Thursday, February 1, 2018

Guest author Kathleen Kaska: A Study in Physics: Riding the Publishing Roller Coaster

Kathleen Kaska
Kathleen Kaska is a writer of fiction, nonfiction, travel articles and stage plays. Among her works are the award-winning Sydney Lockhart mystery series set in the 1950s, and Murder at the Arlington which won the 2008 Salvo Press Manuscript Contest. Kaska has also published three mystery-trivia books: The Agatha Christie Triviography and Quiz Book, The Alfred Hitchcock Triviography and Quiz Book, and The Sherlock Holmes Triviography and Quiz Book. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.

I’ve often been asked what it’s like being a published author. My answer has always been the same: it’s like hitching a ride on a roller coaster. You win a writing contest, which lands you a book contract. Your spirits soar. Another manuscript is rejected for the umpteenth time. You feel like tossing your laptop in the nearby stock tank. A reader tells you that your book was so entertaining and funny he bought several copies to give friends. You do a happy dance. Then some person, identified only by their initials, reviews your book on Amazon, gives it an average rating of three stars, and calls your writing “insipid.” You look up insipid to make sure it means what you think it means. It does.

You wonder if it’s all worth it. Then you awaken in the middle of the night with an ingenious idea for a story, and you’re glad you didn’t drown your laptop. Or you’re in your favorite coffee shop and can’t help eavesdropping on a shocking conversation. By the end of the day you’re using it in a murder plot for a new story.

Forget the downside of being a published author; it’s the writing that really matters. And in time you’ll realize that riding the roller coaster is part of the process.

By the way, the physics involved in moving a roller coaster cart up and down the track is quite simple: it’s the momentum gained by the force of gravity on the downhill slopes that gives the cart the energy to shoot up the next hill. That’s why the steepest hills are always at the beginning of the ride. Without the downhill slopes, going uphill would be impossible.

If you view writer’s block, rejections, less-than-favorable reviews, and all the other unpleasant surprises that come your way as opportunities that propel you forward, those plummeting descents won’t feel so frightening.

This post is an excerpt from my latest book, Do You Have a Catharsis Handy? Five-Minute Writing Tips, a collection of my blog posts written for and published by Cave Art Press.

I’m giving away three copies of Do You Have a Catharsis Handy? To be eligible, leave a comment. It’s always a delight to hear from readers.


Maggie King said...

You're right when you say it's the writing that matters. Thanks for sharing your insights.

Neil A. Waring said...

Your roller coaster analogy is most appropriate. Selling books seem to be either a great high or a bummer low. But, the writing, it is all about it.

Liane Spicer said...

Welcome to Novel Spaces, Kathleen!

As far as the roller-coaster goes, I think I've acquired some measure of equanimity over the years. Of course, I just might be fooling myself. :D

Kathleen Kaska said...

Thanks everyone for your encouraging comments. Yesterday I was slaving at my desk in the office, so I'm just now getting around to sharing. Writing this type of book was not only fun, but a necessary learning experience.

Anne Louise Bannon said...

Boy does this hit home. But, yes, it's all about the writing. Must remember that. It's all about the writing. It's all about the writing...

Picks by Pat said...

A great blog post. Nice to hear from a fellow writer about the ups and downs of being a writer. I was dismayed when I got my first one star review. Now? It just sails over me...and I'm working on another novel. No time to worry about the past.

Kathleen Kaska said...

Good advice, Patrick. It is ALL about the writing.
Patrick, sticks and stones, right? Best of luck on your WIP.