Post-Publishing Depression

I wrote a novel last year, and last month I published it. Some authors fill in this space with details of euphoria, the wonder of seeing their name in written print, and the blissful ease of spouting off 85,000 words that needed no refining or editing.

I feel those things. It’s great (besides the editing thing—every writer needs an editor, whether they think so or not).

It was also hard. Very hard.

It was Saturday after Saturday crouching over my keyboard, watching the blue sky darken and imagining it was the last sunny day of fall that would happen in my lifetime. It was night after night of frustration, pre-occupation, and contemplation, as I lived in two worlds—one that I can do nothing to control, and the other that is subject to my every whim. Balancing the two realities is like trying to paint a landscape while holding a seat atop a bucking mustang (the horse, not the car). It was person after person coming back with my manuscript and telling me to “change this,” “re-write this section,” and “make this part better because it’s not good enough,” subjecting my already fragile ego to the whims of critics who, I worked to convince myself, actually knew what they were talking about.

It really wasn’t easy.

In the sweetness of post-published, it’s easy to forget the hard parts in the delight of my name on the cover of a book.

In the uphill trudge of self-marketing, I remember it again. Having published, I’m now marketing. Yesterday I emailed almost a dozen influential people, introducing myself, asking to guest post on their blogs, asking them to read and perhaps review my book.

So far, everyone has said no. Although to my practical mind, this makes sense (influential people are busy, or something like that), to my ego it’s a gentle reminder that none of them need any favors from me.

Mine is the small platform, the new book, the person that no one has heard of.

Mine is also the vision, the goals, the desire to work hard to do what I believe in, to make a difference, to foster and help my novel grow, because I wrote it and I stand behind it.

It’s not easy. But I think someday I’ll look back and acknowledge that it was all worth it. At least, that’s what I’m hoping.

Here’s a link to my book:

https://www.amazon.com/Cup-Anneliese-Rider/dp/0997838213/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

Check it out, maybe buy it, and write a review on amazon!

And thanks for reading what I have to say so faithfully.

 

 

 

Doughnut. Doughnut. Doughnut.

The desires of an audience are always changing. In some cases, they want you to be intentionally vague:

“Core speed 5x faster than before.”

“Packed with twice as many nutrients as our previous version.”

“Tomorrow, fly to work.”

They don’t want to know right upfront, really, about the processors that make the speed faster, or the chemicals that brought out the nutrients, or what and how you’re going to fly to work tomorrow. It’s the idea that if you give the general picture, people who want to know more will do the research, and everyone else will be content with what they’ve been told.

In other instances, though, it’s not helpful being vague. Imagine going to the doughnut shop to buy a doughnut (without knowing what flavor you wanted), and when you arrived, every one was labelled:

“Doughnut.”

“Doughnut.”

“Doughnut.”

It would be ludicrous (especially now, in the age of ‘if-you-can-invent-a-flavor-we-can-doughnut-it’). People would complain, because even if it was clear what they were from looking at them, there is a certain amount of comfort in the over-explanation when it comes to making choices that directly effect you.

When you’re writing, figure out how much information your audience wants, and provide them with exactly that. Not more, not less. Not only does it streamline your writing for clarity and purpose, but it also makes it much more enjoyable to read.

A Month of Sundays

Authors are notoriously dilatory. They seem to live by months of Sundays, rather than the typical gregorian calendar month. Although it is hard to get your writing written, with dogged determination, a will of iron, and a hard deadline, it’s a little easier.

If you’re going to make a commitment, keep it. It will earn you long term respect.

And if you realize you can’t keep it (Aunt Bertha passes away, your computer falls into the Adriatic Sea, a piano falls on your head and erases the rest of your plot-line), tell whoever you’re writing for as soon as it happens. Not three weeks after it was due.

Don’t be a ‘month of Sundays writer.’ Be an, ‘on time, good condition, just like I promised’ writer. It’ll get you a lot farther in the long run.

Persistance in Writing

When college teaches you how to write an essay, you learn this structure:

#) Tell them what you’re going to tell them.

#) Tell them.

#) Tell them what you told them.

Or, simply stated, say your point three times to really drive it home. Don’t be afraid to be persistent; that’s when people remember what you said.

Don’t be afraid to say it again. It makes it memorable.

Repeat your main point. It will be annoyingly unforgettable.

Jim Beam and Writing—Part 1

There’s a billboard in Chicago that  millions of people see daily. It’s on the entire side of a several story tall building, located at the on ramp for the interstate in and out of Chicago.  It’s for Jim Beam’s bourbon. It’s simple: on the right side side is a bottle of Jim Beam’s. On the left, in large cream-colored letters against the dark background, it claims, “The best in the world.” And near the phrase is a seal from the contest or convention (the light turned green before I could read it) that chose it as the best.

Without the seal, the words would be mere conjecture. Someone, somewhere, picked up the glass, took a sip (or a swish, or a taste, or a swig), slammed the glass on the counter, splashing little droplets everywhere (classy whiskey drinkers everywhere shudder), and said,

“This is the best d*** whiskey in the world!”

But that wouldn’t actually mean anything to anyone besides him. To make a statement that bold that means something, it must be backed up by more than solitary opinion. If you call your horse the fastest—it needs to have won gold in every race since it started running. If Grandma June ‘makes the best chocolate cake in Missouri,’ everyone in Missouri must agree. And when your clothing label is more durable than all the other leading brands, go ahead and tell people. But only if it’s been tested to be absolutely true.

It’s a quick way to lose your credibility—because everyone has “the best” cake recipe, the “most durable” clothing, the “fastest horse” (or car, or train, or internet speed). If you are quick to make claims about your product (animal, clothing, recipe) being better than everyone else’s, no one automatically believes you. They are instead instantly on guard, thinking of their own amazing thing. It’s not to say that yours isn’t wonderful—but people are usually partial to their own.

Come back tomorrow to see why it matters in writing.

 

Advertising

As a self-published author, ideas for marketing and advertising are always welcome. Self-marketing is a struggle; networking is hard in a small circle.

Continuing the effort to publicize, I stumbled across this page. The ideas are fresh, creative, and intriguing—exactly what I want my advertising work to look like. As the contest to promote continues, I am reminded continually of how key consistency is. It’s about doing, doing, and re-doing something. We’re creatures of habit; finally, after multiple repetitions (seeing the same add four dozen times), we may remember it.

Don’t lose heart in your marketing and advertising. The struggle is real, but it is worth it. At least, that’s what they tell me.

What if it Rains

Setting up the full sound equipment for a choir and band to perform outside, for instance in a park, takes an extensive amount of effort. Between speakers, wires, and every small technical detail, by completion it’s been several hours of labor, lots of sweating, and a good amount of tactician’s effort—how things need to be positioned to sound the best, where they’ll be out of the line of vision (but still effective), and the wires that need to be set and draped to avoid a rats nest of tangle.

All of this, and what if it rains? You have to pack up and clear out quickly, to save the equipment. Even if the band only played for five minutes, rain doesn’t make the process worthless—but it certainly feels that way.

Sometimes you spend a long time on a piece, working very hard and putting your best into it.  Then something goes wrong; someone doesn’t like it and ‘they’ only have negative things to say about it.

That doesn’t invalidate it. It is always worth it to write.