Okay, folks. Today I've got some hard truth. But keep in mind that "hard" doesn't mean "bad"-- so stick with me a bit. I can always find a silver lining. ;)
While working on revisions, I had a conversation with my agent. She mentioned that in a lot of cases, editors are turning down good books they would have picked up not long ago. I joked that I'd better work hard to make my book "much more muchier" (Mad-Hatter-style) so it could really stand out.
And that's it, friends. That's the hard truth. Writing a good book, even writing a really good book, is not good enough. Thanks to wonderful writing blogs, writing books, and writing conferences, with some hard work, anyone can become a good writer. I firmly believe that-- and actually, I firmly believe that's a good thing. It means if we really want this dream, we have the tools to achieve it, no matter who we are. That makes my optimistic little heart happy.
Here's the flip side: it's also an equalizer. If anyone can be a good writer, it's a heck of a lot harder to stand out. It's a heck of a lot harder to get a thumbs-up from an editor/agent. And if you self-publish, it's almost more important. The self-pub market is glutted with a mix of good, mediocre, and terrible. If you want to sell more than a few books, you HAVE to stand out in that crowd. You can't be good. You have to be extraordinary.
So, then. Be extraordinary.
Granted, good books and bad books and mediocre books get published every day. Which is both encouraging and discouraging at the same time. Here's how I think of it, though: If I have it in me to be extraordinary, why wouldn't I shoot for it?
So, my friends, don't sell yourself short. Have confidence in yourself and your ability to get better and better every day. Work hard. And be extraordinary. What will you do to be extraordinary today?