The Chesty Man Story
You know that person. The one that makes you repeat yourself. Several times. Then they get what you were trying to say. I’ll raise my hand and admit that’s me.
Here is where I’ll take you back in time. Not too far back. We’re going to the autumn of 2014. We’ve moved to Montana. I’ve been told that I will never get a job teaching (those liar, liar pants on fire people) and it is snowing. We’re talking about the perfect conditions to write a book.
That November, I signed up for Nanowrimo and a rough version of Let the Games Begin made its way into the world. I typed “the end,” laid my head on the pillow, and Jorgen’s voice came to me. He talked about how he messed up with Gina. So on November 29th, I started writing The Chance to Win Her Heart.
At this point in time, all the people our age are at work. So, my husband and I visit the senior center for lunch. Yes, our first friends when we moved here were the men and women who were lifelong friends with my husband’s parents. Through storytelling, they relived shenanigans from their younger days. My contribution to the conversation centered on Gina, Eric, Jorgen, Mayra, Victor, Amanda, and Rick. They laughed at Eric’s failed attempts to woo Gina. They applauded when he got it right.
What I didn’t tell them was I planned to make this a chesty man book. At the time, every best-selling book on Amazon had a chesty man on the cover. My book was going to be there beside them. I was near the end of the book when our pastor joined us for lunch. At this point, Eric and Gina were stranded at the senior center, and the older people were trying to help them figure things out. The pastor said, “When you publish it, I’ll read the book.”
I went home and backspaced through a couple of chapters, and some scenes just got deleted completely. The book launched and the people in our small slice of the world loved it.
The people in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo did not see it. My book with a heart on the cover was lost in the sea of chesty men. That didn’t stop me. I knew the best way to sell a book was write another. So I wrote and published, wrote and published and wrote and published some more. By book six, I was getting tired of that 4,333, 261 book rank. Really? At this point, my chesty men author friends were making more than six figures, and I was selling one book a week.
I declared to my husband I was making a change. I could go back and rewrite my books with sexy scenes under a new name….are you ready for this Jessica Farmer. (Because we live on a farm) With his mouth dropped in shock he exclaimed, “You’re serious.” To make my point, I plotted another book and stormed away to create this imaginary six-figure chesty man book.
Then I opened my email. One of my readers sent a quick note thanking me for writing a clean story. She appreciated reading a story without having to flip through pages. The winds of bravado left my sails, and I wrote Get Well Soon.
Around this time, those successful author friends helped me promote my book. Their solution to my dilemma was so easy, I am embarrassed I hadn’t seen it all along. They showed me that I was not a “romance” storyteller. I was an “inspirational romance” writer.
Last week, when Just a Friend–the novella based on The Chance to Win Her Heart got a number one ranking, my story came full circle.
This is where I bring us back to the beginning of this story. Some of us have to hear things several times before the information settles into the mind and takes roots in the heart. As this story proves, if we try to listen, even when circumstances try to tell us otherwise, things will work out…better than we could have ever imagined.
I close this post wishing you warmth and messages of truth to help you find your path.