Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Like Having My Ashes Scattered Before I'm Passed

Why getting here is easier than getting a book published.
 Imagine you want to run a marathon, but to do so, you first need to put in endless miles over a year of training until, if you are lucky, you get the attention of an agent who comes to watch a snippet of your running at the track.. Not your full long run, just a snippet. This agent is the gatekeeper and decides if you will gain entry into an actual marathon.  In fact, during every bit of your training, you need to be prepared that  you may never actually set foot on an official marathon course.

 No, your entry qualifications aren't objective and based on time, such as with a Boston Qualifier where you know exactly what you need to do to get to the start. You simply can't run unless the marathon gatekeepers deem you worthy.  And unless they give you permission and you receive their backing, you are completely shut out.  You are shut out along with 98% of the population who have put in months of training

 Well, that's what the publishing world was like, until this new electronic age and ebooks have outsold paperback copies, and it has unleashed a whole new world of artistic freedom.

 Publishing has never been more accessible, but when you don't have the backing of cover artists, editors, marketers, proof-readers, and the corporate logo of a publishing house, you have to work your ass off.  And the only way you'll survive, is if you really want it.

 Indie authors such as myself have to wave our flag high and scream pretty loud to get noticed, which, of course, also means we can be a bit more annoying and smell like spam, but also it means if we believe in our work we can get noticed.(Check out this article on 5 reasons I read Indie Authors)  I have read many indie authors through Goodreads, and can attest there are countless Gems out there, that glisten just as grand and actually sparkle a bit more unique.

 The only feedback, the 'data' from our watches and Garmins and GPS's, to further the running analogy, is the reviews we receive. So, yes, each morning  I check for reviews, same way I'll check my watch with every click of a mile on a long run. 

 Once in a while I will get the feedback of my book being "the worst I've ever read" or that "the author clearly knows nothing about running a marathon."  Other times I will get the just as negative but interesting comment such as:    "This book moved slowly and then there was a disturbing scene very near the end of the book. I'm sorry I spent the whole day reading it."   

 There are other thoughts, such as theses recent comments about Stray  "I really loved this book! It is NOT just about dogs. It is about people, and life, and how we are all connected to one another. It will make you sad, happy, and hopeful, all at once."

 This makes me happy, of course, and is Crack for my ego. Yes, I hear it loud and clear when I someone writes my "writing style was beautiful and lyrical"," that The Jade Rabbit was the best fictional book I've read in a long time, and posts like the most recent review  where the novel inspired someone to run a half-marathon.

 Through being self-promoting (such as I am being right now) I was able to catch the attention of The Kindle Book Review, who have some street cred with the publishing industry.  I waited in anticipation after they agreed to review Stray, and then saw my final finishing time 
"An excellent read, very touching. A journey in which you almost feel you are part of whilst reading the book. This book will definitely reach out and touch you and may even make you shed a few tears along the way."   Read the full review here:  

 Unlike running, writing  inherently suggests a second party to be interested in your work, someone to find it appealing and engaging.  But if there wasn't the same entirely personal satisfaction in writing, and you become overly attached to reviews, either positive or negative, then you're clearly in trouble. No, we are not as God-like as our Dogs think we are, yet we also shouldn't take it personal when our cats ignore us.

 Writing by itself is something I fully enjoy, and even moreso is something I probably need, as my wife will explain, I can hardly put together an intelligible audible sentence. Yes, like my slowing legs, the writing process is slow, but I feel like if I keep writing and never stop, I'll do it to my old age. And even though none of my novels are true, that doesn't mean they didn't happen, and bits of me have been torn out and sprinkled on every page.

 It's like having my ashes scattered before I'm passed.

 As writing blogger Chuck Wendig writes in his post on living the creative life 

 *Creativity does not live in a cave inside your head. That shit’s gotta come out and play.
* Murder  Self-Doubt in its bed while it sleeps.
*Failure is an instructional manual written in scar tissue
Sandwiched in between the Woman's Olympic Marathon on August 5th, and the Men's Olympic Marathon on August 12th, The Jade Rabbit will be .99 Cents on Kindle  Because, how else are you going to spend your time. 
I love to see a Hanson Jersey, even if it's only for the first 5k of an Olympic marathon


Ty @tyruns.blogspot said...

My favorite signs: "Worst Parade Ever" (saw this one at a race), and "Motivational Poster" (read about this one in somebody's recap on some blog).


I've been bad and haven't yet read your books (although I'm a faithful blog reader). Stray is next on my to-read list, literally. Next. On my Kindle and ready to go. I must get Jade Rabbit too.

You're an amazing writer, and one of my go-to experts for marathon training inspiration. Hope this review counts for something :) I'll definitely keep you posted on my reading!

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