Wednesday, February 23, 2011

One step forward . . .

I don't like to use the blog to complain. I'd like to think that's not a reason why I don't update as much as I should. But if this is going to be about my writerly life and possibly share any wisdom at all I need to include the bad news with the good.

Not like I have really bad news, just the daily aggravations of being a self-promoted author.
I had to cancel an appearance today. It would have been the first appearance for Borrowed Trouble. It was to be in Sedona, AZ. which is a beautiful place. Last time I was there was for the Sedona Film Festival with my movie so my associations with the town are very positive. That was the screening where the woman who was supposed to do the Q&A afterward couldn't do it because she was crying too much after the film. Apparently I struck some sort of nerve, which is the point of art, isn't it?
We had to cancel the workshop at The Well Red Coyote due to illness of my co-presenter, Deborah J Ledford and it is in no way her fault. She is, to quote her "at death's door" with the flu so better to postpone than infect a whole room of book lovers. I love Deb and she has been incredibly kind to me so I wish her good health and a speedy recovery.

Trouble is, this is the fourth signing appearance I had been counting on. First off, I know it is my fault to count on anything in this business, or hell, this world. But four? Come on. Throw me a bone here.
All I want is to get out and share the book and, yes, sell a few along the way. I've said many times before that I don't expect to make money at this for a while so the pleasure in having a new book out is actually meeting a select few who might read it and getting out to event that make me feel like a writer. Now I've had the piss poor timing to miss the Mystery Bookstore closing by only a few weeks. I have an invite to come to Chicago and when I found out I will be there in a few weeks for work I thought, great! Get the network to pay for my plane ticket and do a signing at the same time. Perfect for my self-financed book promo workings. To make a trip to Chicago just for a book signing would be a colossally bad financial move costing me about $50-$75 per book I might sell. And only that low because I could stay with my sister for free. But the store's schedule was already booked solid for that weekend. Missed it by that much.

I still might do it later. It's about getting in front of people. One brick in the wall at a time. My frustration right now is that I feel like I'm on brick 2 with Borrowed Trouble and the wall I'm building is getting smaller.

Lucky for me I am still stubborn and naive enough to not quit. These frustrations will continue in one form or another. After more than half my life in some sort of DIY attempt to get my work out there - be it music, film, painting or writing - this is just standard operating procedure. So do I get frustrated? Sure. Does it make me want to throw in the towel. Nope. I don't have it the worst out there, not by a long shot.
I go back to a great quote my Steve Martin, of all people, when he was asked about what it takes to succeed in stand up comedy. What he said applies to any art form though: "Be undeniably good." I'm trying my best, Steve.

And as proof that it's not all bad and I can't get too upset about anything, this week has also been great in other ways. I was invited to contribute a story to another anthology. Man, there is nothing like being invited to the dance. So flattering and such a boost of encouragement that came at just the right time. I also had another story accepted by a favorite publication of mine so I'm thrilled about that.
Working on two stories that are due Monday and thinking about getting to the revision of the new novel.
Oh yeah, I finished that. Draft one anyway. I like it, I think. We shall see. My sixth novel. Crazy. Man, I hope people get to read this stuff.

Note to self: write down where my wife can find all this stuff if I die suddenly. After all, there's no better way to stir up interest in your unpublished work, right? This gives me an idea to start a string of pen names and start killing them off one by one. Imagine making a great living off staging your own death time after time. Sounds like a story . . .


pattinase (abbott) said...

This is horrible, Eric. I really hope things get better soon. If it's any consolation, the book signings I attended in La Jolla last month had sparse crowds and the people were mostly there for something to do. Or they were local. I think no one except Robert Crais had filled their chairs all year. So it's not you, it's the crappy world.

Chris said...

I don't think you're complaining. I think there is a misconception that simply publishing a book means BIG TIME. Sadly, it isn't. I admire your perseverance; makes me realize that I'm not alone when I sink into my own abyss of frustration and self pity, heh.