I had the fascinating experience of meeting two very huge writers at this year's Romance Writers of America national conference in San Francisco and it was such an eye-opening experience, I wanted to share.
Who are they?
I'm not telling. First, because it's besides the point. Second, because I don't want to piss them off. And third, because I don't want to write about them, I want to write about what I learned from them.
Here's what happened. At 6 A.M. on the first morning of the conference, I couldn't sleep. I didn't want to wake my roomies, so I thew on a pair of jeans and crept down to the lobby. There sat a group of strangers who looked like me: tired, jetlagged, and possibly romance writers. So I joined them.
We chatted about business and it slowly dawned on me who two of these women were (HUGE fangirl moment while trying to play it cool in my no makeup, dirty jeans, bedhead....gah!).
Anyway, what struck me about these two women was that when it came to writing romance, they were total opposites. It was fascinating and very affirming that they could do everything differently, and still write great romance and be successful at it.
One of these writers had written four books in the last year. The other had written four books in her entire career.
One of these writers critiques with some of the biggest names in romance. The other critiques with no one. Ever.
One of these writers spends big money on promo. The other doesn't even have a website.
One of these writers writes across genres. The other keeps solidly to one genre.
One of these writers knew EVERYONE who walked by (yeah, we talked for a few hours). The other was rooming with a stranger she found on the web. She knew no one.
I don't know if this resonates with readers; I hope you all don't find this dull.
But for me, a new writer trying to start a career, a writer looking desperately to try to figure out how this business works, it was a defining moment. A shocking moment, even.
To me, meeting these two women meant that there's room for all of us, however we do it.
It meant that everything outside of writing the best book we can write is purely optional.
This week, I send my new book out into the universe. And I wonder if I did it "right." If I've done everything I could to make it a success. But then, I think of these two women and say to myself, "it's the book, stupid."
It's all about the book.
Well, about that and about meeting famous writers at conferences and having fangirl moments.
(P.S. -- Oh, and it's about winning chocolate, too. Come visit my website to enter my Happy Endings contest. )