“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”
~ Alexander Graham Bell
Yes, well, that’s the goal, isn’t it? To stay focused on the writing? To stay focused on being brave and honest with the writing? Such lofty goals from an author so late to the game! Well, not the writing game, but the publishing game. And, as we all know, getting published in the traditional method nowadays is essentially a crap shoot. Or a miracle. Or pure dumb luck. Which is why Husband and I opted to self-publish. Clearly, patience is not my strongest virtue. And I can’t publish Standing With Buffalo until The Farmer’s Story has paid for itself. Capitol One makes enough money off my interest rates as it is. (har-de-har-har)
So, you know, because I am late to the dance I’m a bit of a spaz about THIS BOOK BEING SUCCESSFUL RIGHT NOW!
Like most dreamers, I recognize nothing comes easy, and I have to be proactive and do the best I can to promote the book without spending thousands on a marketing campaign or PR firm. Like many authors, I recognize the book has to be worth promoting. It has to provocative and compelling and interesting, so that people who read it will recommend it and so on. It has to be a story that people care about on some level, even if they hate every character in the book. It has to be a book to which people can relate. That’s my job. To write books that people relate to and care about. And I have to write books people want to buy.
To that end, I enter it in writing contests. I submit it to newspaper/radio/magazine book reporters. I give away half my stock to bookstores in hopes one of the employees will read it and put a recommendation on the Staff’s Choice shelf.
Like most dreamers, I’m a bit of a jackass. I know, logically, I have to be patient and let things fall into place as they will. I have to stay proactive, but not let that sidetrack me from the writing. I have to keep my head down and my eyes on my computer screen. Most importantly, I have to learn not to curl up in the fetal position every time I get a rejection notice from a contest. I have to stop myself from falling into depression every time I walk past an independent Chicago bookstore that has a “Local Author Night” sign out front to which I was not invited. I have to stop thinking “if only….”
I know all these things, but still I eviscerate myself with every perceived marketing failure. Which is self-indulgent and annoying and distracting. It means I am, like most dreamers, a bit of a jackass. But at least I’m in good company, right?
I am trying to take Mr. Bell’s advice. The work at hand is making Standing With Buffalo an amazing second novel. It’s to be brave and honest with the writing. It’s to promote when I can, but not to let that be an overwhelming distraction or evisceration. The work at hand is to focus on the work at hand.