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The Rising was released Friday. I changed poopy diapers. It was an all day event. Not the diapers, the release. Well, ok, maybe the diapers, too.
I had a “cyber” release day party on Facebook and it was a blast. Lots of fun. Lots of cyber pats-on-the-back. Less humble authors may have gotten a big head with all the attention. But I know my place in the grand scheme of things. This week brought several reminders.
Like Paisley asking me where I was going to work when I grow up.
Or this little conversation with Emma…
Emma: Grandma, how many more books are you going to write before I’m twenty? (she’ll be 8 in November)
Grandma (me): I don’t know. I hope a bunch.
Emma: Probably not a whole whole bunch because you may be real old by then and already dead.
Or this from Aiden (said with a sour look on his face): Poop.
Or from Ava…I was tickled to see a picture of my book in a shipping box on Facebook so I called to Ava to come look…her response was something along the line of, “Uh-huh. Can I have a snack now?”
Again from Aiden: Poop.
And Ivy: Me go poop.
Sigh. What can I say? They keep me humble.
What keeps you humble?
I’m probably going to stomp on some toes with this but it’s been a’brewing. I’m starting to see a trend and it’s getting under my skin. I have several writer friends who are enjoying the fruit of their labor with the release of their books. Cool. I’ll be right there with them next week with the official release of The Rising. Yeah!
But the last few weeks I’ve found myself “with them” in more ways than one. Bitching. Moaning. Griping. And over all complaining about the amount of work that goes into not just writing the book, but marketing the book. I spent an entire “work” day (meaning total of 8 hours) finalizing a blog tour. Yeah, yeah, yeah…my eyes were crossed when I finished. So what? Stop pissing and moaning about it. Nobody made me market this book. I’m marketing it because, well, I want people to actually read it. They can’t read it if the only place it’s available is on my laptop or in a file drawer.
So then we have to back up and question just why we write in the first place. Yeah, yeah, yeah…we’ve all got a story to tell. We like creating characters who live in imaginary worlds. We visualize scenes and whole chapters, complete with soundtrack. But ask yourself who are you writing for? If it’s your family and a few friends, why worry yourself sick about the editing and the cover design and the back cover blurb? Just write it and be done with it. If you’re writing for an audience larger than will fit in your living room, you have to stress about all these other things. But – here’s the kicker – no one is making you do it!
We writers are an odd bunch. I personally think we tend to be a bit passive-aggressive, or bi-polar, or down right unrealistic at times. Yes – please – buy my book! Damn – this marketing! You like it? You really like it? Crap – a bad review. How could they not like it? I’ll just go to bed now and pull the covers over my head, And cry. Crap – forgot about Twitter. Need to reply to those DMs. I just want to write! What the heck is Instagram? Do I have to post pictures? Interact. Just be yourself. Well, myself tends to be a bit of an introvert so how am I supposed to do that oh great Marketing God?
I have friends that say treat writing and marketing like a “real” job. Some even say work only 8 hours a day, like most “normal” people. Well, you know what…it’s not a real job and we’re not normal people. A true writer is never really off the clock because we’re constantly thinking about the dialogue, visualizing the next scene, playing what if. We can’t shut off our brain like some people shut down their computers before punching out for the day. We don’t have a time clock that tells us we’re “done for the day.”
But – no one is making us do it. We do it because somewhere in the far corners of our brains, we like it. We like the creating. We like the ego boost of a five star review. We like the pat-on-the-back. So stop acting like you don’t. Stop acting like it’s a freakin’ chore to dig up more Twitter followers so maybe they’ll buy your book. If you didn’t want people to buy your book, why’d you publish it in the first place? The oh so poor tortured writer is so cliche’. Get over yourself. And I’ll get over myself too. And maybe, just maybe, we can together stop pretending we’re so over-burdened with the business of writing, we’ve lost the joy of writing itself.
So, I’m going to write a little on my WIP this afternoon, maybe market The Rising some, thank my new Twitter followers (all of them for that matter), and maybe play a level or two of Candy Crush. Just a normal Sunday afternoon. And I wouldn’t trade it for a time clock for anything.
“The Rising by Lynn Chandler-Willis is a novel that wakes you at night, gets under your skin, and holds you captive until the end. A mystery like no other, the voices ring as true and intimate as any I’ve read lately. It’s the kind of mystery I want to read: gripping with flawed characters who pull at your heart, a storyline as unpredictable as it is engaging, the settings so authentic, you’d swear you were there. As this story unfolded, I rooted for Ellie from the beginning. By the end, I nearly cheered out loud. A real winner, this is Willis at her best.”
Pamela King Cable, Author of Southern Fried Women, Televenge, and The Sanctum