Thursday, July 29, 2010
The journey of my novel Patches of Grey from concept to printed paperback has been interesting, enlightening and surreal. Perhaps I'll share the story with you here someday, but not now. At the moment I just wish to say that there's a great deal of difference between being a writer and being an author, and the difference is probably equally great between self published author, indie published author, author with a book put out quietly by a big publishing house, and author with major backing from that publishing house because they believe they have a Best Seller on their hands. I've been a writer for almost as far back as I can remember. My earliest publication credits go back quite a ways to when the submissions process had nothing to do with email attachments and promotion had nothing to do with posting a blog entry, updating my Facebook status, or scribbling a tweet. My short stories have been read and discussed and written about and even imitated in high schools and colleges. There are people I've never met and probably never will who have seen my name attached to pieces of fiction. People have paid hard earned money to read my words well before having the opportunity at long last to read my debut novel. To them I've been an author, but to myself I've just been a writer. I say this because being an author means doing book signings, readings, giving speeches at workshops, teaching writing courses, being interviewed for magazines/radio/TV, discussing strategy with my agent and editor and publicist. In short, being an author means living the dream. I'm not there yet, and this has been in large part a deliberate choice rather than circumstances I have no control over. Plenty of writers have transformed themselves into authors without needing the involvement of a major publishing house. If you're willing to put in the time, spend some money, hit the pavement and keep your feet moving and mouth running, we are living in an era when the author's life can be self-generated. Many have turned out to be naturals at being authors. As for me, while I'm not quite doing the eccentric recluse thing like Harper Lee or J.D. Salinger perfected, I'm not out there renting billboards either. My promotional efforts have been done just about exclusively on computer keyboard, putting out words that perhaps catch your eye and make you curious to learn a little more, perhaps not. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I wrote a novel. If you don't, chances are you have no idea who I am unless you know me personally. This situation in all likelihood is not radically changing anytime soon, but I am taking a first step tonight on the journey from writer to author. So if by chance you happen to be in Sparta, NJ this evening I hope to see you, tell you a little about my book or just shoot the breeze about whatever comes to mind. I'd rather be writing what I'm writing than talking about what I've written, but I don't believe that living exclusively within my comfort zone is truly living. Life is about taking chances, doing what frightens you a bit, maybe more than a bit. It's about grabbing hold of the reins, going faster than seems wise, doing your best to hold on, and when necessary, dusting yourself off and climbing back on after a fall. I love being a writer and have long dreamt about being an author. Tonight I'll get a little taste, and who knows, I might even like it and come back for more.
Afterword: It went great! Think I'm about ready to step my game up a notch.