It was just over four years ago that I naively decided that I could write a book. Where I am now versus then is a huge change that has gone largely unrecognized by me. My first book, The Halley Traveler, remains confined to my hard disk and has only been read by a handful of people. When I wrote it, I was still reeling from the death of my mom. The main character, Cris Halley, is forced to deal with the sudden murder of his last parent, in this case, his father. I was projecting. It took me several years to notice but like me, he was sent adrift, without an anchor into the world. What to do with his life from then on was a problem for him to face.
There is possibly one person who still has a copy of my 35,000 word disaster of a first draft. I half-jokingly fear will one day be made available to some mysterious public who would care enough to ridicule my debacle. I rewrote Halley seven more times. This last time, I followed conventional (and correct) advice and set it down to focus on something else. That something else turned into my Grahme stories. I have a four book series planned and two prequels. There is a possibility for at least another trilogy set in a different time period. I have not gone back to Halley in over 17 months.
The best thing I did at the start of my writing journey was to join James River Writers. It’s a local writing group and I learned how much I was doing wrong. I also learned that writing the book is the easy part. Publishing and marketing your book is where the work really starts.
Hear I stand, a couple months out from publishing my first book and rather being excited (or overwhelmed) about the launch, I find myself focusing on the list of things I have to do next. The conventional wisdom is that I should slow down and celebrate this feat. I disagree. Stopping to celebrate is more likely to derail my efforts than not. I look forward to when I finally hit send and my book is available to the masses. It will be a relief, not a celebration.
Once it’s launched, I have to find out some way to market my book to the masses. There are millions of books published every year. How do I insure that my Becoming a Druid is seen in the forest of new releases? And I have to finish book two. And I have to get the business side right. And I have to find some way to engage with the public about my book. My time to sit back and celebrate will be when (if) I get a five star review from a reader. Until that time, I can’t rest; and even then, only for a night before I’m back to the grindstone. Writing is hard. The business and marketing side is hard. And I wouldn’t change it for anything.