My husband came home a couple months ago and told me that a friend of a friend was an erotic writer. My response, “Really, what’s her name?” Let’s face it it’s a relatively small community and, although I don’t write erotic (because it takes a very good writer to write erotic and I’m just not there yet) I do read it and I know several people who write it. And if I didn’t know her, chances were I knew someone who knew someone that did. Six degrees and all that.
He told me her name, and I didn’t recognize it.
“Well,” he said, “I think she’d just starting out and my friend made it seem like she didn’t really know many people. My friend was actually wondering if she could pass along your name and e-mail to her. I told her it’d be fine.”
I loved that he didn’t have to ask, that he already knew the answer. Of course it was fine. It was better than fine. After all, the community I’d discovered had become my favorite aspect of the writing journey. Yes, the first contract I was offered was great, and getting to see covers with my name on them had been indescribable, but none of that would have happened without the guidance and support I’d received from the other authors I’d met along the way.
“She seemed to think her friend thought other authors didn’t help each other out very often. That it was very competitive.”
That statement saddened me because it’s simply not true. I mean, I'm sure there’s competition when an anthology call goes out, and yes there’s always the hope I’ll make the cut at a certain house, but I’d do whatever I could to help out another author and when I tell them I’m cheering for them and wish them good luck, I honestly mean it. And I think the other authors I’ve met along the way feel the same.
Yes, I want contracts, but I want to earn them because my story’s the best, or because it resonated with an editor, not because there weren’t enough submissions to fill a quota. And when I’m rejected it stings, but I know I was rejected because my story wasn’t good enough, not because other authors had submitted works. I settle in to make it better and then resubmit it elsewhere. It’s one of the ways I work at becoming a better writer.
The exchange made me thankful for the community I'd discovered and reminded me to be grateful for all the help I'd been given. So, huge thank yous to Barbara Hancock-whose amazingly supportive words and deeds are too many to list, Nicole Dennis-who’s read my work and given me priceless feedback, My writers group, which includes Robyn Bachar and Ghostsnapper,- who forced me to sit down and write my first sex scene, Suzanne Rock-who’s shown up at blogs and events and cheered me on, Moira Rogers (both of you) for your kind words and repeat tweets, Cora Zane-for your encouragement (especially back in the days when I was Neoindra), E-love-for your unfaltering support, Aubrie Dionne-for coming to visit me at my blog and for the offers of reviewing my work, Sandra Sookoo for your wonderful words about my cover and offering me a guest spot on your blog, and well, I think you get the idea. I don't honestly think I could thank everyone who's touched me over the last two years, and I think that says more than this whole blog does. There are no words to express how much I appreciate everyone’s support and guidance as I stumble along this journey.
BTW she never e-mailed me. That saddened me, too. It’s my sincerest hope that she’ll find a community she’s comfortable with and that it helps her on her journey, as I would be lost without mine.