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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Well, we all want to write the next bestseller. However, I have found the self-promotion for this book to be as difficult as breaking into any kind of media business. The list is endless…advertise on groups, blogs, websites, social media and word of mouth. Beg agents to read it. Decipher which agencies that call you are scams and which are real. Filter your email because once it’s out there, every company in the writing world stalks you. Realize you don’t have enough money to higher the big guns.

So then begins the physical distribution. I have to submit the full paperback book to Barnes and Noble’s vendor and they’ll determine if it fits store criteria. If it should, and I pray it does, then I start the whole nationwide shelf availability. This helps boost your confidence when you think that nine months of your life with writing and editing comes nearly as close as the anticipation of that other nine month arrival.

A rundown of things I’ve learned, and some are as painful as above mentioned nine month arrival:

1. No one cares about your book as much as you. No one else wrote it and loves it as much as the author. If you build a fan base on goodreads or elsewhere, get down and thank God on your knees for the opportunity. Goodreads becomes your new best friend. In fact, it becomes your friend, spouse, child and secret lover that you get online and obsess with at three in the morning. And don’t tell your family about. Goodreads and Facebook have wonderful advertising I do myself, and because of it, I have many strangers worldwide adding my book to their shelves. Even one in Malaysia and another in South Africa. Wow.

2. The Guide to Literary Agents becomes your Bible. There are thousands of agents who have better things to do than read your email and each agent requires a query letter and the first 10-25 pages of your book. You better catch their attention with that very first line of your letter. And plan to wait. And wait. And wait.

3. Very poorly written books make it and the well written ones don’t. Period. (And yes, that includes that one series about you know what and don’t pretend like you don’t know which series I’m referring to. There are no GREY areas on this one.)

4. There is very little sleep. Just when you think it’s perfected, you decide to scroll through the manuscript and wonder how you missed that duplicated word or punctuation mark. Or, you just wonder how you could have written such a stupid line to begin with so you change it. The only way to stop this is to never ever look at your book again. Seriously. And go to bed.

5. Come back to the real world. Everywhere you look you will compare your characters and forget they are NOT REAL. When I’m sad that I can’t talk to one of them, I begin to question my sanity. But when you’re writing about them, they are very real. You think about them, wonder about them, and feel what they feel. And every song you listened to or place you researched or clothes they wore will haunt you everywhere. It’s both incredibly amazing and incredibly maddening at the same time. Especially when one said male character very closely resembles the seventeen year old boy I met many, many years ago and happens to live with me twenty four/seven. Then I get annoyed when he doesn’t act like my male character. What is he thinking?? Doesn’t he know not to do this or that?? Geez!

I will continue my shameless journey of self-advertising and since I am currently unemployed, (and I prefer to call it laid off, because I was and it sounds much prettier), I promise myself to remember the creed I established above. And before I even think about putting down one single word of the second book that follows this one, I will burn said above creed into my brain. Because my mind hasn’t quite returned from its vacation of sensibility.

Happy dreaming!

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