I made my special secret recipe chocolate chip cookies. The kind that are gooey in the middle even when fully cooked and the chips melt in your mouth. My family loves them. My kid’s school loves them. I made this batch for a fundraiser bake sale. Did my cookies become the hit of the sale? Did we sell out in the first minutes? Sadly no, I took 90% of them home much to the happiness of my family. Who devoured them. I felt like a failure.
What happened? People wanted brownies. Three sets of brownies sold out in minutes!! I contemplated this on the drive home, that night and the next few days. Yes, I hold on to things…for a long time. I finally realized that books are like chocolate chip cookies.
Here’s what I mean. Go to the bookstore, Amazon, a brick-n-mortar, follow any book news list or newspaper book section or any book club. Look at the books that are selling/people are buying. Is one better than another? What makes one book sell better than the other? Is one author better than another? Is this story more enjoyable and that one less? What is it that differentiates one from the other?
Or is it just that some people prefer plain ole everyday brownies over gooey delicious chocolate chip cookies. (Okay, I’m pushing it to make a point, the brownies were good just not as good as my cookies — get it?).
Isn’t that what happens with books too? Some readers prefer that book over this one, and others hate both. Personal preference and maybe what’s around, like having those brownies next to my cookies, you know, the gooey delicious secret recipe chocolate chip ones. (Next year I’m making brownies, just saying.)
But, I can’t write brownies, I write chocolate chip cookies. So maybe I won’t sell a lot of books, just like I had to take those cookies back home because they weren’t the hit of the bake sale. I was happy making the chocolate chip cookies, you know, the secret recipe gooey delicious ones, and I’m happy writing what I write.