HOW DO YOU GET TO CARNEGIE HALL?
When you’re writing a book, especially one that took a very long time to write, such as Pride’s Children (Book 1), and you really, really want to get back to writing, so as to get Book 2 moving, and return to that nice quiet place where all you face every day is the blank computer screen, and you’ve done that many thousand times before, and know you can, you find that there are all these little details you’ve sent flying every time they showed their feathered heads while you were writing – and they’ve come home to Mamma.
I’m sure that’s true whether this is when you start querying agents, or whether you have plans to do it yourself, but to write I have to be in a bubble.
The key is PREPARATION – but you have to DO it, not just read about it
I have hundreds, maybe more, blog posts by other writers bookmarked: covers, marketing, editing services or self-editing instructions, online Twitter/FaceBook/website/blog presence, formatting, layout… The list goes on.
I’m sure the list of things I have to do now is finite – at some point you throw ‘the product’ up on Amazon as ‘finished’ as you can get it for now, and then your words must live on their own, and people may love them or use you and them for target practice.
But it doesn’t seem like a finite list when I look at the material I’ve accumulated which I intended all along to go back to, ‘after I finished writing.’
The after is now, and it’s daunting.
Future shock, present shock
I have other things to write, besides fiction.
I even go back to all the semi-coherent blog post starts I’ve been writing – and have trouble figuring out why I bothered to write those words which were supposed to get me started on what seemed like a good idea for a post – 6 months ago.
They seem pathetic, boring, uninteresting, banal.
I know it’s shock: the future HAS arrived, and it has a lot more details to it than I allowed myself to think about back then, when I DIDN’T want to let things distract me.
The problem of perspective
When you write, you are a god. Minor, but definitely in control. This is even more true when it’s the first universe you’ve been god to (for the record, it’s my second – there IS a trunk novel with intriguing bits…). Feel free to laugh at me.
When you publish, well, then you’re just another wannabe, competing with potentially millions of other writers, better writers, more established writers, writers who have publishers that market for them and edit them and design their book covers and spend lots and lots of money promoting their latest book…
Oh, wait. That is the old model. The one I’ve promised myself to eschew because there is no way I’m going to attract their attention.
So, on the self-published side, is it easier? Nope. Here you have to compete with all the SP writers who KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING.
Fortunately, many of them are wonderful folk who have shared how in books and websites and blogs.
There are services – people happy to take your money and do all these things for you. I just don’t count myself able and competent to navigate finding them, employing them, and interacting with them – it takes a lot of work to be an employer.
So instead I commit to LEARNING how to do all this stuff. With my brain – they wouldn’t give me a loaner.
Is that all? Nope.
Oh, and the worst part? You now have to go do something completely out of your comfort zone: GETTING A HEAD SHOT OF A SMILING YOU (or whatever) which will adorn the flap, the blog, and the author page on Amazon.
Bringing up the final point: Yup. You have to describe you and your writing and your book – to your prospective millions of adoring fans.
If these two don’t make you crawl in a hole and pull it in after you, I have no idea what will.