Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Step one: Leap of Faith

In this journey to self-publishing, I'm learning all kinds of things. The first and biggest thing get nowhere without a good and strong support group around you.

I have someone behind the scenes holding my hand saying do this next, then this, then this.

I have another (or five) someones I call and cry to. I can't do this. I'll never get it done. My book sucks. No one will buy it.

I call those same five someones plus the first one and say OMG, I'm a genius. This book will make eleventy million dollars! 

To all of those phone calls these result is the same - Keep on working. You will succeed. You are brilliant but get a hold of yourself. (Actually they say, Of course it will make all the money! Then they hand me a sedative.)

But at the end of all that, even with all your troops rallied around you, arms linked like you're in an epic game of Red Rover, there comes a moment when you're alone at your computer and it's time for the next step and you have to do something...take a leap of faith.

Just like Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade, you take a step then scatter pebbles to find your path...only a thousand times more scary.

You must hit send. You story goes whizzing off into cyberspace and it is what it is. There's no more tweaking, there's no more editing, there's no more making your characters change. It is done. It is out there. And at the end is your own Holy Grail. 

I sent the first half off of my novel to my copy editor yesterday. My stomach instantly tied in a ball and I thought of at least four things I should do differently in the book. I shouldn't. It's been through the wringer. It's been read and edited and read and revised and read again. Then gone through and revisededitedread again.

But still, the moment I sent it crushing panic and terror set in. I can't ever make it better than what it is now.

Why do writers have that voice in their heads telling them it's not good enough? That no one will love it? That their story will fail? It should be the opposite. I think people will connect with Ellie and River and Sam and Connor. I think I have crafted a good narrative. I think the sweet kisses and sexytimes will leave, happy. So why the doubt? Why the fear?

Because being a writer is being an artist. Some will love it, some will hate it, and while it's your work they are judging it feels as if they are judging you. It's personal. Even if you write a story about aliens that communicate through messages written in Nutella on the Planet Shrinky Dink, it's personal. If it isn't, you didn't write the right story.

So here's to all of us taking that leap of faith every single day we sit down and let the characters in our heads come to life. Here's to the days we give them to our friends to read. And most of all, here's to the day we share them with the rest of the world.

Irene Rose will release her debut novel CHARCOAL AND HOT CHOCOLATE, June 4th, 2013.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Things change but only for the better.

Hey friends. If you're not in the world of publishing then you might think it goes like this.

1. Write a book.
2. Send in book.
3. Get huge check for all the money.
4. Live on the beach because your job as a writer is glamorous.

Hold on while I laugh/cry.

It's not even close to that.

First you write a story. You tell a couple people.  They ask you these questions.

1. How many pages is that? Then this conversation follows. Me: I don't know... how many it takes to hold 70 thousand words? Them:What? OMG. I can barely write a grocery list. Me: You could do it. Them: So it's easy? Me: *Kicks self repeatedly* No.. Um, it's not.. it's just... *drinks all the wine*

2. So when's your book coming out? I want to buy it. You sent it out to three agents last week and haven't heard back yet? Sorry you failed. You should do it this way. I read on the internet this is how it's done.

I wish I could say who I had this exact conversation with, but I'm guessing they read my blog, but dear person, just shut up, okay? Love ya. Mean it.

The thing is, it doesn't work like that. There are things to do. And for me, who is self-publishing, there is still so much do to and coordinate and if I had an agent they would be doing all that for me. But I don't, so it's me and my unbelievable support team. Seriously, my writer family can rally! But bottom line... A has to happen before B before C. And if it doesn't? Derail.

3. What's your book about?

I'm not sure how it is that I can write tens of thousands of words, breathe my characters night and day, wrestle over the tiniest plot details, know what shade of lipstick Ellie prefers even though it isn't in the book, write a query, a synopsis, and a tagline and still get blank face in a moment of white hot terror when someone asks me this question.

What is that about? My answer usually starts off something like, "It's about Ellie and River and they're art students and they fall in love but it's complicated and their parents and they're in college and she has two best friends... Then I finish up with the ever impressive... and you'll just have to read it.

Okay, no. That's not the right answer.

The right answer is: Ellie and River have finally found someone who gets them, each other. They are awkward art kids who should fit among the pretty people, but don't. Ellie and River have completely different upbringings which have defined who they are today. Is their new found college romance strong enough to make it, or will tragedy and hardships get in the way, putting Ellie right back in her shell and River back to being alone.

See? I can articulate.

My point is writing is scary. Publishing is scary. But oh so delicious. And I'm so excited to have a real book in my hands. In. My. Hands!

But there's so much to do to get from typing Chapter One to Ta-dah! It's a book! 

So here's the real reason for this blog. I have to change my publishing date.  You remember how all the letters had to be in place before the next one could happen? There's a hold up on aisle five. But I can promise you this, it will be worth the wait.

New pub date for CHARCOAL AND HOT CHOCOLATE is June 4th, 2013.