There is this terrifying place:
between the creation of a thing
it’s inevitable arrival
in the real world.
Falling from the sky
stomach in mouth
trying to track your twisting mind towards a water landing,
hoping no sharks wait to greet your soft offering.
Nothing to be done now;
it is out
on a silver platter
stomach in mouth
the timeless distance
I’ve typed the words, THE END, onto the last page of The Grove. Well, the end of Book One of The Awakened Trilogy, that is. See? There it is. Just above this blog post. It’s REAL. That, is nearly five years of thinking about it, researching it, toying with the concept and then six months of writing, almost every day. It’s a good feeling to type, the end. I’ve hard edited several times and handed it off to beta readers who I’ve asked to read and rip before I start the extra, super fun process of peddling my soul to the highest bidder.
My brain is now fried, toasted and making that zizzing noise it makes when you are done with one thing and trying to clear the debris of creation to get ready for the next big thing.
For creative sorts, like myself, here is where fantasy slams head-on into reality. This isn’t the Renaissance and families like the Medici’s don’t go around adopting wayward artists anymore; letting them create in a studio they’ve provided just because they love art in all its forms. Now, that would be the ticket, would it not? To have someone love what you do so much, that they sponsor you and take on the pimp role of selling your symbolic flesh and blood to interested parties while you get to stay in your studio and crank stuff out. Imagine that!
There are rooms in houses, basements, garages and attics filled with glorious art, photography, writing, sculpture, pottery and other feats of wonder that no one will ever see because the people who create these things are not marketing/sales/agents/promoters/pushers or pimps. They are creative souls.
We fantasize about waking in a place where all the tools we need are within reach and the day and night stretch out before us, eager to be filled with whatever we haul up from the nothing, to play with and shape and make into our art. Our dream is that one day, there will be a knock on our door. We’ll answer it with paint in our hair or a crazed seventeen hour writing buzz blazing in our eyes and there will be an angel knocking, wanting to bring our things out for the world to see. They’ll tell us they could feel the wave of creation pouring from this place and they just had to come and see what was here.
We do not want to write query letters and spend the last of our money printing and mailing and waiting for some kid, two years out of college, to reject our work because they, personally, don’t like Sci Fi-anything. We don’t want to have to sit down, after writing 105,317 words (The Grove word-count), and force ourselves to write some clever tag line or Book Blurb that becomes the only thing that grabs or bores a potential “customer” into buying or not buying our books.
Self promotion is a lot like doing your own dental work. Sure, I could get a mirror and some drills and shit, but I will probably just make a big, bloody mess because I can’t see what’s inside my own head like an outside observer can.
Hire someone, you say! Just for shits and grins, take a little saunter through the websites that list literary agents and see if you can find someone that WILL read a Sci-Fi Fantasy Adventure manuscript. One that has adult language, some sex, some violence and humor and its all wrapped around humans who are changed in order to save the planet from other humans who are wrecking it. Go ahead. I double dog dare you.
For every legitimate literary agent, editor and publishing company out there, there are two who have hung a shingle and know as much about book pimping as I do, and probably have the same amount of influence approaching the big dogs with my manuscript.
“You could have just written a Young Adult Romance novel because those sell like hot cakes and it doesn’t require the research or rewrites you did on your last one”, you might say.
Well, I did not. I did not because that is not what was pushing its way out of my head. This book, The Grove, is what was asking to be born, this time. I wrote it because I could not not write it. I have four other projects right behind this one, plus two more books to write in The Awakened Trilogy. Put on the coffee…
So here I am, big ole manuscript in hand, checking the M’s in the phone book for “Medici”, to see if they have any American cousins who might want to adopt me, so I can be their in-house source of wonder.
In the end, I’ll write the fricking blurb and the damn query letters. I’ll do all the things I will have to do to launch this project out into the world. If for no other reason than the fact that it would be epically pathetic to actually be living in Paris Hilton’s pool house.