I had quite the surprise today on my day off from retail hell – the author copies of my first book showed up at the door. They are shiny, and physically real. I can hold them in my hands, and show them to the neighbor. (I had the sudden urge to spell it “neighbour”, the British English I use when I’m writing is taking over my brain.) There’s definitely something about holding an actual paper copy in my hands of my book. The digital releases have been very exciting; the first time I saw one of my books listed on Amazon – wow – what a rush.
But this is a very special first time. When I was 12 years old and dutifully, and at times frantically, writing my first Wren the Detective stories, I dreamed (“dreamt” in Brit-speak) of the day when I would hold that first book in my hands. It only took a gazillion years and a lot of real-life drama for me to plow through, but it just goes to show ya’ – never give up on a dream. Ironically, I sort of had. Not completely, since I had to have some ambition to get the thing out there, some hopes, but I had let go of the desperation to make it happen that used to drive me. Particularly in the music biz – oh Lord, what a nightmare that was.
Writing for me now has become something I can completely immerse myself in and enjoy. I’m not saying this just because I got published. I’m not exactly burning up the NY Times bestseller list here, but in my own little corner of the world, it’s really nice. In the realities of the entertainment business – and I had already cut my teeth in acting and music – most, and I really mean MOST – people do not make it big. If you survive with your sanity and don’t o.d., you’re doing awesome.
But this feels like a good beginning. It’s a tangible result. I’ve seen some royalty checks from both self-pubbed and traditionally pubbed efforts. I’m going on a year in the writer business, getting paid to write something that I created. Again, not enough for me to run screaming from the crazed, clothes-throwing, subhuman tourists, but enough to be really grateful to receive each month. I’ve had positive reader and review site response. My editor has been wonderfully supportive and complimentary. I just signed a contract for the new book series I’ve been yakking about, and filled out the book information form for the publishers. The first 50 K installment is turned in for edits, and I’m starting Book 2. So right now, it all feels as though it’s headed in the right direction.
The most important thing to me personally? What is more exciting to me than any other actual event related to the writing? The floodgates have opened. My mind is going constantly in a way it hasn’t in literally almost fifteen years. In terms of fiction writing – more like thirty years. In the last few days, I’ve tossed out another 8 K words on a mainstream sci-fi romance that’s been festering inside of me the last couple months. I jotted the main ideas down, and pushed it aside to make sure that my gay firefighters from Mesa Arizona could get together and live happily ever after. But as soon as I turned that in to my editor, I started going to town on this other one.
It feels GREAT. Maybe something really big will happen with it, and maybe it won’t. All I really care about is getting it out of me and on paper. Okay, so if I do publish it, it will definitely be an ebook. But it will also be in print, because when you’re living your writing dreams, paper really does trump digital.
And as promised, Lord Chumsley, the Wonder Lizard: