My eight-year-old son’s youth baseball season concluded after they won three and lost nine. All of the teams make the playoffs and they got knocked out in the first round. So, actually, they are 3 and 10, and when you consider one win was due to a forfeit (the other team didn’t show up with enough players), we only won two out of 12 games. But the boys had fun and they learned about the game their fathers love best. Each player received a participation trophy.
The league gives every player a trophy so they feel like winners and feel accomplished. Interestingly, the kids know the difference. They know they didn’t win anything. They know, individually, if they are good or bad. They know how they stack up, as a team. But they still like having some hardware to represent their experience.
My son eagerly put the trophy next to the one he got last year and by the one he got for being in a soccer league when he was three. I recall he didn’t kick the ball at all that year. He just stood there, looking lost no matter how many times the five coaches showed him simple drills, like kicking the ball in between two cones. He never played the sport again.
It occurs to me that writers earn a trophy for their efforts when their book is finally published. The book stands as a testament to creativity, perseverance, and passion. Writers want the real prize – fame, money, critical praise, awards – but they want to get a trophy. The accomplishment of writing and publishing a book is itself a worthy experience.
There are many writers who give up. They start a book but can’t get out of the first chapter. They finish a draft but can’t execute their blueprint. They write a lot but can’t seem to tie it all together or edit it properly. Some manuscripts get completed but remain unread, unpublished.
They want to earn a trophy, but it eludes them.
So though my son may not have won anything just yet – nor have many writers – they all deserve a trophy for trying.
Interview With Author Sherri Kilpatrick
What type of books do you write? I write both children's books and novels for adults. Teenagers might be interested in my novels, but the themes are very mature. Of course, tell that to any teenager, and he/she will insist on reading it. My first novel is a romance. I never intended to write a romance, but this book demanded to be written. My book ideas have horror elements with psychological themes. I like to use creatures in my books, and this book is no exception.
What is your newest book about? My newest book is called Thor's Wife. It's a paranormal romance about Jennifer, a girl with really bad luck with boyfriends. She meets Thor, and he really isn't a good choice either, since he is an evil vampire. They do end up falling deeply in love, and Thor makes some major changes in his life. Here is the description from the back cover of the book: Jennifer has terrible scars, inside and out. She trusts very few people. Yet despite her better judgment, she makes a decision that will have lasting effects for the rest of her life. From that choice, she finds the one that will cherish her forever. Thor is not a man. He is a vampire that believes he has it made. He has servants at his beck and call, untold numbers of women, and superior strength. Yet when he meets Jennifer, his world is turned upside-down. Their love changes them for the better, however Jennifer is plunged into a world that is not as normal as she would like it to be. Danger lurks in odd places, mythic creatures abound, and the vampires of the world are not happy that Thor is dating a human.
What inspired you to write it? My husband says that I have a "runaway" imagination, which must account for the crazy dreams and nightmares that come my way. In the summer of 2009, I dreamed about some of the beginning parts of Thor's Wife. For some reason, I felt that I should write it down. Every night, I would wake up and write more of the story. I did write in the daylight too, but found that the house was quieter at night.
What is the writing process like for you? When I get a dream or an idea occurs to me, I take notes on my phone or scraps of paper. As soon as I can, I transfer those notes to a Word document in my computer. I add in any research results to my notes, and work on both an outline and character development. I find that this process helps me decide which book to work on first in the line of ideas. Once I have my notes, etc. assembled, I find my "voice". For Thor's Wife, it was natural to let Jennifer do most of the "talking". But in my next book, Pool Home, my characters may take turns.
What did you do before you became an author? I've been a Spanish teacher for 15 years. I left the classroom seven years ago to teach online. I don't intend to retire from teaching for a while, unless my books become very successful.
How does it feel to be a published author? I self-published through Amazon, and am very excited to finally see my efforts in print. I would like to someday have my books get picked up by a major publisher.
Any advice for struggling writers? Write a little bit every day and don't give up. Write what is interesting to you. Don't worry about market trends in books. If you try to write only those things that are marketable right now, you will not be true to yourself.
Where do you see book publishing heading? I think that more people will self-publish as companies like Amazon and Smashwords become more well-known. Large publishers have to watch the bottom line in this economy, and aren't as willing to take risks on unknown authors.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013
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