Thursday, October 8, 2015

#Publishing A #Novel: What To Do When The Future Is Behind You

As you may know, dear mice, the effort to get my novel published has been a long and grueling, sweaty workout. I have spent many, many years looking ahead to the time when the book at last would have its day. Today, approaching the year anniversary of the novel's launch, it occurs to me that now all the forward-looking is behind me now.
     This is unexpected, friends.
     It's not that I am light on understanding the temporal and linear nature of the physics of time, or anything; it is, instead, that I am just so used to looking forward for glory, not backward. 
     It's all a bit disturbing to realize the thing I have toiled over has already come to fruition, had a lovely day in the glare of media attention, been read by several people in the world, and is now a thing, separate from me, and in my past.
     Now what?
     I need to look forward to something new. I am writing the memoir, but it's different--maybe just knowing that another book will not be the magic answer to all my human woes makes it so. I invested so much shiny hope into the novel; I believed so whole-heartedly that it would change my life once and for all!
     But no one ever tells you about the year after you publish your first novel. No one ever tells you that seeing the light of your first novel getting published will bring you to a sad realization. And the realization is that there is no actual "it" just around the corner that's going to change who you are and how fantastic your life is. Publishing a novel won't do it, nor will all the fame and fortune in the literary world. (And I'm guessing here based on a tiny, tiny taste.) Nothing does that. So you might as well get right with yourself as you are.
     This is one of the many secret they don't tell you.
     But I will tell you, oh rodents, because here I am, living proof that I am still I, still here, still the same with all the same issues and problems.
     I find this realization both comforting and depressing. I also know that you will not listen to me until you have gone through the experience yourself.  But when you get there, I hope, at least, you'll be a little more prepared for this cold splash of water in the face than I was.
     Peace out, for now.


Jacob Weber said...

I would guess that if you made scads and scads of money off of your novel, that would change your life significantly. I think J.K. Rowling's life probably changed before and after Harry Potter. But I can believe you that finally getting a book out there doesn't come with bolts of lightning. I finally got a short story published last year, and I thought it would at least mean that people would want to talk to me about my stories. But so far, meh. Not really.

I'm amazed every year when the Best American Short Stories come out that there isn't really a place to go talk about them. One woman runs a blog where she comments on them, and there are a few commenters there. But otherwise, I wonder if it even changes your life much to get into the BASS anthology? Might make it easier to publish again. And this is the real change for you, I think. You know that another book won't change your life, but you now know another one is coming. I guess that makes you a professional now. It may not change your life, but maybe it will change the way you write?

Emily Saso said...

"So you might as well get right with yourself as you are." Love that. Thanks for sharing this. You're right -- no one ever talks about this side of things. Especially the fact that all us writers do secretly expect our lives to change some after a book comes out. We're imagineers -- flights of fancy cannot be helped. :)

Writer, Rejected said...

I think the problem is that every writer secretly hopes to have a JK Rowling experience in life, but that is truly reserved for .0001% of us, in my estimation. My point being: Most of us publish and just go along with our lives, so it's good to have a life you love. I agree with Emily that we are both blessed and sometimes a tiny bit cursed by our imagination. Thanks for sharing...

Jacob Weber said...

It's probably kind of similar to getting married. You think that now your whole life is going to be better because you'll have someone who gets you now. For writers, the folks who "get you" are hopefully plural, whereas in marriage, it's usually singular. But the idea's the same. You'll never be alone, you'll never feel like you don't know what your purpose in life is, etc. But if you weren't happy before, eventually, the new will wear off and you'll be right back where you were. Good to keep in mind.

Not that it will keep anyone from putting forth all their strength to get that book out, just like the marriage business is a multi-billion dollar company every year.