I am discovering that writing is no different than any other passion. Once it becomes business, it is difficult for it not to loose something. Today I was at Marshall County Library for an author appreciation day. The event was very well done and my compliments to the Library staff. They put on a first class event.
The bad news is, hardly anyone showed up. Granted it was a sunny Saturday afternoon but you have to pick a day and go with it and I assume people would prefer to get out on a day like today than a snowy or slushy winter day.
There were 20 authors and, excluding author family members and library staff, about 10 interested readers. I sold two books each at a discount to another author. It took me roughly 4 hours to prepare for drive to and participate in the event.
Unfortunately, this event is not an outlier. This is closer to the norm for writers. And that leads me to the business aspect. Writing for me, stopped being about just writing about three novels and a couple of short stories ago. You have to write, get published, market your fingers to the bone and then try to write anew.
The marketing part is the most frustrating and incredibly time consuming. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, calls to media and follow up calls, and follow ups to those follow ups, and about 100 (literally) emails per interview opportunity, all take up time and energy.
I have been trying to write a sequel to Going Green and quite frankly I am doing a TERRIBLE job this time. I write a weekly column now. That gives me exposure which is good, but it requires research which is bad. Word limits can be a challenge. It takes me much longer to write 750 words on a topic than it does 1500 words on the same topic. I can usually explain a concept in great detail. Trouble is, nobody has time to read that much explanation. So editors like word limits. To write succinctly is much more difficult for me and more time consuming. All that being said, writing time on my new novel suffers.
Today was….shall we say interesting. Of the 20 authors, 10 were writing on the occult, vampires, werewolves, wizards…not my bag. But BOY is this stuff popular now. If only I had made Ashley a wizard. Meanwhile, one author had just signed a 6 book deal with Simon and Schuster. I have to wonder if I will EVER sign one of those. Yet I would not be interested in that authors type of stories. I cannot come to terms with why so many people are into this genre but it is a multi-million dollar genre so I guess I am the oddball.
I sense that people want to escape. It’s enough to make a writer want to go back to writing humor. I have felt so serious lately I am not sure if I have a whole book of funny in me anymore.
A quick note. Two people were out of place today. I say that in that they were above the rest of us. Their stories were higher. Their stories were greater. Missy Jenkins was there, courageous survivor of the Heath Shootings, as was Beth Baker.
Missy wrote a book titled “I Choose To Be Happy”, Beth wrote, “Giving Him Back To God” about the loss of her little boy Caleb. I was honored to appear with these authors and have written them both a note of encouragement. No one moved any books today and that can be depressing. But these ladies in particular deserved better.
Don’t get me wrong, everyone was extremely nice and the library staff was wonderful. They have no control over public interest. MAN this is a tough business.