What’s it like being a published author?
A book with an ISBN has my name. Websites sport my fancy photos. I pass out business cards, if rarely.
But surely there must be more, you insist. Have I not splurged for a getaway summer home and perhaps a sleek white ocean yacht? Do legions of adoring fans not beg me on the street for autographs? Do I – to escape my fame – not jet off to my private isle to seek solace and inspiration beneath the succulent, swaying palms?
I do write fiction, I’ll give you that.
A popular misconception exists that “The Next Great American Novel” can lift any feeble, impoverished writer from the mire to Hollywood or at least the White House. But alas, the creation of something incredible does not alone crown peasants kings. I do love my book, and I’m very proud of it, and some people have told me they like it, but this alone is not enough.
You have to market. You have to sell. Reach out to partners who want to help you but remember it starts with you.
You cannot do everything at the beginning nor should anyone attempt to try. And so, start small. No yacht. No beach house. No fans beyond your mother and bestie. No critical or commercial acclaim.
Start at the beginning. Start with you and the page. Start with something you adore, because if you plan to finish a novel, you had better bloody love it.
And do not stop there, though you will be tempted. Do not let your baby turn to dust in a drawer. Share your work with friends and strangers. Listen to critiques and practice. Learn new ways to share and communicate and, above everything, never give up.
So what is it really like being published?
I dedicated Shadow of Wings to my father. I didn’t let him know. Top secret. But he found out before I could give him a copy and according to my mother, my dad, who never cries, broke down.
On this dusty side of eternity, we don’t get to know beyond a few glimpses how many people our words affect. We can’t see how their souls are stirred – but they are stirred and they will be.
You have a chance to establish a legacy. Every day you have this chance.
Every day, with every word.