“There is always so much talk about the sins of the fathers, but it is the sins of the mothers that are the most difficult to avoid repeating.”says Melanie Benjamin in Alice I Have Been. (discussed in last week’s blog).
It is a year since Henrietta the first book of my trilogy, Sins of the Mothers, was published. I wish I could say it had been a runaway success but I can’t! Like many first-time authors, I am inept at promoting and selling my works and not tough enough to say “Please buy it” when people ask me to give them copies because their friends enjoyed it.
A recent article in Digital Bookworld Daily (DBW) identifies three points to consider in order to promote your book successfully on a blog. The second point rang several carillons for me: Define What Your Books Are Really About. This is probably so obvious to most of you that you are wondering what’s wrong with me but I confess it is something I have wrestled with for some months.
Initially, I wanted to write a fictional story about the women living in a particular house which had taken my imagination hostage. I intended it to be an easy read to while away a plane journey or bus trip but as I began to write I realised I was concerned with two things: the effects one woman’s mistake has on her daughter and how the daughter reacts and develops as a result.
Hetty succumbs to one moment of temptation and pays a terrible price. The effect on Henrietta is a miserable childhood, a sudden hope of escape, followed by a crushing disappointment yet she rises to all the challenges and is strong enough to take extremely unconventional actions so one expects her to be a successful mother in her turn. But is she? With no experience of being mothered, how can she mother her own children? How does this, in turn, affect them?
That is what I wanted to come out of the books – but did it? I think perhaps not, or not clearly enough. So next time, I will work on defining what I really want to say before putting the words out in the great, wide world!
Today’s edition of The Writer’s Path carries an article by Jordan Jolley, The Sweat and Tears in Writing. In it Jolley writes:
Once your book is published and out in the world, there may still be regrets you have to your book. It’s not the end of the world if you have these regrets. Now you may still have mistakes even after publication (see Printing is Not Perfect). You may still have errors, whether if you had an editor or not. Just remember to look beyond your mistakes and learn from them. If you know your weaknesses, you can focus on them next time and turn them to strengths later on. It’s simply the process of learning and experience.
I found these words heartening, comforting even. The adage says one learns more from failures than successes! I do hope so.