My Year of Ignorant Bliss or How I Resisted the Best Advice I Ever Received
The best of advice I ever received I didn’t like. Nor did I want to take it. But it came from such a well-respected source I knew I would feel guilty if I didn’t listen to it. So I absorbed it, put it away to ponder, and let it fester.
For over a year.
You see, it went this way. I wrote a book. A book I loved. A book that was magical. A book that I knew was going to take the world by storm. (I didn’t actually believe any of those things. I just knew that was that I was supposed to believe them. I actually believed the hard part was just beginning.) I cradled that book like it was an object more precious than the Holy Grail. I was finishing up undergrad and with my beloved book in hand, began searching for writing groups to join to begin building my writing career. Of course, I was getting a degree in English at the time like all good writers do, and the next logical step was to begin connecting with other writers to see how this publishing thing work.
So I found a group and I went to a talk they put on given by an author I love and respect more than I love and respect chocolate cake. I sat in the audience and listened to this magical, strong woman, absorbing everything she said about deep point of view. When we had a break, I boldly went up to talk to her. She smiled, shook my hand, and listened so attentively when I told her about my book. It was otherworldly. I can still see her face. How the odd light of the auditorium we were in lit one half of it more than the other. I remember she wore the same necklace she wore in her headshot. I remember that smile, but more, I remember how her eyes actually saw me.
When I finished my love soliloquy for my book, this goddess-like author said to me, have you thought about going to business school?
I wanted to say I’m sorry. Or beg your pardon. Or something along those lines, but instead I just said no. No, I hadn’t thought about going to business school. (Business school was the furthest thing from my writer mind!) She nodded, smiled, and said, you should think about business school or be prepared to hire someone to handle the business aspect of your writing.
I thanked her for her advice, smiled harder than was natural, and slipped away, feeling my grip on my beloved book slip just a little. Business school? Was she serious? And what was the business part of writing? Didn’t I just write the book and send it to a publisher who loved it as much as I did and would make it a bestseller? Isn’t that how it worked?
It’s not how it works, and I thank the lucky stars everyday that I met that author, that I had the courage to speak to her, and that I took her advice. Albeit a year later when I finally enrolled in graduate school for business. Knowing how to run my writing business is the difference between writing as a hobby and writing as a job. And it’s the best job in the world.
Jessie Clever always wanted to be a writer. Then she found out you had to market your books. While she went on to write the bestselling Regency romance Spy Series, Jessie kept to the practical course and earned her MBA with a concentration in marketing, gaining hands on experience in companies ranging from entrepreneurial start-ups to multi-channel international retailers. She now uses her knowledge and experience to help authors expand their readership and deepen the loyalty of their readers. Connect with Jessie at jessieclever.com.
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