If You Build It, Will He Come? One Can Hope.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

"If you build it, he will come." That famous line from the movie Field of Dreams is one that just about everyone knows, baseball fan or not. Kevin Costner fan or not. It holds a magical promise--do the thing, and the universe promises you will see results.

Oh, if life was only like the movies. (Well, not like Alien or Nightmare on Elm Street, but like Field of Dreams or Grease or even Pirates of the Carribean, but I digress.)

Writers are constantly building "it". Some people's IT is a novel; others write a short story collection. Some write poetry or picture books. Others craft self-help or memoir. We build manuscripts and books and pieces of art all the time. 

But this does not guarantee HE or rather, THEY, will come. 

Where are the readers? Where are the reviewers? Where are the adoring fans?

In the case of being a writer, you have to add this to the Field of Dreams quote: 

"If you build it, and work really hard on marketing and building your brand and creating a newsletter list and writing more books and learning advertising, he will come--maybe."

You think I'm joking. 

A lot of times in my posts, I like to give tips or tricks to make a writer's life easier. But sometimes, I want to lament. I want to share my feelings, my frustrations, my joys, my sorrows, my failures, and my successes. I could easily turn this into a post about marketing:

Here are the three main things you need to do to find your readers. 

But I don't want to!! We are in the middle of a pandemic. (That's now my excuse for a lot of things, such as eating an entire pecan pie before it's even Thanksgiving here in the U.S.) I have a huge case of sinusitis that I have been messing around with for months because I didn't take time to go to the doctor, and now I'm on some strong antiobiotic for 14 days with a headache and face pressure every single day. Ugh. So I can't reach deep down inside of me and give you marketing tips.

What I can do though is sympathize. 

Damn, it's hard to find new readers, isn't it? It's hard to get people to review your books. Then when you find someone, they don't spend $50 on Amazon, or you have sent them a gift from Amazon, and so Amazon deletes their review from your page. 

Querying and facing countless rejections or months of NO ANSWERS AT ALL is extremely heartbreaking after pouring out your heart and soul onto the page for months (sometimes years). 

Watching someone shoot their way to success while you struggle and celebrate one book sale this week is difficult. Of course, you don't want to be jealous, but it's understandable that the green-eyed monster comes out.

Why do we continue to build it when it is so hard to get him to come?

Because it's who we are. Because when we do see our ranking move up on Amazon, it's thrilling. Because when we get a 5-star review from someone who is not a relative, we feel an energetic buzzing that makes us feel alive. Because writing and publishing and submitting give us hope for a brighter future, and sometimes, hope is really all we need. This reminds me of another movie that might be better for writers than the one I started with. 

“Beginnings are scary; endings are usually sad, but it is the middle that counts the most. You need to remember that when you find yourself at the beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up.” ~Sandra Bullock, Hope Floats

Here's to hope! 

Margo L. Dill is an author, publisher, editor, and writing instructor and coach, living in St. Louis, MO. She currently is the managing editor of WOW!, and she teaches two classes: Writing a Novel With a Writing Coach and Writing for Middle-Grade and Young Adult Readers. She also owns Editor-911 Books, a small, but growing, independent publishing company. Find out more here.  


Sioux Roslawski said...


I have hope. Today (a preview of tomorrow) I hope to eat a large piece of pumpkin pie... or most of the pie... or all of the pie. After all, due to the coronavirus, it will only be the two of us: my husband and me, as we Zoom with family. (I'll eat my pie either before the Zoom, after the Zoom or off camera. No need for anyone to witness the total annihilation of a pie.)

On second thought, perhaps we need two pies...

I am going to have to tutor myself on the technological side of marketing. Emailing people, talking to people in person, setting up book events--that I can do. It's other digital stuff that's foreign to me.


Have a great Thanksgiving, Margo. I am thankful for YOU.

Margo Dill said...

Ah thanks, Sioux. Yes, since I am a caregiver for my parents, we will see each other but that's it. Katie will be with her dad. But we still bought TWO pies! :)

Thank you for the kind words. It means a lot!

Jeanine DeHoney said...

I agree Margo, sometimes hope is really what we need. I also love the quote by Sandra Bullock from Hope Floats. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Margo, I love how you're always keeping it real.

The thing is, we were all raised on the idea that if you put in the work, you'll get the rewards. And that's true in a lot of careers but not always so in the writing profession; LOTS of really fine writers struggle to get published or get their books read once they are published. But you are so much more than a writer, Margo, so I HOPE you'll consider all the wonderfulness that is you. :-)

Enjoy your Thanksgiving and your Pandemic Pie Pass! And when I finish MY pie, I'll be catching up on a couple of Amazon reviews. ;-)

Margo Dill said...

Jeanine: Thank you! You too! Happy Thanksgiving.

Cathy: You enjoy your Thanksgiving, too. I love that Pandemic Pie Pass--we will all be asking for them next year (Oh, I hope--I hope the pandemic is over!) Good points about writers and hard work!

Renee Roberson said...

Ah, Margo I feel you. Not to go off on another rant, but I was just discussing with my daughter that I work just as hard as her dad, but make less than 50 percent of what he does for a salary. It's easy to get discouraged. I also got a random one-star review (with no comment, of course) on my podcast yesterday, right as I was getting ready to record a new episode, and it truly took the wind out of my sails for a few hours. Thank you for the reminder of how important it is that we all continue to support one another as we create work that is meaningful to us! (And now I want pie.)

Margo Dill said...

Oh Renee, I am sorry to hear about the one-star review. I love your podcast, so don't let that one person bring you down. You can do it! And you should be proud of how you are doing it. And pie solves a lot of problems. :)

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