Small town girl. Joins Navy. Sees the world. Flies in planes. Hunts submarines. Gets out of military and has 3 kids.


A compilation of stories and lessons learned

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I Wish You Would've Written Star Wars.


(photo courtesy of sxc.hu)  
 

“A squeaky wheel gets oiled!”  I’ve heard that line now a dozen times in the past two weeks from everyone including family, friends, and marketing representative.  And so, I got squeaky and set up a meeting.  I met with the only bookstore owner within a 50-mile radius- the only bookstore that hadn’t shut down yet as a result of our haggard economy.


I told her I was local and vainly hoped that would be enough.  The truth was, I really didn’t know what I was doing.  It was all new.  I was simply proud of making it up to 187,420 for a day on the Amazon Bestsellers list. I was “moving on up” even if it was at the speed of Molasses.



The silver-haired store owner sat across the table from me.  She picked up my book and inspected it. Then she gently sat it back down on the table and patted the top of it.  I held my breath, waiting. 

“Honestly," she began. "I’d really wished you would’ve written Star Wars.  I can sell Star Wars.”  Hmmm.  I wasn't quite sure what to say to that. I wished I would’ve written Star Wars too?! 

But alas, my book was not Star Wars.



She was a sweet, little grandma.  She was kind, but set in her ways.  And because of her age, she could get away with telling me I sucked without batting an eyelash.  I couldn’t argue with a grandma. Come to think of it, I'm sure many people wouldn't have a problem telling someone they are not good enough.
 
I patiently listened to her for an hour about why she liked the books that she did. Then, for reasons I'll never know, I somehow convinced her to give me a shot.  I'd host a signing in her store, because really, what did she have to lose?



Reluctantly, she agreed- though suggested I write a pop-up book next time, or something of more value.


The day came and I was stunned at the outpouring of people.  I was elated- especially when I realized there were others there besides just my friends and family (as they would have kindly supported me if I had written a story about moldy cheese). I sold more books than I expected.  But even better than that- I met people that genuinely liked my book.  Other veterans (especially women veterans) thanked me for writing a book about them- as there were not other books like it.


That day I realized I would never be George Lucas.  I may never even be a best seller.  (I mean, I can still hope!) However, I wrote a story I felt passionate about.  I had a message I felt compelled to tell.  In the aftermath of the first signing I promised myself I would remember the joy that creating a story brings to me.  I would hope to always remember why I’m really writing.




*This piece was written as a prompt from Write on Edge:  "Write about a time you compared yourself, unfavorably, with someone else."

18 comments:

  1. The first thing I thought of was, "That lady knows Star Wars is a movie...right?" Also, a pop-up book? Oh the places my fevered imagination is going with that one!

    Way to go for forging ahead - isn't it wonderful when things go SO much better than expected?

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    1. Ha ha! Yes! Oh, it is so wonderful to be pleasantly surprised!

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  2. The silver-haired store owner sat across the table from me. She picked up my book and inspected it. Then she gently sat it back down on the table and patted the top of it. I held my breath, waiting.

    I love this moment. I can see it in my mind's eye with such clarity. I held my breath with you, as you took the leap to try something new and scary and absolutely wonderful.

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    1. Just like your 37 year of new beginnings, right? Thank you so much- I always love your feedback.

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  3. Keep the great stories coming, Julia!

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    1. Thanks so much Kari! I can't wait to read yours!

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  4. What an awesome story. That gives me so much hope as a writer. I am currently working on a project I am passionate about, but I am filled with so much self-doubt that I regularly talk myself out of working on it. I would love to be George Lucas, but am honestly happy if just a few people ever find my writing worthwhile. Great post!

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    1. Stop doubting yourself. You know how they say dance as if no one is watching? Well write as if no one is reading- passion driven. And then when (and if) it feels right put yourself out there. There will always be critics (especially the ones in your head) but the positive feedback and support you will receive will far outshine that. Believe me- I've gone through it all myself! I look forward to hopefully reading your project someday!

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  5. And now you just have to share what you did to get all those ppl to come out!

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    1. I promised cookies! Ha ha- only kidding (the lady wouldn't let me!) I just emailed everyone I knew, posted on FB, local online newspaper, and a poster in the store. Eventually it reached the right audience! Use every resource possible!

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  6. Wow. If you had written Star Wars, then everyone would chastise you for Jar Jar Binks.

    I liked your description of the little old lady--I think I know a few!

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    1. Okay, not sure if I should admit this, but I actually had to google Jar Jar Binks. That's how much I do NOT know Star Wars. I've seen most of the movies- but not enough to remember much. I know, I know.

      Thanks so much for reading- and I always enjoy your feedback. It's okay to be hard on me too- I can take it! Well- mostly. ;)

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  7. Well, at least you wrote a book! Can Grandma say that? There is always an audience out there for whatever you write and, ultimately, you have to write what you know, what comes from your heart, and what inspires and moves you. And if it does this to you, guaranteed it will do the same to others.

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  8. I am so glad she let you do the signing. What great validation to have your readers thank you for writing the book.

    Peace,
    Morgan

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    1. It was the best validation ever- the best feeling I could ever describe :)

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  9. Cannot believe she said that to you! How many books had she written? Jeez.

    And Star Wars is dated and the genre has been done to death. Women veterans, on the other hand...I've never seen or read a book about women veterans. So glad you got a positive response!

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    1. I know, right?! Ha ha! Thanks Angie! I love your fire-y-ness (I just made up a word)

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