You’re only as good as the last thing you did.

writingI remember the first time a publisher told me they wanted to buy one of my plays. So clearly etched into my brain is that moment, it could have been yesterday, instead of back in 2004.

The play was, “If We Had Only Known”, a one act Christmas play that Eldridge Publishing liked enough to give me a contract. It came after years of letters and emails from various publishers and agents, all of which said, “thanks but no thanks.”

I sat and read that acceptance. I blinked and shook my head to clear it, and read it again. Then I burst into tears before phoning everyone I could think of who might be even vaguely interested.

Since then, I’ve had other work published (and a few rejections, too.) The rejections still rankle, and the acceptances still fill me with warm excitement. I need to do a happy dance so the joy inside me can leap out and yell to the world, “Hooray! Someone likes my work enough to invest time, energy and money in it. They think it’s good enough to publish, and that other people will like it enough to part with hard earneINCOGNITOd cash for it.”

There is no greater accolade.

On February 23rd, I’ll get to feel that “release-date-buzz” once more, when “Incognito” is released. The second of the novels in the Hadlow series of Regency romances, “Incognito” can be read independently of the other titles, but also ties in with the whole series. It will be available from Amazon, Kobo, Nook, and all the other e-book outlets.

I got a huge boost from its acceptance, as I did for Book Number one, The Bankrupt Viscount before it, and book number three, “A Good Man”, which comes out in a few months. I’ve now started writing Book number four, tentatively titled, “Friend or Foe”.

But I never forget that, if I don’t give my absolute best, the next book might not be accepted. Worse than that would be if it WAS accepted and readers threw it down in disappointment and disgust, feeling I’d let them down.

You’re only as good as the last thing you did. If that last one was badly done, it doesn’t matter how good the former ones were. The trust of your readers will be gone and you may never get it back. I never forget that. It informs my efforts every day.

Perhaps that is why each acceptance still feels like the first? I pray I never lose that.


About Caitlyn Callery

I have been a writer all my life. As well as Regency Romances, which I write as Caitlyn Callery, I also write stage plays, sketches and screenplays under the name Hilary Mackelden. I also have a weekly column in the Kent and Sussex Courier, and do publicity and PR for the charity, World In Need. I live in Sussex and love, (in alphabetical order) Ashdown Forest, my family, Jesus, reading and the sea.
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