This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
We’re chuffed that for the month of May Pippa Wright is here at Novelicious as our author in residence. Each Friday she will be answering a question about her life as a writer.
This week a Novelicious reader asks:
What’s the best and worst thing that’s ever happened to you as an author?
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Pippa says: This is a really good question, I liked thinking about it. The best thing is easy. I was camping in a field after a friend’s party in Norfolk last summer when my phone buzzed very early on a Sunday morning. It was my editor saying, ‘Have you seen Unsuitable Men is in the Kindle top ten?’ I was a bit hungover and extremely confused, and even more so when I saw that the book was selling for 20p. I was also quite amused to discover my editor checked the Amazon rankings first thing on a Sunday; that’s dedication. It turned out that Amazon and Sony had put the book in a promotion completely unexpectedly, and it was selling like mad. Unsuitable Men stayed in the Kindle top ten for weeks. At the time I was covering a maternity leave at HarperCollins and people kept stopping me in the canteen to ask if I was the same Pippa Wright who was an Amazon bestseller. It was all quite surreal. There was a lot of luck to it – the promotion was entirely out of my hands and my publishers’, but also Macmillan had done a really good job on positioning and marketing the book, and I was very happy to see that pay off for all of us.
I have very conflicting thoughts on selling books for 20p – I do think it devalues them, and I’m not sure people should expect to pay so little for a book. You can’t even buy a bar of chocolate for 20p!But at the same time, this promotion properly changed my life as an author and gave me the freedom to write my fourth book full-time, which is a real privilege. So on a personal level I am very happy and grateful to have been a part of it.
The worst thing is harder. I think it’s not so much a specific moment, but that fact that I’ve lost the ‘being an author’ daydream. Whenever work got to be awful in the past, I’d imagine escaping off to this wonderful life as an author, free to work when and where I wanted, floating round glamorously seeking inspiration in exotic locations. I think I’d probably seen Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone a few too many times. Now I’m living the dream, well, it’s still a job. And there are some really boring parts to it. I miss the teamwork of being in an office more than I expected, and I really miss having colleagues you see every day. But I think that’s because being an author is a reality now, not a daydream any more, and anything real is always a bit great and a bit crap at the same time. Luckily the great wins out most days.