Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Cart Before the Horse

I woke up in a cold sweat last night and I'm on record from the outset that it's the cart before the horse kind of thing. Hell, the horse hasn't even come out of the barn yet. Maybe there is no horse in the barn at all. You get the drift.
This is what I fear: all the stuff that happens after you publish a book: the looking in bookstores that don't carry it; the checking of library sites to see if they have it and if they do have it, is anyone reading it, the bad reviews, the no reviews, the readings or no readings, the obsessiveness you must cultivate to succeed. Can I become this person? The one that drives around the country pushing his book so his publisher will take the next one? Can I make publicizing my book my life.
I have a good friend going through this now with a collection of terrific stories. Should she go into bookstores and ask them to order her book? Should she call and try to set up readings where no one is likely to turn up? How many calls should she make to newspapers? (Why does our local newspaper give no help to local writers?) Should she order a copy every week or so on Amazon to keep her numbers from going too high. Should she even watch those numbers at all or is it likely to make you crazy.
Sometimes writing short stories seems very safe. Maybe only a few people read them, but you're spared a lot of pain. I could just quietly file the novel away. I won't but it's a thought.


Sandra Scoppettone said...

Stay in the's bad enough.

Sandra Ruttan said...

At some point in your life, you pulled out a book, held it in your hands, and fell in love. And it might have been right then, or maybe a little while later, but one day you thought, I want to see my name on a book some day. And that was the dream.

And it isn't the same achievement self publishing. It's the difference between getting a mail-order bride and having someone genuinely fall in love with you - that's the feeling when an editor says they love what you do, and want to publish it.

That's the moment to write for. I know there's everything else (believe me, I know) but to be able to hold a book in your hands with your name on the cover is the dream. We just have to try not to let it be overshadowed by the nightmare.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Sandra-you are such a realist; Sandra-you are such a romantic

Stephen Blackmoore said...

You know, it all comes down to what you are and aren't willing to do and what your expectations are.

What do you want this book to be? What's your view of success? It doesn't have to be the same as everyone else's.

And something to bear in mind is that you're not entirely alone in this. There are complete strangers out there, who you know only through blog comments, who really want to see you succeed, in whatever capacity that is for you.

You have fans. And you haven't even published your book, yet.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Got it working Stephen. Thanks for kind words.

Todd Mason said...

Local newspapers have been bombarded by local writers (even if bombarded means or meant one a week or so) since the days that POD wasn't yet a threat to Vantage Press. Hell, if a paper still reviews books, it might be bombarded by Real Publishers, who have or used to have bombarment budgets.

Putting out a fine blog, as you do, that isn't All About the Merch, is an excellent start these days, it seems to me.

Breathing good too.

Todd Mason, whose done nearly everything with books but write a whole one said...

Amazon numbers are more random but no less corrupt than non-Bookscan Bestseller numbers (and Bookscan is only as good as the properly-functioning equipment and store selection allows). Pay them No heed.

Publisher's audited sales numbers...those matter.

pattinase (abbott) said...

When you live in a state where the legislature can't even pass a budget, in a country where the president never does the right thing, in a world that's running out of...well, everything, worrying about this stuff seems pretty dumb.

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