Best-Selling Author Christina Dodd Shares Bit of Wisdom After 23 Years of Writing

Today, I received this awesome newsletter from author Christina Dodd. I love her insights on being an author, and after seeing her note that we could share the newsletter, I knew I absolutely had to post it here for my readers. Enjoy!

 Happy 23rd Publishing Anniversary, Christina!

Today, February 2, 2013 is the twenty-third anniversary of the day I got The Call. In publishing, The Call is when an editor makes an offer to publish your first book. In my case, my first published book was CANDLE IN THE WINDOW, winner of the Golden Heart and RITA awards. Mind you, it wasn’t the first book I ever wrote. In fact, I wrote two complete manuscripts before CANDLE IN THE WINDOW. I learned a lot with those two manuscripts (which will never be published because they’re lousy.)

Six years ago, I wrote a blog detailing everything I’ve learned about writing and pretty much everything I know about life. It’s surprisingly short, and here it is:

Yes, it’s true. On February 2, 1990, I got The Call from my agent. HarperCollins wanted to buy my first book. The time was 3:30pm.


10.  After ten years in the business, an author has A Well Established Career. After twenty, an author is an Expert, a Venerable Institution ... a Crone. Pardon me while I go to pluck the stiff white hairs off the chin of my current manuscript.

9.  From my vantage point, everyone in publishing is doing better than I am. From everyone else’s vantage point, I’m doing better than they are. The truth is somewhere in between — and an author who’s published is not going to get any sympathy at all from an unpublished author who’s written for ten years, finished three manuscripts and has twenty-five rejection letters. Believe me. I know. I was that author.

8.  Editors are sometimes right.
7.  How well an autographing goes is not an indicator of how well your career is going. Thank God. (Photo is of my first autographing...I can hear you giggling from here.)

6.  I’ve published forty-nine full-length novels and contributed six stories to anthologies. Some books are hard to write. Some books are easy. Some books are beloved by many. Some books are reviled by the vile. As the author I never have an idea which books will be my most popular. Never. I have to give up trying. Soon.

5.  Some people write mean reviews. I don’t read them.

4.  Some readers don’t like my writing. That’s okay, everyone has their right to their own taste — as long as they don’t write mean reviews about my books.

3.  Some readers love my books. Some of them write good reviews. Some of them write me heartfelt letters of appreciation. Some of them come to meet me and say wonderful things, sometimes with tears in their eyes. Some of them buy my books and never let me know. God bless them every one.

2.  I can’t remember my characters’ names, and I live with them day and night for months while I write their books. So I apologize in advance, but I’m hopeless and I’m never going to remember your name, either.

1.  I am never going to understand what people mean when they say I write funny books. I write serious, meaningful, emotional, sexy books that somehow get translated into funny.


1.  When a Writer/Crone lies about having ten points to make but there are actually more, it’s not a lie. It’s “Fiction.”


1.  Nine out of ten people in the U. S. want to write a book. One out of that nine thinks s/he’ll do it “when s/he has a free weekend.” In many states, it’s a misdemeanor to kill this person.

1.  Publishing is divided into two distinct occupations: Writing Books and Being an Author. Writing Books consists of being alone for months on end, creating imaginary people who converse, face challenges, and make love. Being an Author consists of introducing yourself to sometimes incredulous booksellers, talking to total strangers as they enter Wal-mart in the hopes of selling them a book, and interacting with publishers and editors in a manner that will convince them you’re sane enough to write forty-nine more books. This is why all authors are schizophrenic.

1.  It’s well worth pondering that most people don’t have a cool job that consists of being alone for months on end while creating imaginary people who converse, face challenges, and make love. It’s worth the schizophrenia.

1.  The more you write, the faster you write, the more skilled you become.

1.  Spend every last dime of your first advance taking your family to Disneyworld. Especially if you’re poor. Publishing your first book is a life-changing event. Treat it like one.

1.  The best thing a writer can have if she wants to be successful is a mother who believes she’s wonderful. A husband who believes she’s wonderful and supports her for ten years while she tries to get published helps, too. Failing those things, the most important thing an author can have is an absolutely brutish belief in herself and her talent, and she can never ever allow the facts to change that faith.


1.  The Girl Scouts have a song with the lyrics that go, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.” The Girl Scouts know a lot about publishing. And people. And my friends.

Thank you for a wonderfully fulfilling twenty-three years, and I look forward to writing the next forty-nine books ... for you.


Christina Dodd
Cool Suspense, Hot Romance!

Please feel free to forward this email to your friends who write and your friends who read.

More Blogs of Interest:
How to write a book...
Yes, this really happened. It’s funny ... if you’re not me.

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