Who knew writing a book could be so hard? Okay, well, probably everybody, but what I learned may surprise you if you haven’t yet experienced this particular form of torture.
Let me explain…
About a year ago I found myself faced with some pesky health issues that led to some unexpected surgery. Nothing too serious, thankfully, but the recovery was a bit longer than I had anticipated. Long story short, we decided I needed to focus on getting better which meant resigning from my job. Scary, but it felt, somehow, right.
After a few months, and after getting both the kids off to college, I found myself faced with some long days and not enough to fill them. My husband “gently” suggested, over and over and over, that I give writing a try. Honestly, it was never something I had given a lot of thought. Sure, I had oodles of stories rumbling around and fighting for space in my brain, but putting them down on paper seemed daunting and, frankly, not really me. But, I picked up the laptop and started typing.
Wow! It was an amazing experience. The words flowed and the story took shape. Sure, there were days when I didn’t know where the story was going and if I was going to be able to do the characters justice, but thankfully those days were few. In a few months, I had my first novel. What a jumble of emotion…excitement, contentment, awe, and even a little bit of self-congratulation.
So, here I was with this completed novel and I thought all that remains is to self-publish, mention it to a few people, and see what happens. Right? Wrong. Oh, so wrong.
First, there’s navigating the uploading and formatting of the book on Amazon’s Createspace…a circle of hell Dante apparently forgot to mention. Chanting over and over to myself, “I shall overcome,” I waged war and eventually conquered. Kind of. Fine, I’ll admit it, I was reduced to tears and had to call on college student number one to help me. Looking back, it probably wasn’t as difficult as I made it and I remain hopeful that the next time will be easier. (Repeat to self until it sounds believable).
Next, there’s marketing the book. I quickly learned mentioning it to a few friends and casually posting on Facebook to my 175 friends probably wasn’t going to cut it. There are things like soliciting reviews from respected reviewers, creating a website, blogging, joining Twitter (yes, the college students blocked me), and learning about keywords, search engine optimization, (SEO to the cool people), metadata, and so many other things that I’m really only pretending to understand. It is, in a word, overwhelming.
Then, of course, there’s the actual writing. Sure, the first novel is complete, but if I’m going to make a go of this, there needs to be a second and a third and…well, you get the picture. When am I supposed to find time to write when I’m spending all my time worrying about the stuff after the writing? Good question. When I have the answer I will be sure to let you know.
So, I continue to plod along and try to fight my way through the haze. It’s slowly clearing. I’ll keep you posted.