The Deep End

I didn’t see the momentum building until the avalanche was upon me. I hardly wrote a word for the longest time, then in one year I wrote more than I’ve ever imagined I could. It all started with two phone calls – one from Heather G. in January, one from Christopher E. in March.

I spent so much of last year trying to learn everything about the writing process.. not the process of writing, which is relatively straightforward and involves you, a computer, and some serious creative time. The writing process includes such things as building an audience with a blog, setting up a Facebook page, getting a Twitter account, figuring out Good Reads and Amazon author pages, and a bewildering set of other things I haven’t ever heard of before.

I’ve done writing, editing, taken classes on editing and marketing, made friends with other up and coming authors who will certainly be more successful than I. I find myself in conflict. Marketing, as far as I’m concerned, is a damned dirty word. On the other hand, how else are you going to tell people, “Oh, by the way, I wrote this book and I think you’ll love it!”

I need to overcome my deep-seated distrust of marketing if I’m ever going to be successful as a writer. At first, it wasn’t about the money, but now it’s changing. It is about the money. Not for its own sake, however. Just as a means to make my living doing what I love. I want being an author to be my job. I want it to pay my bills. If I’m going to do that, I’m going to have to spend this year learning the part of my job that separates the authors from the writers.

I guess it’s true what they say. Pimpin’ ain’t easy.

I’m too busy being an author to write!

October was a fast and furious romp of learning all the things an author does, when they aren’t busy writing.

I now understand why George R.R. Martin takes 3 years to get a book out.

I have author pages up on Goodreads.com, Facebook.com, and Chaptersee.com. I review proofs, both digitally and in print, and learn about formatting and editing. I write when I can, gotta get that second book out. And let’s not forget that I’m a person with a full-time job, a son in Kindergarten, a programming class, and occasionally I like to oh, see a friend or read a chapter of something that isn’t a manual.

Even this blog post is a part of these new expectations. I don’t resent it. I love to write, and this is a way for me to keep a log of my journey through this process. However, it’s getting in the way of me catching up with a couple of friends over IM, and watching a Dr. Who episode.

Life is always a balancing act, but lately I’ve felt like that clown who is expected to juggle more and more objects of differing sizes and weights. I just keep repeating, “I think I can, I think I can” over and over again.

My previous job was at a small app development company, that was built from the ground up from the humble beginnings of my living room. I got to do it all – a little project management, a little HR, a little marketing, a little programming. I even got to write a story (technically, my first published work.) It was called Dragon Scales & Unicorn Tales, and it’s available on the iTunes App Store.

I had no idea how valuable the experience would be. When you become an author, you hang your shingle and you set up shop, inventory of one item. (Until you build your library.) There’s a whole lot of marketing, and from what I’ve read, even the big guys expect authors to peddle their wares. You can hire someone to do it for you, but for a first time author, it’s better to do it yourself. There are things you learn, things you experience. Giving it over to someone else to do cheats you of that.

A friend of mine (the one I was IM’ing earlier) told me that because my name was in print, it had inspired her to write for the first time in years. My co-worker took a recording of me at work to demonstrate how his camera’s record function worked, and my boss said, “You can’t delete that. You have a real live author recorded now.” It’s an unexpected side effect, getting these little pieces of recognition. It’s some of the most fun I’ve had.

I wasn’t prepared for the amount of work involved in being an author, but I’m happy to say that it’s a job that I love.