All of us at Writers in the Storm are so excited to bring you such fun guest blogs this month. A few weeks ago, we hosted Tara Taylor Quinn on her blog tour and today Pamela Tracy is stopping by from Scottsdale, AZ.
Pamela is an English professor at Paradise Valley Community College. Besides writing, teaching and taking care of her family, she often speaks at various writers' organizations in the Phoenix area. She belongs to the Romance Writers of America, The Society of Southwestern Writers, The Arizona Authors' Association and the American Christian Writers' Association. Click here for Pamela's full bio.
Howdy, my name is Pamela Tracy, and I'm the guest blogger today, and no surprise: I'm an author (looking around, seeing lots of other authors).
Had I been male, I'd have wanted to be a serious baseball player. My goal would have been second base for the Atlanta Braves. I'd have played that position during the Bobby Cox heyday. I'd have rubbed elbows with Terry Pendleton, John Smoltz, and Jeff Treadway. Instead, since I'm female, I'm lucky, and I get to be a romance writer.
I actually should have been both since I love baseball and writing. There's lots of similarities.
Most baseball players play the game just for fun while they're kids; some are better than others. I read books for fun while I was a kid; I was a ferocious reader.
Most baseball hopefuls go to college and hope that they'll make the team and be soooo good a scout will pick them up. I went to college and majored in journalism. I wrote for college papers and hoped I'd write something so good that Reader's Digest would call me and say, "Hey, we need a features writer."
(Memo: I was veeerry young when I was dreaming about the Readers Digest.)
If the baseball players get noticed, they go to a farm league, which is like a waiting pen for the players. Here players learn big league techniques, secrets, and play, play, play. Me, I started writing for a publisher called Barbour.
Barbour is a wonderful place to learn the craft. My first book did not hit the shelves; it hit the mail. They had a mailing list of over 20,000. I did learn techniques, I learned that there are no secrets except being a published author is harder than one realizes, and I wrote, wrote, wrote.
A slot needs to open up on a major league team for a farm league player to be called up. A farm league player might find himself filling in for a sick player, or if a trade happened and the new player is not yet in place, that's when the 'hopeful' farm leaguer gets a chance at "the show." (They call it the show, when you finally hit the big league.)
I think I knew I was in the show when I finaled in the RITA. That book, from the beginning, felt right. I'd finally learned how to write; I was comfortable in my writing skin. It was game/book number sixteen. It took me that long.
Ways writing and baseball bear a striking resemblance to each other:
- In baseball, you have to keep in mind your batting average; in the land of author, you keep in mind the number of books sold.
- Baseball players have to catch/stop the balls that come their way; authors have to come up with good ideas, meet deadlines, and grab every opportunity.
- You need to build a fan base and sign baseballs/books: market, market, market.
The thing about the show is, there are one hit wonders. There are fires that burn so bright that they soon disappear. There's the midlist, ever reliable. And, then, there are the legends.
Right now, I'm on the team, playing in the show, but I'm always worried. Book number twenty-one, Once Upon a Cowboy hits the shelves in August. As a player, I think the coach (my editor) is still wondering if she made the right choice in putting me in the line-up. The fans, well, they're in the stadium and I hope they clap when my turn to bat arrives, the day my book goes on the shelf.
All I know is that as I tighten my hands around the bat, I am thrilled. I can feel the smooth keys of the typewriter under my fingers. I can smell the popcorn (paperbacks have a scent!). My feet are planted on the soil so many other champions trod.
And I thank God for this opportunity even as I break out in a sweat from nerves.
How do you feel about your books going to "the show?"