Beth Revis did a little inspirational video for 2011’s WriteOnCon in which she talked about the 10 books she wrote before Across the Universe, the first book in her best-selling trilogy. I saw this video about two years ago, and it really stuck with me. Give it a watch if you want:
The gist of the video is in this quote: “I treated every single book as if it were the one.”
She didn’t know when writing each of those 10 other books that they wouldn’t get published. I wonder, sometimes, if I’d want to see my publishing future. Would I want to know if I ever get published? Would I want to know how old I am when I do? Would I want to know how many books I had to write before the One that sold?
The answer: no freaking way. Because what if the answer is that I don’t get published for 10 years? What if the answer is that I don’t get published until my 15th book? If I knew that now, I might be so discouraged by all the work ahead of me that I’d give up. The only way to keep going as Beth Revis said: treat every book as if it could be the One.
I’m working on a YA fantasy (henceforth referred to as TSS) right now that I’m falling increasingly in love with every day. That is both exciting and terrifying. Exciting because it means I actually kindasorta look forward to writing, as difficult as it is at times. But terrifying because, after each chapter or page or sentence that I love, I wonder: Will anyone else ever read this?
I don’t know. I don’t know if TSS will be the One that sells, the One that flings me into real author-dom. In fact, I’m still not sure that THE FADING HOUR, the book that I’m querying, isn’t the One. There’s so much uncertainty. I hope it’s THE FADING HOUR and that TSS is my follow-up. If not that, then I hope TSS can be my debut. And if not that, then whatever I write after TSS.
For now, as I chug along toward the 90,000 or so words that it will take to make TSS a complete story, I will try to believe, with certainty, that it will be published one day. I will believe that an agent will love it, and then an editor. I will believe that it will get thousands of readers. I will give it the effort it deserves, telling myself every day that it is the One.
But even if it’s not, even if all those beliefs are wrong, I still have this: I love this book. I want to explore its world. I want to make it real.