Monday, February 7, 2011

The Real in Surreal

Before I delve into today's post, let me, first, just say that I'm not intending this to be a daily blog as it may appear at the moment. At some point in the near future, I'm going to be settling down to some serious work on The Tower on the Hill, and I will drop these posts to, probably, a couple or three a week. However, right now, I have a lot of topics I want to cover, so these will be popping up as often I get a chance to do them (although probably not more than once a day). Okay! On to today's topic (which is not one of the "lot of topics" I want to cover but one that has inserted itself into what I'm doing)!

The real that I'm holding in my hands is a physical copy of my book, The House on the Corner. It is rather a surreal experience and one that, although I intellectually believed would one day happen, is rather hard to comprehend. It makes me wonder what it has been like for other authors the first time they've held their first copy of their first book in their hands. All in all, it's rather a confusing mash up of emotions, and I'm really not quite sure how I feel about it.

Of course, there's excitement. But that's tempered by the fact that this is just self-published. There's still a lot of work to do to make this successful, and, of course, I really need to continue to look for a more traditional publishing method if I really want to get the book out there. But my kids are excited about it all. Very excited. My middle child went running around outside somewhat insanely on Saturday after it arrived shouting that his "dad's book is here!" And my father-in-law seems very impressed. The ability to actually hold it in his hands, despite the fact that it is just self-published, is very powerful, evidently.

And then there's the fear... the fear that no one will buy it or read it and all of this will be over. I try to shove that down when it happens as it doesn't really do anything constructive. I mean, after all, I did write a book. How many people can say that? (That's rhetorical. I know it's a large number just in and of itself, but not as a percentage.) I know it's good even if no one else ever discovers that. And my kids love it, which is (almost) the only success I need. It is the most important success that I need, since I wrote it as a bedtime story (of sorts) for them like Tolkein did with The Hobbit. So you try to get beyond the fear, because "fear is the mind killer" (That's from Dune, for those of you who don't know.).

Those are probably the biggest of the two emotions running rampant in me, at the moment. A few others: satisfaction, happiness, concern, upsettedness (at myself (for letting what is, to me, an unacceptable amount of mistakes slip through (but we'll deal with editing on another day))). I'm sure there are more, but naming my own feelings has never been my strong point, just ask my wife.

What is cool, though, is that, if you go over to and type my name into their search engine, I come up! I'm not the first listing you get, but, still... that's pretty cool! Soon, I will come up twice. Right now, it's just the Kindle edition that comes up, but, once they finish their page construction, I'll pop up for both Kindle and hard copy. Yeah, I'm sort of geeking out over that.

So where am I going with all of this? I guess, what I really want to say is something along the lines of what Ferris Bueller says about the Ferrari, "It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up." Here's the thing, in our age of technology, there really are no barriers. Sure, I may never be a best-selling author. Or an any selling author. Well, that's not true. I have, actually, sold a few copies, already, and not even to just people I know, either. But I have a book I wrote in my hands. Not just a bunch of papers that I typed up or printed out but an actual book. That's pretty incredible. 20 years ago that would have taken either an actual publishing contract or a lot of money to self-publish. Today? Today, it's free. The book in my hand cost me the price of the book plus shipping. How neat is that?

If you have the perseverance to write your book, you can get it published. If you've written a book, you can get it published. The publishing world is changing. Agents need to learn that. Agents, especially, need to learn that. Publishing houses need to learn that. Writers need to learn that. There is no need to hang on and hang on trying to find an agent or get a publishing contract. Go forward. Take the next step yourself. You can do it! I mean, you can really do that, now. Not only can you, but you have no reason not to. Sure, I'm still looking for an agent. Looking for a publishing contract from a large publisher, but why have the book just sitting around doing nothing while I pursue those things. Now, the book is out there. People can buy it and read it and enjoy it, now. And people are. There's no need to wait. And exposure of your product can only help. Even if what you find out is that people don't like what you've written, it gives you the chance to know what they don't like and to go back into your work and fix it. Make it better. If you want to write, do it. Really, there's no reason not to.

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