My fifth novel came out yesterday. In traditional publishing, books always “drop” on a Tuesday. So I was in fine company — other major house releases all appearing on the same day — which led to a deeper understanding of just how very much content there is out there.
And thus a severe crisis of faith, on this glowing day of new beginnings.
We authors are like kids in a classroom, frantically flapping our hands above our heads to be seen and called on.
For me the day was going to be different, not just from ordinary days when I don’t have a book coming out, but from any of the other four days in the past when my prior books dropped. See, I was known for going out on what media called the world’s longest book tour, months and months spent on the road with my family, traveling to bookstores, libraries, and book clubs. …
Up till now I’ve written on Medium about writing. And I’ve written about my journey to my first (unpublished) manuscript, and to getting my first agent.
But I haven’t gotten anywhere near up-to-date, what’s happening now in my career.
Because there are literally twenty years to get through.
I have been in this business for two decades. Seven years spent as a published novelist; thirteen years trying to be one.
I want to share all the steps in between with you — not skip over a single gnarly one because I think they really hold the power to give writers a swifter, smoother path toward their own writing success. …
I wrote eight novels over the course of eleven years before I finally broke through and got published. The first manuscript convinced me that publication was my goal. I’d been bitten by the bug and there was no going back.
Getting there, however, would turn out to be harder than anything I’d ever done in my life.
I realize that makes me lucky and privileged. I haven’t had to pick as a migrant worker or enter coalmines or do roadwork on a Nevada highway in summer.
But I’ve scrubbed toilets in the homes of people who didn’t do that kind of thing for themselves and been a nanny and a clerk at a supermarket. I’ve worked on a suicide hotline, helping people in their darkest hours of need. …