Seventeen years ago, I was at a family wedding reception. My cousin Frank shoved a hardcover in my hands and said, "You have got to read this! You'll love it!"
Now, Frank and I were born literally sixty days apart. He's one of the very few people I trust when it comes to literature. Hell, he was the one who introduced me to the Uncanny X-Men when we were ten. If Frank says to read something, I read it.
The book Frank shoved into my hands at his brother's wedding reception? George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones.
While the orginal novel received excellent critical reviews, much love from the fantasy fanboys/girls and a Hugo award for Blood of the Dragon (Dany's chapters excised to form a novella), the rest of the world passed by this excellent book with nary a gasp.
With the success of Peter Jackson's movie adaptation of Lord of the Rings, rumors flew about a film version of A Game of Thrones. However, HBO required the rights in 2007 and decided to turn A Game of Thrones and its sequels into a series. The long-awaited series finally debuted in April 2011. Now, you can't avoid Game of Thrones merchandise everywhere you look.
What does the history of A Game of Thrones have to do with writers?
So many of us expect instant fame and fortune. However, Martin is a perfect example of an overnight success--one that was nearly twenty years in the making.
Don't go into this business wanting silver and gold dropped in your lap. Do it for the love of story.
George R.R. Martin has been a professional writer for forty-three years. A Game of Thrones wasn't a story that George slammed out because someone shoved a shitload of cash in his face. This was the project of his heart, the one he walked away from a successful Hollywood career to write.
One of my favorite sayings is from Marsha Sinetar. It's the title of one of her books. Do what you love and the money will follow.
Write the best book you can and make it available to readers. Don't fret because you're not an instant success. Just keep writing.
And remember! You're nobody's bitch.
This same process worked for George. It can work for you, too.
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