The next person who tells me writing a book/novel/anything isn’t emotionally exhausting is going to get punched in the face.
You’d think people would recall their high school and college years when writing a five page double spaced essay was like the end of the world. Now, I tell people I wrote a book.
I do suppose we live in a world of Twilights and 50 Shades of Grays, so the art of writing a novel can be pish poshed if need be. (If you like those books, I’m more sorry you’re a fan than I am if I offended you, but no offense was meant regardless.) What happened to the days of Tolkien? Lewis? Enthralling stories like Dracula or stories about the duplicity of humanity like The Picture of Dorian Gray?
It’s hard being an emerging author these days. Just as with an actor, director, model, anything that has something anywhere near tied with the public eye has a waiting list all the way to hell. You have to have “this trait” or look “this way” or be interesting in “this many seconds.” We’ve become so attached to the idea of everyone vying for our attention, and it seems like no one is allowed to be themselves in order to get what they want.
I was watching a documentary of The Lord of the Rings the other day (judge if you will), and the publisher said, “Back in those days, if I said something was good enough to be published, it was. And that was that.” Wouldn’t it be nice if that was how things were again? A story about war and examining temptation and pushing the human mind to its utter limits, exaggerated to the point where it become nothing more than a fantasy world? Stories like that are hard to come by these days. Everything is infused with sex and language and “shock value,” and it seems like the heart of a lot of stories have been forgotten about. Now it’s all about publicity and money.
It’s one of the nice reasons self-publishing exists, although sometimes it doesn’t do too much to help the idea of books, either. Self-published books are, oftentimes, complete and total shit. Not all the time; I have definitely read a few stellar self-published books. But how do you find a way to stand out above the crowd? Grab a publisher’s attention? Make sure you market yourself perfectly?
It’s hard, but it’s doable. If you’re a beginning writer, I highly recommend trying out NaNoWriMo. It’s a really awesome exercise on getting you to get the story down. If you don’t know what it is and are hesitant to click on the link, quick lowdown: You write a 50,000 word novel between November 1 and November 30. And trust me, if you finish, it’s the most gratifying feeling in the world. Sure, you’re gonna hate your novel by the end of it (I still haven’t looked at it since I wrote it last year), but it’s a really intense process that helps you make writing a daily habit. You don’t have a choice. You have 1,667 words to write every day, and they aren’t going to write themselves. Practice, practice, practice.
If you’ve finished your novel, instead of just going through Amazon Kindle, you can go through CreateSpace. It’s an option I’m currently considering/utilizing. If for no other purpose, at least buy yourself a proof of your novel, so you can get a feel of what it would be like as a book. You can also self-publish it on to Amazon, both Kindle and Store because you can sell the paperback, and you can pay to have it available through other retailers like Barnes and Noble. You can even pay to promote a Facebook Page, like mine. (Yes, a moment of shameless self-promotion).
At first, getting your novel out there, you’re going to have spend a lot more money than you’ll make. But that’s okay. If you’re serious about getting anywhere, you’ll do it. And remember, there’s plenty of others out there (just like me) trying to do the same thing. Instead of using that as an intimidating point, take it as an opportunity to connect. You never know who you’ll find.
Cover image from: http://www.storyhack.com/wp-content/uploads/selfpubbed6.png