Friday, October 21, 2011

Starting the Journey

The genesis for my new blog focus is somewhat sprawling. It’s taken me a long time to figure out what I want to say about the real world (fiction comes easy). But I like to think that when a course of action is the right fit, there will be multiple paths leading you to it. Even if you make some strange choices along the way, if you’re paying close attention those paths will wind you right back to where you’re supposed to be going.

I started thinking about “the author’s journey” about a year ago, during a period of time when I found myself answering lots of questions from debut authors. Questions like:

How do I prepare for a school visit? How much do I need to self-promote? How do you deal with a bad review? How important is a blog, and do I have to get on Twitter? How do I explain to my friends that writing is a real job, not just a hobby? What kinds of questions are my readers likely to ask? Where can I order cheap bookmarks? I’m dying to see my book on a bookstore shelf--how do I get bookstores to carry it? Will it ever stop being really cool to see my book on a bookstore shelf?

I could never purport myself to be a true authority on any of these things, but I found that I had answers to the questions, and a perspective to share based on my experiences. It seemed to be helpful to people. And I wanted to continue talking, because it felt reassuring to know that the years of struggle since my debut novel sold might actually be relevant to someone other than me. In other words, I’m starting to feel a lot less alone in the world, and the best thing I can think to do with that feeling is to share it.

I found this video of myself at an SCBWI conference almost two years ago, and it pretty much sums up my feelings…

…even though I didn’t immediately recognize the full meaning of what I was trying to express. At the time, it was one of my first video appearances, and I was just happy that I didn’t come across looking or sounding like a total idiot!

Many paths, same destination.

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