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November 1, 2011
November, the month of turkeys, giblet gravy, CORNBREAD stuffing, cranberry sauce, family and football. Yes, that's right you can't have Thanksgiving dinner without a good football game playing later that afternoon when all you want to do is lie around and snooze off that tryptophan. Then there is always that one family member that you suddenly remember why you only see them once a year. So how many of you have had holiday disasters?
The first time I cooked a turkey, I left the paper bag of giblets and the neck inside the turkey. I also didn't put the turkey on to cook until about ten o'clock that morning, so we didn't eat until three that afternoon. Not my best planned meal. But I'll never forget the look on my grandmother's face when she pulled out that sack of giblets. She started to giggle and soon we were all laughing.
So what do turkeys and writing have in common? Have you ever read a book that you wondered what was the author thinking? Was the writing bad or the storyline predictable? I had a friend call me up and tell me the publisher made a typo on page 15 and I should make them reprint the entire print run. That caused an extreme giggle. Like I had any control over making the publisher reprint the entire print run.
No author ever wants to admit she's had a bad "turkey" experience with a book, but somehow I think every author has a book that either she wished had never gotten published or she just didn't love. Sure we think they're our babies, but some babies are cranky, whiney and cry a lot. Some books just don't turn out quite like we want them to. Even the ones that get published.
So what happens when our stories don't come out quite like we wanted them to? As an author have you ever had a book that you wished you could take back and do over? When you're on deadline, you often don't have time to flesh out the characters more, to give the plot an extra twist or to go back through and read the story one more time. And in today's publishing world, you can't depend on your editor to point out the glaring things that need fixed.
The book comes out and the reviews are suddenly less than stellar. So what then? We all dream that when that book hits the shelves everyone will love us. They'll see past the flaws and love our babies, but oftentimes that's not the case.
Do you ever wonder if the big writing names have these same issues? Do you think Susan Elizabeth Phillips worries that the book will be a turkey or that Nora will have a book disaster?
My second book sold/printed -- which was really my first -- was a "turkey." God love the editor who bought it, but it should have remained under the bed. Even today, I will never indie publish this book. It's a turkey, a dud, a writing disaster. But how many of us are willing to admit to having at least one turkey book somewhere in the closet.
So now it's confession time. Do you have a turkey lurking somewhere on your computer? Have you read a turkey book that made you cringe?