Today is a day for giving “thanks”… a tradition which began in 1621 when the Pilgrims celebrated their first harvest after coming to the new world. Thanksgiving wasn’t given official “holiday” status until 1863 when, amid the ravages of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared a ‘day of Thanksgiving’ to be celebrated the last Thursday of November.
As authors, we have a number of things to be thankful for, not just during the holidays, but throughout the year. In the spirit of the holiday, I’d like to offer up my thanks for the following writer’s blessings. While there are certainly more things to add, these are the six I hold most dear.
Talent - Whether it comes naturally, or you’ve had to work for it, learn it, hone it to perfection, it’s your talent as a storyteller that fuels your desire to write and your success as a published author.
Talent must also be nurtured, whether by taking classes, reading, or completing specific research. It must be used often so that it doesn’t go stale.
Inspiration – Almost anything in our lives can translate to inspiration for a new book. Currently, I’m working on story for the Beyond Fairytales line. My inspiration? The Grimm tale of The Devil’s Sooty Brother. If you’re unfamiliar with the story, look it up on the internet. There’s not a romantic, or sexy, thing about that particular tale. Yet, it gave me the inspiration I needed to create a story of discovery, love and a whole lot of steamy!
Inspiration can come from anywhere. I once found an old shoebox in my late mother’s closet filled with items from the 1920s and 30s. The possibilities were endless. Every item in the box spoke to me on some level or another. So far, I’ve written four books from the inspiration found in that one shoebox.
Publishers – Be it traditional print, independent print or digital, or a self-publishing platform, without someone to take a chance on our dreams our creations would be collecting virtual dust bunnies on our computers. A great publisher willingly works with their authors, supports them both during the creative process and afterward with promotion and innovative sales techniques. The publisher has put their resources, and their reputations on the line for us … they deserve the best we can give them AND our gratitude.
Editors – An important part of the publishing process, a great editor walks a fine line between your best friend and your worst critic. I’m fortunate to have worked with a number of the most talented editors out there and I always do my best to take their advice to heart. I know their intention is to make my book the absolute best it can be. You can’t ask for more than that.
Cover Artists – As exciting as it is to make the sale, receive the contract and, eventually, celebrate your book’s release day, nothing can compare to that first peek at your cover. My very first cover (way back in 1996) was created by the fabulous cover artist,Pino as an original painting. The painting was then turned into a print and the print into a book cover. Those days have given way to clip art, and pre-styled backgrounds. Yet, the effort extended by the artist is just as time consuming and the results just as beautiful.
Cover artist, Fiona Jayde, took every one of my suggestions to heart when she created the exquisite cover for my October release, The Muse. Her work is currently nominated for an award in the November competition at: http://www.lollytova.com/novembers-cover-love-poll-2/. Voting runs until the end of the month and, as the author, I know we’d both appreciate your recognition.
Readers – This is a case of saving the best for last. Without the readers, we might as well not bother writing. They are ‘why’ we do what we do. Writing is an isolating business with hours spent in solitude, our eyes glued to a computer screen. When we come into the real world, whether through social media or at a hands-on book signing, the comments we receive from readers is what makes it all worthwhile.
I was recently asked whether or not I write a passage or just sign my name when autographing one of my books. As I explained, I am greatly humbled by the fact that someone has handed over their hard-earned money to buy my book. The least I can do is say ‘thanks’ with a salutation and short passage thanking them for their purchase.
As we approach the upcoming holiday season, we will undoubtedly be inundated with a combination of responsibility and wonder. Let us not forget the tangible things we sometimes take for granted, such as good health, our families, and our freedom. Then, whether you’re a writer or a reader, take a moment to consider the joy a good book can bring, and how the story portrayed in that book can, and will, affect your life.
Happy Holiday, no matter which ones you celebrate,