Don’t wait for the band wagon

CLIMB ABOARD NOW WHILE THERE ARE STILL GOOD SEATS

It is axiomatic that there are no overnight successes.

Why?

Because it takes huge amounts of determination and preparation to be ready to respond well when an opportunity finally comes along – and if you’re not ready, it will leave you in the dust and move on.

Take your American Idol singer

The pipes that astonish are not natural, spur of the moment, magically angelic. Nope. If so, they are most likely to freeze at the first sign of stress.

The singer not only sings a lot in the shower, but has had parents paying for individual teachers, has been singing in the church choir, has spent years listening to music, and has been through a whole list of roles in the school plays.

Being on stage in front of a bunch of strangers and wowing Simon Cowell is not a fluke.

The illusion that it is sudden and unexpected and a direct blessing from Heaven is for the AUDIENCE. The ones who want to jump on the bandwagon as it goes by because, “I’m just as good as she is.” It keeps them buying the advertised products, watching the shows, purchasing tickets for Kelly Clarkson when she comes to town.

Even the little Wow! stories are the product of hours and hours and hours of cameramen recording every remotely possible candidate practicing in the hall – to be scrolled through for the exciting bits AFTER the winner has been chosen.

It matters only for the individuals

The producers don’t care who wins – they have SO many contestants that their triage is stricter than that after a major accident: they may let a few charismatic duds go through a few levels they aren’t qualified for – one leaves in the random possibility because crowds are fickle, but the staff’s job is to make sure that the two or three possibles culled out of each thousand who apply are usable.

They have no investment in a particular candidate. It’s dangerous to have one because talent and stardom are unpredictable beasts.

But the individual candidates, those who want to win, have to be ready to win – if it happens.

Artists need support BEFORE

before they are recognized as somehow ‘good.’

before they get discouraged and stop producing amazing work.

before everyone else discovers them.

It is even more important for those who are slow, or for whom doing the work is a great mental and/or physical effort.

I know that I will never forget the earliest responses on Wattpad from other writers, the ones who kept me cheerfully sharpening my nose. Because they KNEW – and SAID so – BEFORE others.

Peter Hyland, one of my characters, says,

“None of my friends are perfect. And most of them are irreplaceable. They provide the mirror when I get too big for my britches. New ones are hard to find.” He squinted at the dying sun. “I need them far more than they need me.

PRIDE’S CHILDREN: PURGATORY, Chapter 13

It is hard for people to commit, to say, “I’ve found this new writer/photographer/painter…, and you should look into their work” to recommend someone to a friend. What if the friend doesn’t like the new artist? Easier not to say anything, and just nod wisely.

But once the wagon is full, one more supporter isn’t going to make that much of a difference.

Getting started is hard – but up to the writer, who is the one to make the decision when something is first ready to be released to the public.

But keeping it going is much harder still, and that’s when the support can make the difference between someone going on to do creditable work – or quitting.

Why now?

It may or may not be important, or a stepping stone of any size, but I’m saying thank you to all my readers who have been saying, “I like what you write,” since I started putting Pride’s Children out in serial form on Wattpad.

You may or may not have noticed the new badge on the sidebar.

Pride’s Children: PURGATORY has been named Indies Today’s 2021 BEST CONTEMPORARY novel, and I’d love it if those of you who read mainstream fiction would pop over to my other site, the one for the books, and sign up to follow that blog as I get ready to finish and publish the second novel in the trilogy, Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD.

**********

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18 thoughts on “Don’t wait for the band wagon

  1. acflory

    -grin- I can’t remember when I discovered Purgatory’s Children, but it was one of the few, non-scifi novels I both read and reviewed. I’m tickled pink that you received an award for it. Bravo my friend, bravo. The novel deserved it and so do you, because I know that not a single word came easily. -hugs-

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      1. acflory

        -hugs- the book is the reason I started visiting your blog. I think a lot of readers become curious about authors whose books they’ve enjoyed. Finding parallels was an unexpected bonus. 🙂

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        1. acflory

          lol – me too. I think it boils down to quality. Good writing is good writing no matter the genre. I read mostly literature until I went to uni. so I love big meaty stories that have more layers than an onion!

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        2. acflory

          Aaaah! The foibles of the English language. Yes, I was talking about the ‘green’ onions. I grew up thinking dripping on fresh bread with ‘green onions’ and sweet capsicum was a great lunch. I still like the taste of dripping – chicken or pork, not beef – but don’t eat it for health reasons. lol That’s one part of my Hungarian heritage I haven’t passed on to the Offspring. We both like the green onions with just a sprinkle of salt though. :d

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Only if you’re interested in mainstream fiction!

      I have friends – thank goodness – in all kinds of different genres. I don’t always use my extremely limited reading time to try new things (I’m more likely to try to write a few more words). My support for others is in the form of words and camaraderie, and very occasionally purchasing a book which, even with good intentions, goes on a very tall TBR pile.

      I expect others have their own constraints. I don’t expect my writer friends to also be my readers, though I’m delighted if they are (a few have).

      THERE’S NOT ENOUGH TIME – and I have this stupid disease.

      But the support is invaluable and I cherish it.

      Liked by 1 person

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