So you find an hour here and there, a weekend, holidays, and when the kids are gone for the summer.
Stops and starts.
It’s all wrong and then finally you find your voice and then it flows.
Ah. You’re in the throes of creativity.
Thoughts come on their own accord. While you’re in the shower, the grocery store, vacuuming. Wham! You see a scene in your mind’s eye. Hurry, hurry to write it down. Then your characters take over. They start to tell the story to you. Oh my. This must be the real deal. The muse. Wow.
And so I finished my first novel.
What an accomplishment. Amazing. A beginning, middle, and end. Written by me. So proud. So emotional. And it must be goood. Because, hey the muse–remember? The muse gave me the story–a gift from the cosmos. Surely, all will love it. Surely this will turn heads.
It was in the late 1990s when I finished my masterpiece.
Few agents were on the Internet. So I found lists of agents and mailed out queries. Put my manuscript in postal boxes for books–remember those? Spent a fortune on postage. The rejections piled up. And stupid rejections, like from one agent who said–”it was laugh out loud funny…but”…BUT? Isn’t laugh out loud funny a good thing? Then one said, “Oh books with a message don’t sell.” Huh? So the public doesn’t want to learn anything–and hey how about the Bible?
So after ten years of writing, it took ten years to find a publisher. That’s right ten years. I just wanted to hold my book in my hands. I didn’t want to use a vanity press. And finally a small independent publisher said “yes.” I would hold my book in my hands. A dream fulfilled.
But as soon as that was a reality, it wasn’t enough. I wanted to be J.K. Rowling. I wanted my book to turn the world on it’s ear. I wanted validation from many, many readers.
My publisher had no marketing budget, but she did book me on a TLC virtual book tour. What the heck is that? And so I learned about this new world of publishing. Became obsessed with my Amazon sales rankings. Tried to find ways to push the book myself. And that served me well because after one short year, my publisher closed. Finished. Family health issues caused her to close her virtual doors. Now what? Well, I tried to find another. No luck after six months of trying and I wasn’t going to wait another ten years.
So I took it over. Figured out how to deal with Lightning Source, created e-formats. Published on Kindle. Used Smashwords. My publisher was very helpful and gave me her files. But I didn’t know all the lingo. Was quite nervous. But within one month of her closing, my book was for sale again. Whew. I did it. Liberated. Don’t have to share the meager royalties. It’s all mine.
With my second novel, I decided I would not go with a POD publisher. Too fly-by-night. This time, I would only go with a big agent, who could get me a NY publisher. I had learned a few things, like Barnes and Nobles won’t even let you do a signing as a local author if you are POD. So I was going to try the traditional route. I had a track record now. I was published! I had excellent reviews sprinkled around the Internet. And I’ve been hustling for more. Surely, that would mean something.
But here’s the thing. Traditional publishing is dying. So nurturing an unknown who has some sales–not a giant amount (but I haven’t checked Amazon in the last five minutes)–no interest. But you know who has a book published? Snookie. Snookie has a book published. You know who else has a book published? Teresa from the real housewives of New Jersey. Teresa, who thinks “ingredientses” is a word. So it’s worse than ever out there. With my first book, I at least got requests. Now nothing. Nada. Zip. Not interested.
So that’s it. Done with that ridiculousness. I know how to publish myself. This time I will use Createspace. I quit sending my queries out. Done. Who cares? But then out of the blue, an important agent asked for a partial. Now there’s no cost. Hit send and boom done. But I’m not counting on it. Dreaming, salivating, yearning, but not counting. After all, I still have my first book to worry about and push. Still have the Amazon rankings to check every few hours. There’s still the chance that it could fly off the virtual shelves, give me real credibility. And then maybe then, I could have a shot at an old-school publisher who might think that my book can sit on the shelf at Barnes and Nobles right along side Snookie’s.