May 23, 2010

Made It Moment: Lois Winston

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 6:29 pm

Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception

I am very glad to feature Lois’ Moment  because not only does she elaborate on an oft-appearing theme–the fact that your definition of making it changes as you in fact do make it–but she also has both feet–and one more besides–in some very interesting worlds in addition to writing.

Lois Winston

When Jenny asked me to write a blog on “How I Knew I Made It,” my first thought was, “Define it.” Did I make it after I sold my first book? Lots of authors sell one book and never sell another, winding up as one of those {shudder} One-Book-Wonders. No, I definitely didn’t feel like I made it after selling my first book. However, for some authors selling one book would be enough for them to feel they’d made it. For others,it comes after the second book. Still others, not until they’ve signed that first multi-book contract. Or their first 6-figure advance. Or hitting a national list for the first time.Or being able to kiss that dreadful day job good-bye.

Making it means different things to different writers. For me, making it happened the day my agent told me she thought I was funnier than Author X. And no, I’m not going to tell you who Author X is. This was one person’s opinion and one person only. Author X happens to be one of my favorite authors. She’s definitely made it; she has the fame, fortune, and awards to prove it. I, on the other hand, will most likely never reach the pinnacles of success she has reached. Few authors do. However, being compared to her and coming out on top made my day that day and saw me through a long dry spell when no other editor seemed to feel the same way about my writing.

So to me, making it was the day that I realized a compliment from the right person could mean as much as a contract. It kept me writing, and eventually that multi-book contract arrived. Maybe someday I’ll see that 6-figure advance and my name on the NY Times list. Meanwhile, I never forget that at least one person, and now maybe more, believes I’m funnier than Author X.

Lois Winston straddles three worlds and is a long way from giving up her day jobs. She’s both an associate with the Ashley Grayson Literary Agency and an award-winning author of romantic suspense and humorous women’s fiction. Lois is also an award-winning designer of needlework and crafts projects. In January 2011 Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in her Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Series will debut. Visit Lois at and Anastasia at Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers (


  1. Ashley Grayson is a WONDERFUL agency! They’ve rejected me many times. lol! Seriously, though, what a wonderful blog. It’s so true–I think sometimes “made it moments” aren’t even recognized for what they are, in the middle of all our nervousness and fear. It takes that real human connection to make us realize “I just really achieved something!” It hits us more than a long-distance contract. It’s that actual motion between us and our reader. Very cool! Thanks for sharing this, Lois!

    Comment by Savvy — May 24, 2010 @ 8:37 am

  2. Great blog Lois! One compliment coming from someone you value can be just the right shot in the arm:)

    Keep going, you may surprise yourself and find you really ARE funnier than author X!:)


    Comment by Loretta Wheeler — May 24, 2010 @ 10:48 am

  3. Lois, so glad you received that compliment. Imagine if you’d quit before that. You would have missed out on so much. You remind me of an Olympic gymnast. You are one amazing straddler. Great post.

    Comment by Donnell — May 24, 2010 @ 12:16 pm

  4. Sorry about the rejections, Savvy. Keep trying. Sometimes it takes a lot longer that we expect to see our dreams come true.

    Loretta, I have one of those senses of humor that’s definitely an acquired taste. Hopefully, lots of people will acquire that taste come Jan. when my new mystery series begins. (Fingers crossed!)

    Donnell, you obviously never saw me in gym class. I was the kid who came up with every excuse in the book to get out of that most humiliating of experiences! I went so far as to invent illnesses that never existed. I guess that was the start of my writing career–forging excuse notes!

    Comment by Lois Winston — May 24, 2010 @ 1:42 pm

  5. Hi, Lois, GREAT POST! Another thing that strikes me about the “made it” moment is that before that moment occurs, we don’t know it’s coming! And they come suddenly, don’t they? Perhaps it sounds a bit trite to point that out, but for me, thinking about this has had some profound implications. For example, just before I first received my very first offer for a contract (for a short story I’d written), I’d been wondering about the submission and (gloomy as I can sometimes be) I was assuming a rejection. Then, the offer came! I signed the contract and mailed it. What struck me was that in the space of a second, I went from unpubbed to pubbed. How quickly our lives can change. I wish you many more “made it” moments. May they be increasingly significant, big building blocks to your career.

    Comment by Rita St. Claire — May 24, 2010 @ 4:34 pm

  6. Congratulations again on your new series, Lois! I’m looking forward to reading it. :)

    This was a great post and really made me think about what is my definition of making it as an author. It’s definitely changed from when I started out. When I began writing, my goal was to be published. But now that I’ve been writing for a few years, my goal is to make writing fiction novels my second career, which is an entirely different thing, for sure.

    I love your ‘made it’ moment, and I can totally relate to it. Recently, one of my CPs told me that my writing reminds her of one of my favorite authors, even though our voices are different. I was both flattered and thrilled, and it gave me a much-needed boost of confidence at a time when I was questioning my whole story.

    Comment by Annette Gallant — May 25, 2010 @ 7:36 am

  7. Interesting post, Lois! Thanks for sharing. Bet I know who Author X is. I love her work, too: ) And now yours is better. Gotta go get yours!

    Comment by June Shaw — May 25, 2010 @ 10:46 am

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