Being a writer is sometimes described as lonely or isolating. In some ways, I suppose it can be both lonely and isolating, but that has never really been my experience as a writer. Perhaps, that is because I share almost everything I write, almost as soon as I write it. For me, writing is all about communicating and sharing with others. I feel the same way about reading. When I read something written by another person, I have a strong desire to talk to that person, especially if the writing touched me deeply. I used to write a newspaper column and that was the perfect forum for me because I knew people would see my column within the next 24 hours. Whether I knew who was reading it or not, I knew someone was reading it. Expressing my thoughts, feelings, reactions, or even my version of events with at least one other person was very satisfying to me.
Of course, I could have done the same by talking to a friend, or writing a letter, but knowing that I was writing for public consumption made me much more reflective. When I wrote a column I was always looking for the meaning of the experience, or the irony in it, or even just the funny ending. When I poured my heart out to a friend it was more random - a stream-of consciousness sharing of thoughts, feelings and experiences. If it had more emotion than a column, it probably also had less organization.
Writing a novel was definitely more isolating than writing a column simply because a novel is so much longer and requires more sustained concentration. Still, I had the desire and the need to share it with others way before I even began looking for a publisher. I know that most novelists have early readers whose insights are invaluable to them. This was true for me too, but what was most valuable was knowing that there was someone out there who would read this way before it would be seen by the general public.
I guess as a writer I have a need for immediate gratification (just like I do as a dieter, a gardener, and anything else that takes more than 24 hours.). I am not good at waiting for feedback. I know this is a weakness and shows either a lack of discipline or a lack of maturity on my part, or maybe even both. Probably both.
So now I find my inpatient, immature, undisciplined self being challenged by the inevitability of the LONG WAIT. My publisher told me the book would be released at the end of August, but Amazon.com does its own thing. I was shocked and delighted to find it listed on Amazon as available for pre-order. (I may have to write a whole blog on the strange term "pre-order.") I allowed myself to believe the wait was already over.
The first 48 hours of pre-order status was amazingly fun! I told friends via Facebook and emails. Orders started rolling in, and for 48 hours the book was in the top 10 bestsellers in the Angel category on Amazon. It went up to number 3 for a few hours.
At number 5
It even had the status of Number 1 Hot New Release in the Angel category. It confused me a little because the book is not actually about angels, but it does have a character that could be an angel and it certainly could make a reader think about angels.
Now, 4 days later, the book has dropped to 63 in the Angel category. I knew that would happen after the initial flurry of orders from friends, but here's the hard part. People will not receive their copies until August. Books stores won't get copies until August. I won't get copies until August. So what can I do other than wait?
My son and his wife solved this problem for me. I don't have to sit around and wait. I can promote my book by driving! They had large car magnets made from images of the front and back cover of the book. I can now shamelessly promote my book every time I drive!
Just yesterday, I drove all away across Massachusetts, and when stuck in a long un-moving line of traffic on the Mass Pike I was secretly thinking what a great chance it was for people to see my car magnets. When I got off the Pike in Lee, I was again stopped in traffic. There was no one beside me, so I wasn't really thinking about who could see my car. But I should have been thinking about it, because the woman in the car behind me apparently could not see my car at all. She rear-ended me and lifted the back of my car off the ground. Apparently horrified to see what she had done, she backed up and my car slammed onto the ground. It all happened quickly and I was pretty shook up.
But when we exchanged information, she DID notice the magnets and I casually mentioned that she could pre-order the book on Amazon. After all, she had just rear-ended me. It seemed like the least she could do. Especially, since I have to take off my beautiful magnets now. When she rammed underneath my car, she broke the muffler and now I attract attention just by driving....negative attention. So, for the time being, the self-promotion-mobile will simply be the please-don't look-at-me-like-that-I-can't-stop-this noise-until-my-insurance-company-sends-out-an-adjuster-mobile.