Let me preface this blog post by saying that Summer jumped me like a mugger in an alleyway, and I kept trying to get away but my cries went unheeded and eventually everything went black.
I wish I could be less visceral with the comparison, but nothing has hit me as hard as this summer. I was full time Mom, part time writer (which became no-time towards the end.) I juggled swim lessons, laundry and the budget. I looked for work and signed up for class and tried to get my shit together.
I did manage to publish a book and have a reading for it. I need to work on my marketing. Thus far I’m relying on word of mouth, and barely anyone knows me. I’m trying different things, marketing-wise, but I’m an author, not a spin doctor, and everything I try feels awkward.
Sadly, the truth is that marketing is for extroverts. People who can look you in the eye and feel every ounce of their self-worth, in the face of rejection. I’m an introvert. The only thing worse than rejection is attention.
Admittedly, I may be in the wrong industry.
However, this is an industry where I can shamelessly write a story about a vampire dealing with ancient gods and have a lot of fun doing it. Where I can sit down with a group of my friends for a round of “I’ve been there’s.” An industry where writing a letter of appeal to Amazon, whether it does any good or not, is a worthwhile task, as opposed to just a customer complaint.
I have a life outside my writing. It consists of my son, and my husband, and my tiny condo, and my neighbor’s dog. I go to backyard barbecues, catch blockbusters in the theater, and indulge in one too many glasses of wine. It’s a lot less interesting than my imagination, which has a mind of its own.
Recently I had a chance to read to my fans at a local comic book shop. It jazzed me up. Being in a room full of people who have read, or wanted to read, my book. People who had questions about my world, who wanted to know more about what I do. I was terrified but when I noticed there were no pitchforks or torches, I fell into a groove of listening and sharing, and it was a marvelous thing.
I want more of it, and it’s not coming fast enough. I think if I can keep ahead of the self-doubt and the rigid terror, I think I could possibly make a living doing this. I wrote a short story in one day, the first time I’ve ever written that much word count in one sitting.
Ah, and here’s the other thing. That group of friends.. they rely on me for the same thing. They want my opinion on stories and query letters. They want a trustworthy source to tell them their stories are on track, or off the rails, or in-between. I need that just as much as I need to succeed for myself.
It’s going to be an interesting Autumn.