A Little Perk Can Go A Long Way

By Jennifer Colgan, AKA JAC

As writers, we learn all too quickly about the down side of our chosen profession. We’re warned at every turn to fortify ourselves against rejection, writer’s block, isolation and the often humbling reality of our earnings-to-effort ratio.

With so much stacked against us, you’d wonder why we keep at it. Aside from the greatest, and often only, reward of getting the story down on paper before it drives us bonkers, there are those moments that make the writing life infinitely worthwhile.

Signing a contract is of course, the big one, but winning or placing in a writing contest, hearing from a satisfied [and mentally stable] fan, or placing on a best sellers list can reaffirm our commitment to worship the muse.

I was fortunate enough to experience the last one recently and Diva Jenna asked me to write about how it made me feel to see one of my stories on a best sellers list.

In a word: Shocked.

Seeing my spicy sci-fi novella HUNTER’S MOON listed at #1 on the New Concepts Best Sellers List at Fictionwise [back on October 17, 2005] and now on the Fictionwise Best Selling E-books list for the past six months [currently at #14] is a surreal experience.

I’ve read the list over and over, focusing on the letters of my pen name, Bernadette Gardner, and wondering if there’s someone else by the same name who wrote a story called HUNTER’S MOON. It wouldn’t be that much of a stretch, considering C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp also have a book called HUNTER’S MOON, as does Lori Hadelund. Theirs were released around the same time mine was. O.R. Melling, Michael Friedman, Chuck Logan, Dana Stabenow, Bobbi Smith, and Karen Robards also have published books called HUNTER’S MOON. Surely Fictionwise must have meant one of those novels to go on that list along with Dan Brown’s THE DA VINCI CODE and Christopher Paolini’s ELDEST.

How the heck did something I wrote largely while sitting on a park bench watching my son at soccer practice, end up on a list that also includes Lisa Kleypas, Stephen King, Christine Carlisle and Michelle Pillow? Beats me.

I printed out the list and stuck it up on my bulletin board so I can admire it and tell myself, even if someone crunched the wrong numbers at Fictionwise, they still made my day and reminded me that the grueling job of writing does have its perks.