Saturday, March 22, 2008

Reasons To Go On

This topic thread has been interesting. There's no doubt that all the things we do to promote ourselves work to a greater or lesser extent, and we are each better at some parts of it and not others. From all I have heard from other authors, we all go through our own 'dark night of the soul' about our promotional activities, too. I certainly have wondered why I continue to put myself through it. I knew I was down in the dumps a few months ago when I did a signing, and a very sweet woman came up to me and said, "I loved your book so much that I read it all in one day!" I thanked her, and I really did appreciate her enthusiasm, but I was thinking, "Gee, Lady, it took me eight months to write. You could at least have read it four or five times." This is not a good attitude.

And then some event goes particularly well, or like Charles, you get an attitude adjustment, and you get your strength back and push on. I have had similar experiences with all of my career endeavors, both in academia and the private sector. I was an English teacher, an academic librarian, and a shop owner before I took to the writing life, and in all three professions, I knew it was time to move on when whatever joy I had taken in it was completely replaced by a continual desire to leap over the desk/counter and throttle the student/patron/customer standing before me.

I love the writing, though. Like Debby, I go to my world and live there for a while with people I really care about, and things happen just the way I want them to. I was always fairly successful at my various careers, but I never got the joy out of any of them like I do out of the writing. Which is not to say that there isn't suffering involved - oh, is there ever. But the glorious buzz from world-creating and actually having people read your work is worth the pain.

Not even the continual publicity push is all bad, either. Day-before-yesterday I spent a lovely half-hour being interviewed by our own Vicki on Internet Voices Radio (check out the links to the right), and it felt to me like a long talk with a good friend, and all about me and my beloved writing, too! What could ever be better than that? A couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed one of the best bookstore signings I've had in ages. I signed at a Borders in Tucson, AZ, along with three other authors, all of whom are fairly well known, especially in their own bailiwick (one is even up for a Pulitzer this year!), and I sold a bunch of books to people who hadn't even come to see me. I got another couple of gigs out of it, too. Until I become a big draw on my own, I may seriously consider doing a bunch more of these gang signings, if I can arrange them. I also did an extremely energizing mystery writing workshop. Sometimes if you get a really engaged and enthusiastic crowd, a strange synergy happens and you become far more brilliant than you really are.

So you just keep plugging, and do whatever you have to do to be able to keep getting your writing fix, and you try to always remember that, like Charles says, you're a published author, by damn.

1 comment:

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