Sunday, May 17, 2009

Career Changing, Not Life Changing

One of the first things a lot of people asked me after finding out that Wings had hit the lists was, "How does it feel to be a NYT Bestseller!!!"

About the same as it felt not to be.

I posted a tongue-in-cheek Tweet the other day that said: "So, what does a brand new NYT Bestseller do on her first full day as such?!?! Did you guess mow her lawn?? You're so smart.;)" But it really is true. Your life doesn't change anymore than it does by becoming published. I'm still a mom, I still mow my own lawn and bake my own bread, and I still struggle to try to write every day.

Which isn't to say I don't love it and it's awesome! But life doesn't change. Even writing life doesn't change. I still have a deadline at the beginning of June that I'm sweating over, and I still look at certain pages in my now-published book and cringe. (Does any author NOT do that?!?!) I get asked a lot if I will one day publish my old shelf novels if my name gets big enough and people look at me strangely when I say probably not. Just like when I was pre-published, I still believe that I should only publish the best work I can do at the time. And well, those novels are no longer the best I can do. I stress over reviews, worry about covers, freak out over titles. That part just hasn't changed.

It is career changing, I certainly can't deny that. For the rest of my career someone in the design department will find a nice, aesthetic way to put "New York Times Bestselling Author" on my covers. Aspiring authors will think I know something (I don't), people will probably send me free books to read, hoping for a blurb (yay! Free books!) and it will become a bullet point on my resume.(Assuming I ever write up a resume. Ha!)

But I hope that's the only way in which it changes my career. I hope my editor will still feel free to edit me just as hard as she ever has, I hope my agent will still slap me down when I'm getting too fussy, I hope aspiring writers will still come for me for advice because they know I will give it to them. I hope I don't get an ego. I'm going to try really hard not to! I hope I will be happy for associates' successes, get pissed with them over getting shafted, commiserate when things don't go their way. I hope that I will be one of those authors who has a reputation for being nice instead of . . .well . . . the other kind.

Because the fact of that matter is, there are hundreds, no thousands, of books out there that are better than mine that, for one reason or another, are not getting the attention mine is. NYT Bestseller #6 does NOT equal the sixth best book in the country. Just the one that happens to have the sixth best sales numbers at the moment. That's all.

Don't get me wrong. Hitting the lists is awesome! It's wonderful! I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world! But if I start acting like it means something about who I am as a person, please slap me with a fish.:)

Ciao!

27 comments:

Yamile said...

Great post! I've always wondered how being published changes your life. Thanks for the insight, and hopefully one day (soon, I hope), I'll know firsthand!

Erin said...

I'm sure you won't let it go to your head! You should be very proud that many people like your book! I bet actors feel the same way when they look at themselves in movies... I can't even stand to see myself on home videos. It hard to put yourself out there for everyone to see what you write. I'm sure you're one of your hardest critics. Matt and I read the book together. It got to the point where I would call him at work to come home early to read because he didn't want me to cheat and read ahead! It was good to see you and congrats on the NY times bestseller list!

Sarah said...

Love it! You seem so humble. Congrats on hitting the NYT list. I can't wait to read Wings:)

Tracy said...

That's definitely a great attitude to have. Congratulations on the success, and good luck with your deadline!

JKB said...

Good girl. :)

Hope you're having fun moving! Sending lots of NYT BS hugs from Germany..... :)

imogen howson said...

Hey,
I just wanted to leave a comment to say I love reading your blog! ;-)

I haven't bought Wings yet, but I love the idea, I enjoyed the excerpt on Amazon, and I put it straight onto my "to be bought" list.

My 11-year-old is coming to the end of the Twilight series, and she needs something else to move on to, and my 13-year-old always needs good new YA books to read!

Congratulations on your NYT status. :-)

Eric said...

Great post. It sounds like you have all the right ideas, so I for one am glad someone like you has made it to that list. Better that than an egotistical brat who suddenly thinks she's the greatest thing since sliced bread. Take a bow, you're obviously doing a good job.

Shelli said...

ur so cute :)

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

I love that you're remaining so humble. Thanks for a "behind the scenes" look at a Best Seller's life. :) And CONGRATS!

lotusgirl said...

It's nice to discover your blog. I just followed Jenn's links over here. It's funny that she blogged about you today. I had just bought your book a few days ago, so I'm contributing to your NYT bestseller status. Yay me! I'm excited to read it, but my daughter gets to read it first. I have to wait my turn. Ugh!

I love your attitude. You're my kind of person! Keep up the good work. That lawn is looking great. Heehee!

Patti said...

Great advice, it's good to see someone so wiling to help others and not let success go to your head but it's still an amazing accomplishment.

Kristi Stevens said...

Congratulations. I've been a fan of your blog for over a year. Thanks for sharing the "to publication" process.

I attended your reading at LTUE and just knew your series was going to be huge.

Hope to see you at CONDUIT this weekend. Can't wait for you to sign my copy of your book!

cindy said...

i know. i'm really trying to clean the house up as a fabulous debut author with junk all over the bloody place and kiddie dances to attend and lunches to make and toilets to scrub. haha! so thrilled for you tho! all your hard work has paid off in spades!!!

Kathleen MacIver said...

This post is somehow so encouraging to those of us that are aspiring authors...both in that it CAN happen, but also to keep "it" in perspective. Thank you!

(And now I think I'll follow you on Twitter.)

Dara said...

A great post!

I just finished reading your book and I loved it :) I was never one for faerie lore but I think I might be now!

Congrats on the NYT Bestseller status, too!

Valerie Ipson said...

Good insights into the NYT Bestselling author world! It's good to know because I think writers not only fear rejection,
they also fear success.

Julie Wright said...

Just dropping by to say congratulations. I thought you were pretty cool before, but now that I know you bake your own bread I am in worship mode. I don't cook at all if I can help it. That is why I married an apprecntice to a chef :)

Frankie Diane said...

Congrats Aprilynne! That's awesome and your attitude toward it is very inspiring!

Anonymous said...

I'm a 29 year woman, and I loved your book. I have read stephanie meyers book and your are just as thrilling as reading hers. I hope you hurry up and write the next one.

Anonymous said...

Hello Aprilynne! this isnt really about you...i just wanted to say that you HAVE to write a sequel to WINGS! i just finished it yesterday, and i am starving for more!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I just started reading Wings and it is simply amazing. I love David to start off and your writing has such a strong sense of voice, especially for a trird perosn perspective. Can NOT wait for the sequel. Good Luck!!!

L.Maughan said...

Wahoo for making the list. Life may not may not change, but that is because you are a mom and not because you are a NYT list author. --The dish and laundry fairy (aka moms everywhere) never get a day to reflect on their coolness.
I am excited to read your book!

Jenn Johansson said...

This post is a perfect example of why I think you're cool. ;) Hooray for humility and success! It's a great combination.

Veronica said...

Wings definitely deserves it's place on the NYT list. I like how you're not letting it get to your head.
Wings is probably one of the best books I've read in a long time. I'm so excited for the next one (I need to find out what happens to Tamani and the other faeries.)

Graham Chops said...

Congrats! I'm probably not in the demographic of readers for Wings, but I picked it up last week and will probably read it soon. I've heard good things about it. Did I understand correctly that you'll be at CONduit? I'd love to get it signed...

candicekennington said...

I found your blog through Jenn's. Mega congratulations. I'm hoping that when I get published my life will not change. I love it the way it is, but it would be nice to have a bit of validation. :)

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