Oooo. I have something wonderful to offer you. Author interviews! I hope to start on December 2nd, and continue every Saturday with a few extra dates to accommodate new releases for the next few months at least. Author interviews are a perfect way to learn more about the people who create the wonderful books we love. I hope you’ll make a habit of dropping by.
Today, I thought I’d answer a question myself to start things off. Keeping reading below to discover what I think about my chosen profession. 🙂
Q: I think writers go into this career with an idea of what it’s like and how their life is going to be, but soon learn that the reality is nothing like the fantasy. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
A: The end of 2017 will conclude almost two years of my being in the writing/publishing business. I guess it’s not a bad idea to reflect on the experience and count my accomplishments, and even better, to be grateful for the opportunity to have done something I’ve always wanted to do. But I find myself doing more than just checking boxes as I reflect. There’s a different way of looking at this and that means remembering WHO I was before it all started. Let me digress a bit. I absolutely adore the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. One of my favorite songs is called “Could We Start Again, Please,” and the title pretty much sums up the gist of the song. Jesus’ followers recall how hopeful they’d been were in the beginning of their calling and how things had begun to unfold in a way they hadn’t imagined. They’d focused their energy to serve God in a way that also served them—and that had changed. They’d been fresh and excited and bad things hadn’t happened to them yet. In some ways, I understand that song and that line in a more personal way than I did before. Who I was when I sold my first book to a publisher was a seriously naïve writer. I still had a full-time job, but I imagined myself writing blissfully in my spare time and guiding my beautiful books into the world to enjoy gushing admiration. This was my impression before the reality of dealing with house edits—changing my book to somebody else’s standards—contracts—selling my rights to my book—internet trolls, and wading through the soul-crushing, time-sucking cesspool that can be (not always is) social media. Dealing with newsletters and for my indie books, dealing with KDP, preorders, and Createspace. Vetting the quality of different editing software, teaching myself Photoshop, and how to maintain my own website. Acquiring a business license and fictitious business name. Buying ISBNs and registering copyrights. Goodreads, promotions, marketing. The endless deluge of emails from author services offering this, that, and yet another writing/marketing/platform-building course. Two years ago, when I published my first book, my inner visualization of my unfolding life was of wide-open space around me. Golden sunsets. Placid skies. Now I see a wall. A giant wall I have built stone by stone to keep my writing time and mojo safe inside. I open the gates as needed and deal with all the extras that go along with publishing books. Gone are the days when publishers and editors took care of their writers—if they ever did. But for all that it might sound from this that my dream has tanked—it hasn’t—I am living a life I didn’t imagine. But the thing is, nothing we imagine ever comes to pass exactly the way we imagine it. It might be better, worse, or just different, but it’s never that exact image or expectation. We embark on our quests because no matter what the journey entails, and no matter how the destination alters, the daily work that drives us is still the work we love. Two years have brought me skills I never imagined having and introduced me to people I would never have met in my “real” life. It has also brought reality checks I would have been happy to skip. So, as the saying goes—I guess the bloom is off the rose. Or I could say my armor (I’m thin-skinned 🙂 ) is a bit tarnished. Well, that’s okay. The rose is a hardy bush, and a little elbow grease can that armor shine like new. My plot bunnies keep popping out stories and my boys never fail to bewitch me. Over the past two years, my life has pivoted 180 degrees. And now I’m wondering—what will the next two years bring? I’m looking forward to finding out. 🙂