• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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The Best Things in Life are Free


Two words: Colleen Hoover. You’ve probably noticed that she has six books on the bestseller list. I’ve been meaning to take a look into the phenomenon because I’m nothing if not an old man with drool on my chin at OTB trying to game the races. Today, the NYT put her on the front page and ran a long article about how she was making $9 an hour as a social worker and living in a trailer when a fairy godmother called Amazon dropped in and she self-published her first book, SLAMMED, a YA about a misfit poetry girl who does slam. According to the article, her books (now 20 of them) have sold over 20M copies. My favorite part of the story is that she put her work out there and according to the article, first six, then sixty people bought it. Does the word mushroom mean anything to you? She now has more that 2.4 billion views (plus one more because I just checked out her TikTok). She didn’t have an agent or a publisher (those came later). She had readers who loved her book. Unlike most novelists who stick to a genre, she’s all over it with thriller, domestic drama, romance, etc. What I love about her is her fatalism, (“Still in my head I’m like this is going to end tomorrow,”) which is why she is always welcome here at the Lerner Sanatorium for Writers and Convalescents.

6 Responses

  1. Totally inspirational in so many ways!

  2. People love what resonates inside of them. Coleen feels the pulse. Hooray for DIY! Working ones intuition. Working’

  3. I don’t think she needs us or anyone. She’s doing fine on her own. Her first bestseller was a free Amazon word doc E book so her grandmother could read the book on her Kindle. No agent, no editor, no MFA, nothing but a good story and some luck.

    Makes me wonder if traditional publishing is over?

  4. Me, too. That said, to grow a business/readership takes a ton of work. Also, more than a good story. I haven’t read her yet, but she is striking a deep nerve.

  5. She has worked her arse off for that success, and never stopped striving to be better, to grow each part of her business.
    The truth is, almost no writers do this. We don’t work, we pretend to, and the biggest story most of us tell is when we tell ourselves we are writers — which is mostly a lie, although yes, it does have a beginning, a middle, and at some point, a sad ending. Talk about an unreliable narrator…
    We sit around wringing our hands and telling ourselves it’s hard work, while fiddling about with a single sentence for hours. That ain’t work, it’s neurosis at best, and at worst, just another way of avoiding getting it finished, because when it’s finished, the reading public will judge us.
    And if we let the reading public judge us, we may have to (a) call them all idiots, or (b) admit to ourselves we’re not the great writerly writers we all thunk we was.
    She’s right to worry about it all coming to an end tomorrow though. It will. Either tomorrow, or tomorrow’s tomorrow, or one of those soon anyway. Before long, it will all be over. So maybe it’s time to stop fiddling about with The Sentence of Avoidance, and just finish the fucker, imperfect (as it could only ever be anyway), and grow a thick skin, move on, write the following book a bit better, and keep doing that.
    Bah Humfuckerbug! I’m gonna go write a damn book, and try all that myself — although, now I think about it, I’m not that happy with the sentence “Bah Humfuckerbug!” so maybe I’ll change it a few hundred times, see which way it looks best, if it changes the feel I get in my loins when I read it, because maybe it’ll make all the diff…

  6. Wow! I’m totally in awe of her persistence! Whatever you’re doing Colleen, keep it up! (Now I have to go check her out on Amazon!)

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