Bluegrass Blush is my third book. Way back in 1992, I worked for an author/publisher of textbooks. Jean Gonzalez had written a series of Court Reporting textbooks that were published through a major publishing house. She started her own publishing company, Middleton/Wasley Publishers, to distribute other products that complemented her textbooks.
She hired me to be her Business Manager. We would travel to trade shows and I would solicit accounts with court reporting schools and manage the production work. Before long, she approached me with an idea. She needed a practice book that would complement her textbook. I wrote it. We had it printed. It sold well for a couple of years. The company also created a set of professional audio recordings of the book for more practice.
I remember Jean’s best advice to me, “You always have to be working on the next thing.” She said whatever you write, it will do well for a year or so, but someone else will take your sales if you have nothing to follow it up. They may even write basically the same book with a newer cover and get your customers. She said that as long as you always have something new in the works, you’ll never get hungry.
A long time, and many kids, later, I am revisiting this advice. The LEARN Court Reporting practice book is now defunct and forgotten. I didn’t follow her advice. I’m certain someone else is chasing those customers. But, now I’m writing fiction and trying to follow her advice.
When I released Between Time, no one knew I liked to write. Buying that book was a risk for readers. Was it any good? Was it worth $.99 for the digital version. $14 for the print version was a downright risk. Now with Bluegrass Blush, there are a handful of people who are already looking forward to reading it. Some have even pre-ordered it (Bless them!)
Even the people who have no intention of reading it (because maybe romance just isn’t their thing) are excited because they know me. It’s great to cheer on a friend or watch someone make their dreams come true. Whatever the reason, there is energy this time that there wasn’t before.
Of course I only have a very small data set for comparison, but I am already seeing the wisdom of my former boss’s advice. I’ve learned it’s not just about staying on the cutting edge. Always having something new builds momentum for everything you created before.
So I proudly say, I’m working on my fourth book. You may never see my first book (honestly, I’m not sure where it is. I put it somewhere ‘safe’), but the seeds planted 24 years ago by someone who believed in me and gave me the tools to start on my dream are sprouting. The energy is multiplying. Put your hands in the air because this is getting fun.
Thank you, Jean Gonzalez. Wherever you are.