Hardening is a way of making steel harder. By first heating the steel and then quickly cooling (quenching) it, the steel will become much harder, but also more brittle. Tempering should be carried out within a reasonable time after hardening, preferably within an hour or so. So what is tempering and how does it apply to a writing career?
Tempering is accomplished by controlled heating of the quenched work-piece to a temperature below its "lower critical temperature".
Here's the low down on the tempering of your writing career:
In the beginning, you're on fire! You're going to take on the world, one beautifully worded phrase at a time. The resulting masterpiece will garner you critical acclaim, maybe even a movie deal, and the accolades of peers and fans alike! This is your heating period.
Then you publish. You're confident. You're even somewhat smug, looking at the other offerings in your genre.
You get a few sales, but nothing even comparable to minimum wage at the local Walmart. You write more, perhaps your prose wasn't geared to the masses but to a more literary-minded group. Book two comes out, you're not as confident, definitely not smug, and...it's not much better than the first in terms of sales.
You become discouraged, distraught, and think of throwing book three in the trash, tucking your tail between your legs, and begging your old boss for your old job back.
DON'T DO IT!
Now it's time to "temper" your craft and your expectations. Investigate those social media sites, find out which one's are a good fit for you; check out websites that help advertise your book for FREE or a small fee; hire a promotions company to set up blog tours, blitzes, or reviews of your work; go to the local libraries, bookstores, and anywhere else you can think of to get in touch with people. It's time to SELL your book! YOU ARE THE PERSON MOST INVESTED IN YOUR NOVEL!
Will you make the NY Times Bestseller list? Who knows! But you will have success. Whether or not it's enough success to feed yourself or even your ego, is up to you. But don't give up! You only fail if you don't try.
Now, what does this have to do with my Tempered Steel Series? Like new steel, the men and women are tough, but heated with passion, then cooled in mistrust; eventually, they are tempered with love. Now, how's that for a segue into my romance series!