Historical and Contemporary Romance Author

The Power of Positive Thinking…Or Not

It’s no secret that I have a book out on submission right now, and I’m pretty nervous about it. Although having Behind the Red Door come out the same day my agent sent out the pitch letter for the new series has been a blessing because I’m far too busy to obsess, I haven’t been so busy that I’m not thinking about it.

And what I think most of the time is that it’s not going to sell. Not because I’m down on my bad self, not because I don’t it’s a good book (on the contrary, I love the idea of this trilogy), and not because I don’t have faith in my agent. No, it all comes down to maintaining my own sanity.

I’ve always worked on the theory that one hopes for the best but never expects it. That way, when the wonderful thing happens, I am surprised and thrilled and feel like I’ve won the lottery. As a result of that attitude, I’ve won the lottery quite often. I never expected to get a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities, but I did. I didn’t expect to get into the University of Chicago for graduate school, but I did. I didn’t expect to meet the man of my dreams while I was home for Christmas vacation, but I did :). And I sure as heck didn’t expect to sell Behind the Red Door to Kensington.

I’m also a big believer in putting my faith in the things I can control (honing my craft and writing the best book I can), there isn’t much point in imagining that other people (especially other people I’ve never met) will be swayed one way or another by my belief in myself. Now that my book proposal is on editor’s desks, I have no control over the outcome, and telling myself it’s going to sell is only setting myself up for disappointment if it doesn’t.


Of course, I’ll be disappointed if it doesn’t sell regardless of whether I think it will or not. But I will be much less disappointed if I’m prepared for the possibility that it may not. 

None of that means I don’t think I can write another book that will sell. It just might not be this one. It might not be the next one either. But sooner or later, I’m pretty sure I’ll hit the lottery again, as long as I don’t stop playing. And I’m pretty sure you will, too, whether it’s landing an agent, selling a book, or getting your dream job–I’m convinced the only thing that truly keeps good things from happening is our unwillingness to keep trying.

And that, to me, is the power of positive thinking!


  • kellykrysten May 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    This sounds like a reasonable and really healthy way to handle the business. I think being a positive thinker doesn’t mean you aren’t a realist.
    Really loved this blog! Am so looking forward to Behind The Red Door. Just waiting for it to come out on Kindle. I press the little button for it on Amazon several times a day.lol.

  • Kris Eton May 30, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    I needed to hear these words, Jackie, as I look for work. When I get discouraged about one position or a lost opportunity, I have to keep trying, keep applying because I just never know when I might ‘hit the lottery.’

    BTW, I’m really hoping you get to write this series, too!


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