16. On the hustle
Everyday? Most days?
How are you? Another long week in the land of constant news. I hope you are well.
I feel like my come-lately good habits are distorting my sense of time. I’ve rambled about time previously and I probably will again but presently my days have a good stretch to them.
Let me tell you something about writing books, in my experience. You write a book, you get excited, everyone connected to you and the creation of the book gets excited, the book gets published, people read it, they get excited, and then nothing happens.
Nothing. What are those things? Crickets? Tumbleweed. (I spelled that with a ‘h’ the first time I typed it. First one to let me know where I put the illegal ‘h’ wins a copy of my new book). Nothing happens because there are a zillion books out there and yours is one in a zillion. Not very visible. A little star in a star-filled sky. After the initial excitement, you get a weird feeling. You might ask yourself some questions. Is it doing okay? Are enough people buying it? What if they’re not? What should I do? Omigawd! What if it sucks? Etc, etc.
When my first book came out last year I was on it. Firing off emails to newspapers and libraries and radio stations and festivals and schools and everywhere I could think of and let me tell you, it worked. About ten percent or so of people I contacted got back to me and some of those people gave me a shot. A few interviews (thank you, Colum, for the press release), some festival appearances and most awesome of all: school visits.
This time around, not so much. I’ve been in Dark Mode for a couple of months and that hasn’t helped because the hustle is constant and I have not been up to the hustle. You have to send out and respond to emails every day. Find the festivals, find the schools, find the reviewers. You and a zillion other authors. Success equals perseverance plus luck, and in a world full of brilliant books you need a lot of one and more of the other.
I’m writing about this now because yesterday I opened some old contact lists and chased some old leads. This means two things: one, that I’m excited about looking for more opportunities to share my books’ characters and themes and stories, and two that I’m feeling well enough to get excited about it. Good news. And in order to do it, I need to get it done. One day at a time, right?
p.s. last week I listed four questions that I ask and answer when I am journalling. The Muse gave me a fifth and (of course) it is a great one: What am I thankful for?