August 7, 2017

The Charlotte Lucas of Publishing

Mr. Collins proposes to Charlotte Lucas.Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. London: George Allen, 1894, page 156.

I am the Charlotte Lucas of publishing. I'm 47 years old. I worry my writing is a burden to my family. I look around at different publishing houses and wonder if any of us are really free to choose our own attachments...

Dear Writer,

I feel your pain. It's been a good ten years since I decided to dedicate myself to writing fiction full time. Some days, I look around this assembly from the shadowed corners and wonder, What am I doing here?

It's amusing how society interprets the writing life. People want to believe that every published author has a golden ticket, not to mention that we work in morning dress and make thousands. No one seems to remember that Jane Austen didn't die rich. In fact, history is a cruel reminder that the greatest minds lost their minds. 

To be honest, I feel guilty for the lack of pride I feel for all I've accomplished. I'm traditionally  published, independently published, and have opportunities to freelance other projects on the side. But it's not a Duke's income.

Like Charlotte Lucas (and most  authors), I'm scared I'm never going to be able to secure myself. The level of success that brings in fair compensation for what we do is fleeting. It seems, just like with the Ton, it's where you are, who you are, and who you know when it comes to reaching millions of readers (unless you win the Pemberly lottery).

Writers must write because they love it. No royalty check will ever truly satisfy you like a five star review. You must accept you will be lucky to make more than .30 on the dollar.

Besides the time and low ages, there is more pain. It's true, despite the great people in the industry, there are times we will be treated unprofessionally. Sometimes we are led on. Other times, we're manipulated in ways we never dreamed. Some moves are so cool, so calculated, we feel like until that moment, we never really knew anything about the publishing industry at all!

In the excitement of writing, it's easy to forget the real world is filled with prejudice, plots, and manipulations. They aren't just fictional devices. Fortunately, those instances are few and far between.

Today, I am thrilled to be working with a new publisher for my next novel-length romance, A Pirate at Pembroke. I no longer have to decide whether to publish it myself (or settle with a creepy cousin). It's kind of like being engaged, but to someone much nicer than Mr. Collins. My current non-fiction project on choosing an aviation career is also wrapping up, and in my *free* time, I'm working out the first draft of my first Young Adult Fantasy. So you see, despite my status on the myriad of book lists at the moment, and a Taco Bell budget, life is good and waiting for the next release.

Poor, plain, simple Charlotte Lucas. Or maybe we have it all wrong. Perhaps sweet Charlotte was clever, logical, practical, and patient, and won more than her share in the end. After all, who wouldn't want to live next door to the great house of Rosings?

As for you, dear writer, I suggest you continue to have faith and believe in yourself; but be wary of any great expectations. Disappointments will come as they do, but we all know a writer does like to be crossed in happiness now and then. As the intuitive Mr. Bennett once observed, "It gives her a sort of distinction among her companions."

Stay balanced,
Danielle Thorne

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If you love romance and adventure bottled in a clean book, check out my popular Goonies-inspired adventure, By Heart and Compass, or my Indie releases, the piratey Proper Attire and romantic comedy, Turtle Soup

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