One Little Victory!
BEING AN INDIE FICTION writer is no walk in the park. When you have no agent, editor or publisher in your corner, ordinary tasks such as getting your books into bookstores and libraries can become time-consuming and deflating. When I published my first short story collection in 2019, I initially struggled to find libraries that would accept a copy. I eventually did get that first book into a few libraries, but the entire process was much more involved than it should have been. Multiple librarians informed me that they only consider books that have been reviewed by the L.A. Times, New York Times, Kirkus, or hold a spot on a bestseller list. I politely asked those librarians if they would review one or two of my stories and make a decision based upon the merits, and I was impolitely told NO.
That’s why I was incredibly delighted last month when a coworker approached me in the office and said “hey, take a look at this,” as she held her phone in front of my face. I typically hate it when people hold a phone up to me and ask me to look at something, but I made an exception because she is a friend of mine. And there it was — a photo of my most recent short story collection, White Sail, Blue Seas, sitting proudly upon a local library shelf among other recently published books! My coworker explained that her friend had spotted my book on the shelf and recognized it as mine (her friend had attended my book signing event at a local bookstore in November). I have no idea how this particular library got a hold of my book, but there it was nonetheless, sitting upon that regal library shelf in all its paperback glory!
It’s easy to become distracted and discouraged as a fiction writer, especially when you are doing it all on your own. Let’s face it — fiction writing is a lonely business. But I have found the best approach is to just keep scooting on down the road, one sentence at a time. I’m not much of a social media promoter, as I don’t carry a phone in my personal life and I use the Internet as little as possible. However, I have had some success by simply introducing myself in person to local bookstore owners and librarians and slowly building relationships over time. I’m a firm believer that if you consistently do good work, the results you seek will find you.
Until next time, keep those words churning and those fingers flying…
J.S. Lender’s new short story collection, White Sail, Blue Seas, is on sale now!
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