I never write at night.
I never do anything at night
I feel like this makes me uncool, night owls are such wondrous magical people, working without the sun, into the wee hours of the morning, creating worlds and stories when everyone else is dreaming.
But for me, as soon as six pm rolls on around all I want is a hot shower and a movie. (And tea, and yummy food and a blanket, and minimal people around me.)
But tonight, on this Thursday evening, i’m trying to have the best of both worlds. I have my blanket, tea and I’m even watching Elementary, (yasss) but I’m also writing a blog. It’s only seven thirty and I’m definitely going to go to bed before nine, but I’m writing a blog and it’s dark so i declare,
AMIE IS A NIGHTOWL.
For my first appearance as a night owl, I’m going to discuss the shift between writing my book and publishing my book. I am struggling with the move from creator to business woman.
‘Esther’, (This is what I think i’ll refer to my book as, she doesn’t actually have a title, but Esther is my protagonist, and it’s her story), has been my refuge, my challenge, my love for the last few years. I have invested a thousand hours (more?!) into my manuscript. I live half my life in my story, I spend half my time with my characters. I’ve have written and written and written. I cry about my book. I smile about my story. I feel good about it. I feel proud of it. I hate it and at the same time I really I love it.
I serve the story, and for the last few years the story has been my world.
Now the story is nearly done, and I have done absolutely nothing other than write my book. (and run my beautiful little Instagram community, I cannot forget you), but essentially, all I’ve done is physically write this book.
I know nothing about, nor have I spent much time, thinking about publishing my book. In the last few weeks, I have felt so acutely aware of my ignorance about this matter it’s not funny. I am SUCH a first timer at this. I feel like a child. I honestly just don’t know what the best next step is. Here is a splattering of some of my queries:
- Where do I want to publish?
- Do I want to publish in England or Australia?
- What are the differences in the two countries publishing processes?
- Do I want to go through an agent or a publisher?
- How do I make useful connections with people?
- Can I use my Instagram to help my book?
- What is a pitch?
- How do I pitch?
- What events are important for me to go to?
- And if I manage to go to one how does one make small talk with important people
- What if I fucking hate small talk?
- What is going to give my story the best chance at success?
I don’t know the answer to any of these questions and I know there are questions that I should be asking that I don’t even know.
Over the years I have attended several, quite frankly wonderful, courses at the Australian Writers Centre. The AWC is a hub of creative support and energy and if your’e Australian, and you haven’t already looked into them, do it. I will hyperlink the shit out of this paragraph and you can look at their website. In the midst of one of my panics about my lack of next step knowledge, mid way through a google (I just hyperlinked google for fun)-search that was open ended and badly worded, I decided to reach out to the owner, creator, the mind behind AWC, (Small pat on back to me? Every tiny step counts right?). The Wonder Woman, Valerie Khoo not only replied to me quickly and kindly, but offered to ring me to chat things out. Honestly, I’m so grateful. What a patient woman.
My phone call with Valerie was big for me. I opened the conversation with the question as to how I could use my blog as a means to help me publish my book. But the oh-so-wise Valerie pointed out that this was entirely the wrong question. She asked if I had been to the many different events just down the fucking road from me, the opportunities to meet agents, publishers, other authors. Getting my name out there. I hadn’t even heard of them. I don’t know how I missed it, I guess because I just – wasn’t – looking. She asked me what my pitch was… lololololol i had nada. Valerie was immeasurably patient and kind with me but she wasn’t going to beat around the bush, that’s not her style. She reminded me that I have a lot of work to do, and it’s got nothing to do with editing my manuscript anymore.
I think what it comes down to is this, I haven’t been thinking about my book as a business. I’ve been looking at it and seeing Esther, James, the island of Wisteria, and the pain and love and magic that resides there. I haven’t forgotten that I want others to read it, but I don’t think i’ve realised that my dream to share my story means that my book needs to be treated like A BUSINESS.
Don’t poop on my magic book with business talk.
But that poop is necessary. Because I really want YOU to read what i’ve written, and I want to hug you and thank you and then read your book and and be two happy authors together, happy authors who have physical, money making manifestations of our writing.
Valerie gave me her time, and I am so thankful for her wise words but now it is my turn to choose what to do with them.
(Update is 9:14pm?! Hoot hoot!)
Not proud about the next paragraph, but this is how I’ve been dealing with my wake up call these past few weeks.
I’ve been completely immobilised . Sitting down and doing nothing felt better, safer and less scary than facing all of this, I don’t even know what ‘this’ is. This world. This writing world. It seems so big, and I am so foreign to it. Such an unknown. I feel so young. I hate being all of these things. All of those things are so lame. I want to be in control and experienced. But I am not, and so I have spent the last few weeks with my head in a lil hole. It was dark, cozy, warm and it did nothing for me, it did nothing for Esther.
My head in the hole choice has also left me feeling angry at myself. I may be knew to the game but I’m not a fucking idiot, I need to get going, move, start researching publishing houses, agents etc, keep my ear to the ground for events, get my pitch ready. I may not have experience, but i’m a bright woman and the internet exists… ya know?
This blog is a part of my process I think. A regrouping of my thoughts, connecting to you all as my community, confessing my past few week’s sins, and announcing to you, to me, to Esther, that even though I dick around for a really long time, eventually I do my best.
We may not be experienced, we might feel too young, we might even feel too old, we might have no connections, we might hate meeting strangers, but we want this. We are not defeated. We cannot lose, because we have not quit.