Thursday, July 13, 2006

Avert Thine Eyes


Last year, before I got published, that was all that mattered to me--getting published. I had my ideas and I wanted to carve my own little niche into literary cyberspace, it didn't matter how big or small. I didn't care or worry about not being liked or getting bad reviews. After all, no matter how bad your writing is, or what you write, there is always some small following to get your back, and I could appreciate this for what it was. I was happy with it. To be and to have, this was my only goal.

Fast forward a few months, and I've signed my first contract and I'm facing the release date for Crossing Borders. As a new writer about to be shoved out of the nest and into the relative unknown of the publishing world, I caved into something I had not even anticipated rearing its ugly head--fear. Fear of being alone in cyberspace with my little book, not being a part of something bigger, not having my voice heard. I realized suddenly I was on my own, standing on a precarious high wire of a situation, and I did not have a safety net.

What did I do in reaction? I tried to create a safety net. I put my trust in something insubstantial, stretched myself too thin, and fell into the promotions blackhole. All these things for something that can't be guaranteed in the first place.

Don't get me wrong, I am all about promotion, shameless self-promotion or otherwise. But I believe now I have learned the hard way not to sell your soul for the sake of getting your feet wet. In the end, you just end up with no soul and soggy feet.

Everything is fleeting. Each book is only that. One book. The one after it will be either better or worse than the last. It's the same with safety nets. Each one you create is only good for so many falls and then it weakens and breaks down and you have to replace it. My point is this: when it comes down to it I am responsible for my own writing and my own writing success. If I am accountable to anyone it is to myself and my readers. It's them I should be worried about pleasing anyway--in addition to myself of course. When there is no longer any joy in writing, in seeing the finished product and being able to be proud of it, then why do it?

Last night while I was burning a mediation candle, it occurred to me that the writers with books that I actively look for, those who I really enjoy reading, the ones who I pick up their ebooks as soon as they come out do not put themselves through what I've been doing the last few weeks. I have to actually go out and search for their work. And I do it because I want to hear more from them. They enjoy writing, and so I enjoy reading their work.

When I sit back and think about it, there is no greater compliment I can give a writer than that. I'm not saying I will ever be so good as that, but in the end that's what I want for myself. To be like those who write because they love to write. Because it's what they do. For them, it's not a contest of sales and politics and driving yourself insane trying to book that next promotion to stay one step ahead, but instead they're taking it all in stride and enjoying the process for what it is. With that said, it's time to get my goals back on track.

I'm staring at the end of Wicked Temptation, and breathing a bit easier for it. I've also got the code up for the new joint email newsletter I'm sharing with fellow paranormal authors Tempest Knight and Cassandra Curtis. If you have time, drop by our new group blog and hang out with us for a spell: Midnight Moon Cafe

On another note, I've spent way too much time searching for Caress of a Psychopath at Lulu.com. It's been a while since I read any angsty, cannibalistic vampire psycho stories. I need to broaden my horizons.

Well, I'm outta here for now. It's 5 AM. If I get to bed soon I might actually get a little sleep before the sun comes up.

9 comments:

  1. I almost cried when I read your post, Cora. You've put forth exactly how I've been feeling for the past couple of months, but have been too afraid to voice it out loud. Afraid of what my fellow authors will think of me. But more afraid of hearing myself saying it. I didn't want to be snub - again. There are those who don't think I'm serious about my writing.

    So at times I felt like I was in a rat race, trying to keep up if not outdo every fellow author in everything, completely whoring myself as I spread myself too thin. But every night when I tried to sit and finish my next story, I couldn't, realizing that I was beginning to hate "the job." The fun was sipping away.

    It's good to see I'm not alone in feeling like I've been feeling. I like to promote, but I don't want to feel like I'm selling my soul either. I love the contact with the readers that chats bring.

    OMG! You keep "vampire hours" like me. *lol* Go get some sleep, chica.

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  2. I've discovered that promo'ing can take over EVERYTHING. I would go to bed and my mind would race with it - and my book isn't out for another three weeks! So I'm trying to pace myself cos I don't want to burn out.

    Congrats for being at the end of your story. Love the title. And congrats on the great review you posted yesterday! That's awesome.

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  3. Promo is hard and getting your name out in front of people is exhausting. Been there, feel that. Ultimately what matters is that you write a good story. If it's good, people will read it, and they'll come back. Funny how that works.

    Glad you're feeling less stressed.

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  4. You're talented, I loved Crossing Borders and can't wait to see your other books. It's scary out here though. I hear ya.

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  5. The promo black hole is an easy one to fall into, esp. for a new author. The problem is, it's easy to get lost in promoting and forget what you're really supposed to be doing: Writing. ;)

    There's a lot of authors that are all gung-ho about promoting and post on email loops, advertise all over the place, pay for ads, get promotional materials like bookmarks and stuff made ... and, well, while some of it might work, I have my doubts about some. I don't think posting on a promo-only loop is going to help, because the vast majority of members are going to be other people trying to sell their book, for example.

    I'll go to chats, keep an updated blog, run contests, post on blogs, boards, and such ... but I don't have the effective time available to go gung-ho about promotion.

    Maybe I'm going about it the wrong way, but I think it's a lot less stressful. ;)

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  6. Promo is very hard. In the beginning I joined all these yahoo groups, but I found that I spent too much time trying put my hame out there and post on those groups than actually writing. It can be really exhausting. You just have to find the right thing for you and do it and don't worry about anyone else.

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  7. D'you know, I only promo on my blog occasionally (when a book is coming out or when a review comes in). I'd rather readers got to know me than have my stuff rammed down their throat.

    I'm not in this for the money and how much it makes, I'm in it for me, to have my words out there even if they don't sell. To know they are available if someone liked me and my blog and chose to buy it is enough for me.

    When I visit other sites and see continual promotion, I rarely go back to that site, nor do I even feel that I want to read their books. If I feel like that...that's why I don't do it myself to my readers.

    They'll either buy or they won't. Doesn't matter because I'll keep on writing anyway. Plus, I'd never bow down to the promo pressure. I'd rather write and keep it on my hard drive than force someone to look at me.

    :o)

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  8. P.S Just bought Crossing Borders.

    :o)

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  9. Review up!

    http://meellisreviews.blogspot.com/2006/07/crossing-borders-cora-zane.html

    Thanks for a fantastic read, slackass!

    :o)

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