Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sitting on eggs - hatching creativity

"Sits on eggs" was the crossword puzzle clue.

The space was too long for hens, too short for chickens. My brain chugged to a start, trying to figure out what would fit. Crosswords are often humbling for my poor brain. The foreign words are challenges; the literary references are above my pedestrian taste.

But I'm an author, I say to myself. Surely, I can come up with a word that means sits on eggs.

But what?

I tapped my pen on the newspaper, hoping for inspiration, lightning, or both.

A moment later, it came to me: broods.

I hadn't thought about brooding as sitting on eggs since I was a kid. As an author, I tend to brood more about the amount of promotion I can't get to, about the reviews I need to garner, about the manuscript I hope to get contracted, and more.

That got me to thinking. If brooding is sitting on eggs, that's definitely waiting, but it's a creative/fertile waiting because something new and good is going to hatch from it.

Like keeping the home fires burning, brooding for writers is more productive when you focus your energies on "eggs" within your reach.

Can you control how many people review your book? No.

Can you control what the reviews say or how many stars there are? No.

Can you control if an editor will contract your book? No.

Can you control how well edited your submission is? Yes.

Can you control your weekly word count? Yes.

I discovered that I tend to brood about tasks/chores I'm not fond of. "Ugh, I've got to weed my flower beds," I'll think - for days - before I finally stir myself to doing it. Another source of my brooding, "What will I cook for dinner?" When we're on diets, I go to the diet book and fix what it says. And because we're being strict about the diet, all of the ingredients will be on hand. Normally I grocery shop by the seat of my pants; that's how I cook too, and in a hurry. It's never great, but it's decent and digestible.

No point in brooding about either of these jobs. They have to be done. And pretty routinely or there are negative consequences.

Dang! What else have I been wasting energy on? I can do better! I need to nurture those eggs!

What about you? Is there something you brood about that isn't productive? Can you rephrase your thoughts about it and move forward?

Maggie Toussaint

In For A Penny, now on Kindle:
Murder in the Buff, Ariana finalist
Death, Island Style - at your library!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Olympic Silver ... or Bronze .. in publishing

With the theme song from the Olympics drumming in my ear the past week, I've been focused on the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Everyone is thrilled by their Gold medals.

But the other medals, Silver and Bronze, are initially disappointing to many world-class athletes. Sure, everybody shoots for the Gold, but there's only one Gold medalist in each event.

I'm keenly interested in the also-rans, the top stars who either didn't medal or who won Silver and Bronze. You know why? Because in everyday life more of us are the non-Gold medalists. And that's especially true in the world of publishing.

Best in the world in publishing is easy to tell in terms of critical success. Those authors crown the bestseller lists time and again. They engage millions of people at a visceral level.

Publishing stratifies into mid-list next. I think this may be the Silver and Bronze category, depending on the size of your book deal and your sell-through.

After this comes small press and indie pubbed authors. With each step down the bestseller ladder, the number of authors vying for readers increases exponentially. And for many authors, they are content where they are. Sure, everyone wants more sales, but the more sales you have, the higher the demand is for the next book on a quicker timetable.

Lesson learned?

Critical success comes at a price.

Those Olympic athletes have paid it. Every one of them. We authors have paid it, too. We've put in the time, trained and honed our skills, and risked rejection by putting our books out in the field of critics.

Sure, I'd love to receive the publishing equivalent of a Gold medal, but I won't be sad or crying if I happen to win Silver or Bronze.

What's your take on this?

Maggie Toussaint

In For A Penny out now in ebook
more info at

Friday, August 3, 2012

Hey Reader!

The day has finally arrived! My cozy mystery, In For A Penny, is a real steal on Kindle for the next three days. That's right. This wonderful book reviewed by Kirkus, PW and Romantic Times costs absolutely nothing.

There's only one catch - the clock is ticking. Aug 3, 4, and 5, that's Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for you folks like me who are date-challenged, is the extent of the free period. I hope you'll click on over to Amazon and take advantage of this deal.

And, if you're of a like mind, feel free to share the news with anyone who enjoys mysteries! The more, the merrier!

Thanks and happy reading,

Maggie Toussaint
excerpts and reviews of all my titles at