Diana and Jaci have both posted about their journeys to NY success. I found them both inspiring, but I’ve seen a little mild snarkiness in response. I’ve known them both for about 5 years, and neither of them has ever mentioned finding some magical potion in a flea market somewhere. What they do have in common is talent, discipline and being market-savvy.
I was privvy to some private whining about the above posts which I can’t share. But let’s take a look at the journey that Jaci and Diana didn’t take, shall we?
1986-1997: Rehash every romance novel ever read.
1997-2001: Take time off to do the baby/housewife/career thing. Read every how-to book written and rewrite manuscript according to each book as it’s read.
2001: Get online! Join RWA and every writing community on the internet. Spend 16 hours each day surfing them, then 2 hours rewriting manuscript to fit every rule learned that day. Enter a contest even though it’s not ready because everybody else on the board did. Go into depression when it doesn’t do well. Make every change judge suggests.
2002: Oooh, there’s a new editorial assistant at XYZ! She must be hungry. Add a secret baby because somebody on a message board sold a secret baby to her last year at her old house.
2003: Rejected, and it wasted a whole year! That’s okay, because it’s better now that every change suggested by 48 different contest judges has been made. And inspirationals are hot! Put the secret baby back in the closet and rewrite all the sex scenes to going-to-church scenes and submit.
2004: Rejected, but it only took 7 months and it finalled in two contests, so it’s on the right track. A new publishing house? Hot damn! They’ll need authors. Remove all trace of inspirational, add a dead body and a bunch of really bad words. Submit.
2005: Oooh, the guidelines have changed over here and a lot of their authors are moving to single title. Resurrect the dead body, delete the bad words and put the secret baby back in. Submit. After all, it’s done okay in 129 contests.
2006: OMG, look at those two lucky ducks. They must have cheated because look how hard I’ve worked, and I don’t have a contract. It can’t be because they submitted fresh, original, timely ideas to the right people at the right time. I’m going to be bitchy about them because I’ve worked so hard.
There’s a difference between working hard and working smart. J and Diana did both. And they earned themselves some success.
And the above journey is totally fictional. But if you think I wrote it about you, it’s time to bury that manucript. Bury it deep, then bury the shovel.