I have been writing for as long as I can remember, so I finished writing many stories, and at least two books before I finished the first book that I would try to publish. That book was Winning Cait.
I was pondering this weekend as I finished the edits for what will be my eighth published story – Playing It Cool – whether the feeling has changed since then. And if so, for the better, or the worse.
When I finished Winning Cait I knew who I was trying to sell it to. I wrote it in a style that I hoped would be appealing to Ellora’s Cave. I had read their authors voraciously and I knew at that time, I wanted to be one of them. Unfortunately, my brief time with them was at the end of their shooting star, I just didn’t know it then.
When I finished Winning Cait I was relieved and nervous. I remember tentatively giving it out to a few beta readers and hoping for the best. I remember labouring over the synopsis hoping to do the story justice so that someone would read it. And then submitting and waiting. And waiting. And waiting.
The experience of the latest book is 100% different. It’s self-published, so I don’t have to worry and labour over the synopsis and question will a publisher want it or not. It will be available for pre-order before my editor returns her final remarks. But the nervous excitement is still there. Wondering what will readers think?
At the end of the day, that is the big question? Regardless of whether it gets to their hands through a publisher, or through self-publishing, the only opinion that matters is yours. The readers.
I would like to think that anyone who writes a book and publishes it and asks for your dollars in return for our time and our creativity (and the not inconsiderable costs we put in to it have it edited, the cover designed, and the final product formatted), are doing it because we want you to be entertained. To gain something from the experience of reading it… even if it is only a few hours of escape after the kids are in bed.
The other interesting feeling, which hasn’t changed for me since book one, is that the book isn’t done. In my heart, I can’t let it go. I keep thinking, “Oh, I should have told the story about the time Jim and Jane did X, or went to Y. You live with your characters, they are inside a writers head and sometimes heart and they have so many tales to tell, and it’s up to us to determine which ones make the cut. It’s not easy.
So as I get ready to publish book number eight, I revel in the fact that there are still butterflies in my stomach. And that I am still invested in the characters I create. It hasn’t, yet, become just a job. I hope it will always be more than that.
And I hope you will keep reading.