Great expectations

Published 8:35 am Wednesday, October 11, 2023

I read two books a few weeks ago. One was amazing, the other was. . . well, it was terrible. 

And I had really high expectations, you know. I have seen the cover of this book all over social media, Barnes and Noble, and even on the subway when I was in New York last year. 

I won’t name the author, but I’ll admit that I’m only a fan of her thrillers, not her romances. . .

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Dear diary: I think there’s a time for expectations and a time for no expectations. There’s also a time for great expectations, while we’re on a literature-based subject.

I’ve got a handful of friends in the writing and publishing industry, and they’ve all graciously listened to me explain what I’ve been dealing with these past few months.

They’ve all come to the same conclusion: Just be yourself.

I’ll start with a conversation I had with an old friend of mine, a retired Wofford professor, who edited my very first piece of writing. Over coffee, I’d explained my predicament.

“I’m an author of young adult literature. That’s how I’ve branded myself. I mean, look at my Instagram account. It’s all pink and flowery,” I’d said. “How can I present myself as a thriller author?”

I asked him that because next year, I’m releasing my newest novel, which will sit shelves away from my prior teenage book. 

“I think you’ve done a great job branding yourself as an author,” he said. “Not as a young adult author, but just a writer. So keep doing that. Be yourself, and people will fall in love with you and what you write.”

I am admittedly a pink-and-green-wearing iced coffee drinker, who likes things like sunsets and walking in the grass with no shoes on. 

I explained this to my dear friend who is also an author. She’d said something like, “You don’t have to start wearing black or change your whole personality just because you wrote a thriller.”

Moreover, a thriller about a serial killer. (More on this next year).

“But if you just keep being yourself, no one is going to not buy your book because you look like a young adult writer,” she ended up saying.

Was I trying to meet some expectation that people have for authors of different genres? Let me be frank. The book that I read and hated last week––that author writes both romance and thrillers. Her brand, author picture and fans have stayed the same over the years. Who’s to say mine won’t?

My mom was next––she told me I was overthinking it and if I’m just myself, it will all be okay.

Seemed like a theme was hearing a lot, which I accepted only recently, but did accept with a lot of grace and peace, knowing the timing is always right.  

There is no expectation to being who you’re called to be. 

There is, however, a great expectation to be yourself. And I’m more than okay with meeting that.