How I hit the NYT Bestseller list
Or: Everything I needed to know, I learned from George Costanza
I’ve always loved to read, so it was no surprise to anyone when I eventually decided to write a book of my own. When I did, I attacked it head on. I planned, I worked, I outlined more than any woman should. The end result? I wrote three mysteries that didn’t sell.
I don’t know how many of you watch Seinfeld, but there is a time in George’s life where he decides what he’s been doing hasn’t been working, so he decides to do the opposite. That’s what I did with my books. I’d been writing serious mysteries, with lots of science and research involved. They’d generated some interest, enough to almost, almost sell. But nothing quite happened.
To take my mind off the latest mystery making the rounds with agents, I decided to write something completely different, a funny paranormal romance where I could build my own world and make up my own rules. I fell in love with the idea of a preschool teacher who is forced to run off with a gang of geriatric biker witches and The Accidental Demon Slayer was born.
Instead of a 20-page plot outline, I had a 5-page list of ideas, one of which included “but little did they know, all the Shoney’s are run by werewolves.” Instead of following the rules, I broke a few. Instead of painstakingly writing over the course of a year, I giggled my way through the book and had a complete manuscript in five months.
The opening chapters did well in contests and caught the eye of an editor, who asked to see the whole thing. That same editor bought the book less than a week after I finished it.
And the response from readers has been truly overwhelming. I still can’t believe The Accidental Demon Slayer hit the New York Times bestseller list.
While I’m not sure Seinfeld is the best place to go for life lessons, I really do think there’s something to be said for following your instincts – in writing and in everything else.