We’ve spoken many times about the Western book business and all it entails—but today I want to focus on something that is not solely the work of the author. No. This is something that all who want to work (or already do) in the Western genre will need. A tool of the trade. Something you won’t be able to achieve without utilizing. This magical tool is called patience.
What is patience?
Well, according to the eggheads over there at the dictionary, patience is described as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.”
Patience is one of the great keys to selling Westerns. Even though everyone is rushing around trying to finish a project, trying to get a cover made, or finish a book that needs to be at with the editor by a deadline, there’s always something to wait for. The next mailer? The next cover? The next set of edits? There’s always something lurking in the days, weeks and months ahead. It takes a lot of patience to write, produce and sell books. Patience that some authors have in spades. Patience that others have not yet learned.
When I am asked about the process of selling books, there’s a series of steps that all authors must follow. This series of steps, the three C’s, has to be preceded by the patience of a buddha immersed in his meditation. You can’t spend your life filled with anxiety like a crazed Don Knotts. You must live your life around the projects and make them work as they are ready to be worked. Frustrations happen to us all. But I think there’s always something waiting to explode in our industry because of this lack of patience.
Yes, yes, it’s true that we work in a stressful industry, but the most successful authors seem to never let the slightest thing bother them. No disaster, big or small, touches them. That’s one of the reasons they stand up there at the top of the tree—because they don’t panic, sweat or suffer from anxiety. They’ve followed the rules set down by the eggheads who wrote the dictionary. They have “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.”
Try letting the frustration go, try playing the long game, and you’ll find that the projects go much more smoothly. You’ll also start to see why patience is the only basis from which to build a successful catalogue of Western bestsellers. Say no to Knotts and hello to Buddha!