Monday, November 19, 2007

Batter Up

Had I been male, I'd have wanted to be a serious baseball player. My goal would have been second base for the Atlanta Braves. I'd have played that position during the Bobby Cox heyday. I'd have rubbed elbows with Terry Pendleton, John Smoltz, and Jeff Treadway. Instead, since I'm female, I'm a romance writer. There's lots of similarities.

Most baseball players play the game just for fun while they're kids; some are better than others. I read books for fun while I was a kid; I was a ferocious reader.

These hopefuls go to college (most) and hope that they'll make the team and be soooo good a scout will pick them up. I went to college and majored in journalism. I wrote for college papers and hoped I'd write something so good the Readers Digest would call me and say, "Hey, we need a features writer"'

Memo: I was veeerry young when I was dreaming about the Readers Digest.

If the players get noticed, they go to a farm league, which is like a waiting pen for the players. Here players learn big league techniques, secrets, and play, play, play. Me, I started writing for a publisher called Barbour. Barbour is a wonderful place to learn the craft. My first book did not hit the shelves; it hit the mail. They had a mailing list of over 20,000. I did learn techniques, I learned that there are no secrets except being a published author is harder than one realizes, and I wrote, wrote, wrote.

There needs to be a slot for a farm league player to be called up. A farm league player might find himself filling in for a sick player, or if a trade happened and the new player is not yet in place, that's when the 'hopeful' farm leaguer gets a chance at the show.
They call it the show, when you finally hit the big league.
I thought I'd been called to the show years ago when I sold Kensington, but I wasn't ready. Now, I'm back in the show and playing for the Braves, I mean writing for Harlequin, as has always been my goal.

The thing about the show is you have to keep in mind your batting average: number of books sold. You have to catch/stop the balls that come your way: you have to come up with good ideas, meet deadlines, and grab every opportunity. You need to build a fan base and sign baseballs: market, market, market.

The thing about the show is, there are one hit wonders. There are fires that burn so bright that they soon disappear. There's the midlist, ever reliable. And, then, there are the legends.

Right now, I'm playing my second game. Book number two The Price of Redemption is on the shelves. As a player, I think the coach is still wondering if he made the right choice in putting me in the line-up. The fans, well, they're in the stadium but are they clapping, I don't know.

All I know is that as I tighten my hands around the bat, I am thrilled. I can feel the smooth wood so tangible under my fingers. I can smell the popcorn. My feet are planted on the soil so many other champions trod. And I thank God for this opportunity even as I break out in a sweat from nerves.

3 comments:

Rebecca Bruner said...

Hi, Pamela. Thanks so much for your terrific workshop, "What's on the Menu?," at the writers' conference this Saturday. You really helped me gain important insights into the publishing business and clarify my own goals as a writer at this point in my life.

At the workshop, you mentioned that you were a member of a Christian writers' group, and I wanted to get more information from you about that. Since I couldn't figure out how to send you a message from your website(probably due to my own ineptitude) I decided to contact you here. If you would prefer to send me an e-mail with this information, my address is wordweaveraz@netzero.net.

I was sorry I couldn't take you up on your gracious invitation for lunch, and I felt pretty foolish about it considering your story about how much you'd learned by having dinner with a conference speaker. Unfortunately, I had already made plans to catch up with a friend whom I hadn't seen for several months, and I didn't feel I could stand her up.

Thanks again for sharing your wisdom. Meeting you was a great blessing.

PamelaTracy said...

Rebecca,
I enjoyed giving the workshop. I'm so glad it helped you gain insights. I've copied down your email and am adding it to my mailout list for the Christian Writer's Group. I'll send you an email with the information.

Terri Reed said...

I loved the analogy of baseball, one of the few male dominated sports I enjoy.
Writing never gets easier. Each book gives that feeling of being at bat and not knowing if you'll hit a homer, a line drive or a strike. But getting up to bat is still the most exciting part of the game.