Thursday, April 25, 2013

On time

Be careful what you wish for. That's a good one. Succinct, curious, insidious. How getting a wish granted could possibly be bad I believe is the entire premise of several, really-terrible, horror movie franchises. A more mundane example is my Facebook page's recent status update, my ascension to 30 likes. That had been a goal of mine for months, because it had been advertised that if one's page earned 30 likes or more, then one could view their marketing data: how many people were viewing the page, how often, how many times had it been shared, or talked about, etc. Before I hit 30, I could dream about what might be happening. Now? Well. Ignorance is bliss. Another good one.

This very morning I received the first mock up for the cover art for what looks to be the August release of my fourth book in the Where Shadows Lie series (a tiny, tiny goal of mine is to say that enough so that when I start abbreviating it to WSL, people will understand what I mean). It's going to be an eight book series, so I guess that means this year will mark the halfway point. So far, it's been an interesting journey. I'm carefully phrasing an email to get the best possible cover out of the artist, efficiently and constructively. My first cover, admittedly, I was just so happy the book was even getting published I didn't give hardly any feedback at all. As I'm working through the edits, on my own time, of the book to follow the one coming out in August, I'm seeing the things my previous editors have seen. What might be too much, what might be too little. When I'm being too clever for the reader's good. With the first book, I was much more confident that all the pieces of the puzzle were there, so long as one was invested in figuring it out. As several reviewers have intimated, not everyone is invested in being invested. One thing that hasn't changed though is I am still uncomfortable marketing myself. And that I have no idea on how to get better at it. What has changed is that I know more people, and just about every other day I'm presented with an opportunity to meet more. I chatted up another fellow author about her publisher, and the conversation ended with me giving her a pdf of my first book, and getting a link to a few review sites, along with permission to use her name in the introductions.

After reading my book, she showed me a draft of her review. Several compliments outnumbered the single criticism (improper use of pronouns, apparently), and one of them was that the book was very good livre noir. And for those of you, like myself, that have no idea what that means, allow me to copy and paste from the poorly translated French Wikipedia: "Title that is given to a book whose purpose is to reveal and / or terminate a state of affairs, abuses or crimes , real or supposed, based on records , usually secret or little known, and testimony . The Black Book is often a target and political significance, in that it is not always impartial and often causes controversy." When something like this happens, I typically talk to people who read the book also and get their opinions. I feel like there was some agreement, but only after conversation. A lot of "I can see..." and "That's one way to look." Also as usual, I shrug and take the compliment. I wrote a story once about the idea I named the Consensus, and about the nature of things. About how what a thing is, is determined by the most people in agreement on what that thing is. That the sky is blue because the largest group of people want it that way, and the same thing extended to technological innovation. If a large enough group believed something was possible, then it became possible. Anyway, I was reminded of that idea when I imagined myself looking back, years from now, listening to a bunch of people who had decided what the book was, and that just becoming fact. But then one could also assume that just because an author wrote it, that means they know best what they wrote, whereas the finer truth is probably that the author knows best what they tried to write, why they sat down in the first place, how they felt as the words spilled out. 

I guess the future will always be mysterious, no matter how advanced the present gets. Over dinner this past weekend, my mother wished me happy birthday, then later talked about how many scant few years she has until retirement. I felt a countdown start inside me, as if I had some obligation. I say that almost as if I don't. 

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