Oh boy, this means a new dress, a new hairdo, some perfume. It's gonna be a blast and I can't wait.

And then the last thing (so far). A publishing company in St. Louis randomly emailed me and wanted to advertise their services. Did this fall into my lap or what?

It's moments like these that reaffirm what we're meant to do, why we're here. If writing is your passion, it's going to find  you. You can't hide from it. It won't let you.

What are the odd and wonderful coincidences that have happened to you?