According to Chadbourn, "It’s tough to get a book published. It’s tough when it is published. And it gets tougher." Thankfully, I'd done enough research in advance of being published to have fairly realistic expectations. It alarms me that so many aspiring writers, and acquaintances in general, have a fairy-tale impression of the publishing industry that goes something like this: you toss off a few words - c'mon, anybody can do that! - then get your book published, rake in the cash and live happily ever after, you lucky bastards! Oh, and Oprah looms large in their rosy imaginings.
I saw a video clip on Facebook this week that takes a humorous look at one of the realities new writers face: suppose we gave a book signing and nobody came? Then there are the insulting advances, the absence of real marketing for their books, the years of slogging before royalties begin to show up - if they ever do. The list goes on. My particular challenge at this point, though, is what Chadbourn describes as the immersion of the modern writer in the online world and the reader communities. He wonders whether writers should run in the opposite direction, and this is an issue that hits me right where it hurts. As a matter of fact, within the past months I've cut back severely on posting on my personal blog and disengaged from four online communities, all in an effort to focus on writing once again.
It's a huge bugbear. New writers are now expected to do all their own promotion which entails, apparently, no eating, sleeping, or anything else but being everywhere online all the time. In my experience, the part of me where the words reside goes further and further into retreat the more I immerse myself in the online world. I'm desperately trying to find some kind of balance: just the right amount of online engagement that allows me to return to the writing place and get the job done. Much as I delight in the online fellowship, much as I enjoy learning about the industry and my fellow writers, much as I treasure the feedback from my wonderful readers and the reviewers who have, every one thus far, been extremely complimentary and appreciative - much as I love all that and would never want it to go away, my first job is writing. And we 'new' writers have to do whatever it takes to keep the words flowing.
I'd love to find out how other writers handle this - especially since I'm more and more tempted every day to abandon the world of Google Alerts, Amazon reviews and obsessive e-mail checking, unplug the Internet, and retreat to my writing space indefinitely in order to survive as a creator.