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Awards are just the icing on the cake for Colleen

When chart-topping author Colleen Hoover finished her debut novel Slammed in 2011, she was convinced nobody would buy it.

The only reason she self-published the book the following year was so her mother could download it onto her recently purchased Kindle.

A decade on, Colleen has commanded six of the top ten spots on the New York Times bestseller charts for 2022.

The mother-of-two from Texas is talking from experience when she advises new writers to ignore trends and advice when churning out their chapters.

She explained: “I think that it is really hard to try and write, and write what’s popular—a lot of people focus on that when they are writing a book.

“They do a lot of research to see what will sell… I think that it is really important that you write from your heart, write what’s speaking to you, and ignore everything.

“When I wrote Slammed, I didn’t know what I was doing… I (then) researched and read that you shouldn’t write books with poetry, you shouldn’t write books with college-aged characters. This was right after I finished writing it.

“‘Oh great, nobody will read the book,’ I thought.

“If I had read that before I wrote that book, I wouldn’t have written the book, because I would have listened to what I read.

“So luckily, I just wrote it—wrote it for fun, and didn’t really care about the outside world and what was selling, and it worked out.”

After Slammed and the sequel Point of Retreat received glowing reviews in 2012, sales took off.

Atria Books republished both titles during the summer and Colleen tasted chart success for the first time.

It was at this point she could officially call herself a full-time writer as she gave up her job in social work to concentrate on her novels.

But she maintains that money was still never the driving force in the best-sellers that followed, such as Hopeless, Ugly Love, and It Ends with Us.

Colleen added: “I think that as long as you write something that you’re proud of, then you won’t care if it sells or not.

“Of course, every writer wants to make money, but that shouldn’t be your main focus.

“I feel like readers can tell the difference between the writers who write for the love of writing, and for the love of money.”

Since the self-published release of Slammed, Colleen has gone on to write more than 20 novels and novellas.

While the awards have mounted up along with the number one chart positions, she admits she still writes with little ambition.

Colleen added: “Many disagree with me, but I let go of all expectations when writing a book.

“If I expect to hit the New York Times or sell a certain number of copies, I will be setting myself up for possible failure.

“And then if those goals aren’t met, the joy of writing the book is overshadowed by a sense of failure.

“I’ve had many friends who started out this way, with high expectations for their books, and then became so jaded by the industry that they hate writing now.

“If you write a book and finish a book, that is a huge accomplishment.

“Let that be your only expectation—to write it and be proud of it.

“And then if something happens beyond that, it’s icing on the cake.”

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