Frank McCourt published his first book, the phenomenal Angela’s Ashes, at the age of 65. I remember hearing this, over 20 years ago, and thinking, Mercy, I hope it doesn’t take me that long!
Guess what? Last month, my first memoir, Paradise Road, made its world debut. And I turned 65.
There are other late-bloomers out there, and I’m not complaining. I’m grateful to have found a wonderful publisher, Lucid House, and a place to publish my forthcoming memoirs—at least three more. One of my goals was to be traditionally published. This is not to disparage self-publishing, but I had a dream. I queried and queried, and held onto my dream until the right doors opened.
My publisher is a bespoke publisher, which means I get lots of personal attention AND a say in lots of areas where other publishers don’t indulge their authors: cover design, release date, fonts, promotions, and photos. My publisher/editor and I share deep spiritual roots, and have real life friends in common, even though we’ve yet to meet in person. She and her son, who founded the publishing house, are wonderful people. I couldn’t have landed in a better spot!
As to how it feels…It’s kind of a mixed bag.
I’m thrilled by the positive feedback I’m getting from readers, and the glowing reviews they’re posting on Amazon and Goodreads. This part is truly the icing on the cake!
I still haven’t laid eyes—or hands—on an actual copy of my book. Ordering and shipping author copies from the States is a bit more complicated than I’d expected. But that’s OK: lots of friends are posting pics of my book, so I know it’s really out there.
With my aptitude, writing a book is far easier than promoting it. I think a lot of authors feel this way. I’m a slow learner and a quick forgetter on social media, so this aspect weighs me down. I’m hitting walls and glitches with Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, and my new website—my major promotional tools so far. These tasks never proceed smoothly for me. And I feel my time evaporating when I can’t master a task after spending hours clicking and retrying. My writer’s soul wants to get back to writing: my happy place. Instead, I’m hanging around Facebook and rattling the gates on Amazon.
I want my book to do well, to go places. To find as many satisfied readers as it can. To spread a message of hope and faith. To entertain and be a bright spot in these days of restricted movement and connection. To eventually land on the NY Times bestseller list… I say this half-jokingly, but can’t an author dream?
My moods go up and down. I wake up happy, remembering my book has been realized, and then plummet when I think about the chore of self-promotion. I wish I was a tech-savant, and not a fumbling Boomer. I wish I could have a real life book launch party, and invite all my friends, and sign real life copies out of a box. And drink wine, and hug. I wonder if I’m dreaming too big. I chastise myself for thinking too much about the book, not wanting my life to be swallowed by a single pursuit. I miss my pre-author life, when I could get up and write and not worry about promotion and websites. I miss working on my current work-in-progress, sadly neglected by its book mother as she fusses over her newborn.
That’s how being a new author feels… at least today. It’s not pure, unmitigated joy. But I’m not complaining– just sharing from my heart. Thanks for listening…
P.S. If you haven’t visited yet, you can check out PARADISE ROAD: A Memoir, on my new website, https://www.MarilynKriete.com There’s a new blog there, too. And a Book Store where you can purchase it.
Categories: Birthing a Book
Well said! What you say is true, and the best advice I’ve gotten so far is “once you’ve launched book 1, start writing book 2”. I’m actually writing book 4 while I await the others to work their way through editing and cover design, but the principle stands! A bit of time on promo/social media/promo… then back to the blank page! Best wishes and thanks for sharing!
Thanks for your response, Daryl! I’m in book 4 as well–and actually set aside a few hours today to get back into it. Hit the 30K mark today.
Excellent questions for a book club!
Love to you.
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I will pass on your info to my friends!
Does it benefit you more to purchase from any particular site?!
Can’t wait to get the final printed copy in my hands!
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I don’t think it makes much difference where you buy it. Thanks, Joanne!
Congratulations! Your post feels honest and I can relate. Keep writing!
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