Boring Exhileration

So, my manuscript, Awfully Appetizing, has been accepted for publication through Winlock Press.  It’s amazing, and wonderful.  I’ve been working towards this moment for over a decade, and I don’t mind admitting that I squealed and did a little happy dance when I found out that somebody wanted to publish something I’d written.

I’ve completed about half a dozen manuscripts so far, but this was the first one that somebody actually looked at and said ‘yes, we want to see that in print’ to.  Besides the half a dozen completed manuscripts, though, I’ve started about ten times as many which I never finished.  Or, at least, I haven’t finished yet.

All of this is to emphasize that it has been a long, hard, exhausting road getting here, and I am truly and profoundly thrilled to be here.

But as exciting an experience as this is, it’s also, simultaneously, incredibly boring.

When I’ve listened to authors speak about their experiences, they usually discuss the time when they were writing and hoping to be published, and the time after they were published.  I don’t think I remember more than one or two of them referencing that period in between.  Except when the company that accepted them ended up going under before they put her book out.  That sounded awful.  But right now I am in that moment, when there is so much work still to be done, and so little work that I can do.  Oh, certainly, I’m working every day to finish the rough draft of book two, and I’m working with a friend to try to put together a website.  But all of that is secondary.  The real work, the editing, finding cover art, figuring out how to get the book in front of the right people, that is all out of my hands.  It all needs to be done, but right now my publisher is doing it.

While I sit twiddling my thumbs, wondering what happens next.

This isn’t a critique of my publisher.  Winlock is very good about including its authors in the process, and, truth be told, the whole project is going through the system incredibly fast.  But at the moment, I am not involved in the process.  It’s a bit like sending your children off to school, I would imagine.  You know that you’ve done everything you can, but you can’t help but worry about all of the things that might go wrong.  All of the decisions that seemed so right and obvious in the moment now strike you as potentially foolhardy.  You have to be ready, every day, because if something is requested of you, you want to get it done, to get things moving again, just as fast as you possibly can.  But you have to be patient at the same time.

It’s a wonderful exercise in discipline, and it’s absolutely maddening to experience.

Here we go again

This is not the first time I’ve started a blog.  This is not the second time I’ve started a blog.  I would go on, but it may or may not be the third time I’ve started a blog and I don’t want to be inaccurate.  The point I’m getting at is that these things are ubiquitous.  They are everywhere you look.  You can find blogs by models and blogs by athletes, blogs by celebrities and blogs by politicians.  High schoolers have blogs about the video games they play, and bands have blogs about their music.

Everyone is talking as loud as they can, which raises the question: who is listening anymore?  I signed up for twitter a while back, and in very short order I found myself inundated by announcements from writers who were publishing their first book, and businesses who would love to help me reach my audience, for a low fee.

Not once did I find a post by someone looking for something new to read.  Not once did I get a message from somebody who wanted to hear my opinion.  Now, in fairness, I didn’t exactly ask for any opinions myself.  I’m not judging the people who were on there.  But I can’t help how much of a point there is to all of this.

I am a writer.  I have a book that will be coming out soon.  I hope people will read it.  My publisher has informed me that one of the things I need to do is set up a webpage and create a blog.  I need to connect to my audience.  Or, perhaps more accurately, I need to allow my audience the chance to connect with me.  If they want to.  But I can’t help wonder if this is really the way to do it.

Everyone does it, of course, but that’s the problem.  Everyone does it.  I’m sure that there was a time, not that long ago, when a writer setting up a blog was a new and novel thing.  I’m sure that there was a time when readers who went searching online and found something like this were impressed and interested.  What I’m not sure of is that there’s any real reason for it anymore.  Is there really a chance that somebody who comes online looking to know more about an author will find what they’re looking for in one of these?  Or is this something that we simply do because everybody else does it and we don’t want to be missing one of the ‘magic ingredients’ for success?

Sometimes I wonder.