In celebration of the ten-year anniversary of www.cynthialeitichsmith.com, I asked some first-time authors the following question:
As a debut author, what are the most important lessons you’ve learned about your craft, the writing life, and/or publishing, and why?
Here’s the latest reply, this one from author Jody Feldman:
When the movie, “Field of Dreams,” came out in 1989 (coincidentally, the year I started writing The Gollywhopper Games (Greenwillow, 2008)), you couldn’t get very far in any given week without hearing the refrain, “If you build it, they will come.”
Nineteen years later, When The Gollywhopper Games was released, those words wouldn’t leave my mind. I built it. Will anyone come? Anyone besides my family and friends and writing communities? Why would anyone notice a new author’s new book?
Somehow, the efforts of my publisher, the Class of 2k8 and my own attempts of promotion–plus major portions of luck and serendipity–have graced me with my share of strangers coming to my characters and my story. I built it. Readers have come.
Yet, I find it disturbing that other authors, new and experienced, who have done just as much or even more than I have to get their books noticed haven’t met with the same results. And I’m talking about some brilliant books here.
If you build it, will they come? Hard to say. I’ve learned the business part of this industry is a giant question mark. No matter how hard we promote or how fervently we beg our Amazon rankings to climb, there’s so much we can’t control in publishing.
The only thing we can control is how much we work on character, plot, setting, dialogue, and theme to make the next book even better. And we can hope that if we continue to build ourselves as authors, our readers, most often, will come.
Read a Cynsations interview with Jody.