It’s published! It’s out! It’s like some fantastic language rollercoaster in the fact that I want to do it over and over again. In the Desert is available in print and as an ebook and can be purchased on Monkey Puzzle Press’s website or on Amazon. Read a bit of it, here.
As an writer, it’s easy to become overly excited, to dream too far between the lines. It’s impossible to forget, however, that there is still an incredible amount of work to be done.
There is the marketing end of things, an end that I have never reached or even come close to reaching. Marketing success is based on a self-satisfying equation of money + effort. In this case, the effort will need to be greater than the money.
To realize success, I need to first define success by establishing expectations:
1. A chapbook will never, ever make money. Ever. It will never become a bestseller. My chapbook will not make money. It will not become a bestseller.
It’s true. This isn’t so much a book in the grand scheme of things as it is a business card. I will buy many copies of my own text (it’s true) to send to agents, colleagues, and publishers along with chapters of the novel I’m working on and hope that this something real and tangible in the world catches their eye. It’s a text that I have loved and poured over, that I have invested so much of myself and my imagination within. But what it is is a beginning, a very small beginning that serves a very large purpose: taking my language, my vision, and putting it out into the world.
It will not make money. Most books and most writers never do. That cannot be a goal. And I cannot define my success by it. I could write about a dollar, maybe take a bit of the pressure off…But this chapbook? The goal isn’t financial security and independence. It isn’t a bestseller. It won’t be a twitter sensation. What it is is a beginning.
2. Don’t view publication as an accomplishment. This is merely one step towards a greater dream and vision. Enjoy it, celebrate it, but don’t fall into the trap of believing that this elevates your self-worth.
This needs little explanation. Don’t view it as an accomplishment. Don’t celebrate it. Don’t revel in it. It is just a step, a point on a map moving endlessly towards new stories, new audiences, new discoveries. Don’t stop walking. Don’t stop writing. Keep the chaos moving forward.
3. You’re talented and can craft a good story. But so are millions of other people. You aren’t talented. You got lucky. Be grateful.
It’s true. I’m lucky. I’m lucky that this publisher got started. I’m lucky that I wrote this text and that this editor happened to be in just the right mood and in just the right frame of mind. I’m lucky that he read it sometime after midnight after one too many bottles of wine and that he saw something between the lines. It’s hard to get published. It’s not about talent. It’s not about skill. It’s about the luck of the draw, finding that moment when all things align. Be happy. Be satisfied.
4. Your journey is just beginning.
It’s time for the marketing machine to begin. Marketing, not for the sake of making any financial gain, but marketing so that this book becomes something in the world – a strange science that depends entirely upon its readers. A book is something that only happens if it is read and most importantly, remembered.
Regardless of my hopes, dreams and desires, all things depend upon and are constructed for my reader. There is nothing else, no one else that matters within the context of this equation except you. It’s taken many years to realize this very basic truth about the art of writing and the art of publishing (two very separate realities). Writing is selfish, is ego-centric. Writing depends only upon me and the the breadth of my memory. Publishing depends upon you, revolves around you, centers on you and yours. There is no publication without you, without your presence, your force, your imagination. I write for myself. I publish for you for without you, this all means nothing.
My greatest expectation: to be read by one person of no relation and to be touched by that reading.