7 Things I’ve Learned after 70 Books

Today is the launch for One Mountain Away. Cue the trumpets and race to the bookstores.

One Mountain is the first of my new series, Goddesses Anonymous, and one of the more difficult novels I’ve written.  You would think, wouldn’t you, that after seventy books, I should be able to dash off a novel between pedicures and trips to the art museum?  Truth is, I don’t have time for either, because I’m still too busy trying to figure out how I should really do what I’m already doing.

Yes, indeed.  Writing really hasn’t gotten much easier over the years, sad to say.  I have learned some things, though, and today I’m sharing.  While these 7 points qualify as career advice for novelists, it’s possible they pertain to other careers, too.  What do you think?

  1. Forget that old chestnut, “write what you know.”  If you only write what you know, you’ll quickly run out of things to say, and you’ll think you’re all washed up.  Instead write about the things that interest you.  Research is a joy, and the Internet’s made it so much easier.  Digging for details is as much fun as digging for buried treasure, and you’ll be more likely to strike gold.
  2. While you may change genres, essentially every book you write is “your” book, filled with your own insights and feelings, whether the characters inhabit caves or space ships.  Do you know what messages you’re sending?  It’s a way to chart your own personal growth, if you’re willing.
  3. Find writer friends, because at times they will be the only people on earth who understand why you spent an entire day staring out the window–except for the stretches when you played Spider Solitaire and whimpered.
  4. Do not expect film deals, bestseller lists, starred reviews, publishers who fawn over you, or recognition at the grocery store.  That way, in the unlikely instance that any of those things happen, you will be genuinely surprised, and you won’t have to fake modesty.
  5. Be willing to make changes in what you write, who you write it for, and the people who sell or market your work.  Remember #2 above.  Every book is yours.  Nobody else’s name is on the cover.
  6. Listen, contemplate and forgive mistakes that others who work on your books may make.  But also pay attention and make sure the same things don’t happen again.  See #5 if they do.
  7. Readers are special and precious.  Find ways to let them know.

In keeping with #7, let me stress it’s a privilege to get emails from you, to banter with you at my Facebook page, to answer comments left here on the blog, and to know that my books have meaning in your lives, even if, sometimes, that’s just a smile.  A smile is a wonderful thing, and I’m grateful for every one.

I think you’ll find smiles and tears between the covers of One Mountain Away.  You’ll find the book in the following places, if you can’t find it at your local independent bookstore.





  1. Kathryn on July 31, 2012 at 3:51 am

    I am looking forward to reading One Mountain Away. Just finished Whiskey Island and Parting Glass. Not sure why they sat so long on my shelf. Congratulations on this one being published, and may there be many more to come.
    New Zealand

  2. Barbie In NC on July 31, 2012 at 6:51 am

    Can’t wait to read it, missing my “buddies” from Happiness Key now that I’ve finished the trilogy…

  3. debbie Haupt on August 1, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Ah Emilie, One Mountain Away was as poignant a read as ever, nothing less than I expect from you though. It was not easy to read in some spots either but you made the pain bearable by making the story so incredible.
    You mentioned it was hard writing it let me assure you as one of your biggest fans that you have definitely got what it takes to engage me for an entire read at the expense of my family, house and sometimes can be found reading at my job.
    One of the things that make authors stand out for me is showing readers their human side, we tend to put you all on pedestals and it’s nice to see a few of you step down to our level and let us know how important we are to you. You’d be surprised how many don’t 🙂
    So Congratulations on your 70th Book and here’s to the next 70,80 oh heck 100 more.

    • Emilie Richards on August 1, 2012 at 10:56 am

      And might I say a good reviewer is worth her weight in gold, too? I’m grateful for readers and reviewers. And what a lovely comment. Thank you so much.

  4. Tina on August 1, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    I am so excited! I just downloaded the book to my kindle and will start reading tonight! Although, I’m a little afraid to start it tonight cause I may not get any sleep!

    • Emilie Richards on August 1, 2012 at 7:17 pm

      But that will be preferable to “putting” you to sleep, right? Enjoy whenever you read it.

  5. Beth on August 2, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Just got my copy of the book delivered from Amazon. Had trouble deciding between getting it as an ebook vs. “real” book. I’m in the middle of two other books right now but it doesn’t matter – I’m going to start this on Saturday when I start a week long pet sitting job if I can wait that long. On a separate subject I was so surprised to hear about the trees that came down on your former home. Your timing for moving was great!

    • Emilie Richards on August 2, 2012 at 10:24 pm

      Our next door neighbor sent photos. Not sure how much damage they did, but I was glad not to worry. Didn’t look like fun. We’re you all right? Hope dog sitting goes well.

  6. Evelyn Ferguson on August 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Loved One Mountain Away! Once started, didn’t put it down the first night until my eyes crossed. Finished it the next morning. Eagerly awaiting next!

    • Emilie Richards on August 2, 2012 at 10:26 pm

      I am so glad you liked it, and you still got a little sleep, too. Thanks for telling me.

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