Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Twice A Year, And No Mistake




It's that time of the year again, and no, I don't mean Christmas.
It's time to launch a book!
When I was no more than one of those writers wading through untold pages of words, lost somewhere in a manuscript that seemingly had no beginning and no end, while a publisher was sitting on my shoulder and waiting for me to get done with the editing, I promised myself this one thing:
If I ever get published, if this impossible tome ever can be turned into a book worth publishing and I get that elusive book deal, then I'll work my behind off to be a success.
Two books a year, that was my goal. I wanted to publish two books a year, even if it broke my back.
Even if the house never got cleaned again, lunch would only ever be cold and slapped together, I was determined: this would work.
Or rather, I would work. And work hard.
Back then, I had no idea that working hard at being an author would mean so much more than putting out two medium-sized novels a year.
In fact, the novel-writing is like the dessert in this brand-new author world.  Granted, it's a BIG dessert. It's a dessert that makes up most of the meal. But man, the main course and hors d'oeuvre are like fish and birds with many, many bones. Small bones, too, that can get stuck in the gullet easily.
Let no one fool you: being an author means more than writing books. You have to sell them, too.
You have to have the guts to walk into a bookstore, your book in hand, and tell people "Hey, look, I wrote a book and it even won an award, why don't you put it on your shelf?"

Yep, I did that, twice.

One bookstore (a big one with a BIG English department, right here in Hamburg, Germany) wouldn't even give me the time of day. If it isn't at the top of the wholesale recommendation lists we aren't interested, and have a nice day, grasshopper.
At the other one, though, here in my small hometown, they were thrilled, and ordered it right away.
They asked me to come in and sign the copies they had put up – not on some obscure shelf, but on the counter, where everyone would have to see them.
My novel "The Distant Shore", was sold out within two weeks.
In Germany, and a book written in English!

Here is is:



A moment of glory, I can tell you.

So now, in a few weeks, they will be able to put book #2 up there, right next to new copies of book #1, and I'm especially proud of that because I made them do it.
My publisher was delighted, and praised me for my initiative and sheer guts.
It wasn't really that hard.
I believe in my books. They are my product, I wrote them. I created every character, every scene.
If I'm not prepared to go out there and promote them, who will? It's my job, part of my job as author.
Remember the bones I was talking about earlier?

A couple of days ago I told my publisher I wanted to get somewhere with my writing. I wanted to be a success so I could have that Porsche while I was still young enough to get in and out of the damned thing.
They laughed, but I swear there was more than a trace of respect in it. They love my ambition, because it tells them I'm on track, working my behind off.

So now it's time to launch my second book. Here it is:





Not long now. Just a few more days.
By the way, book #3 is written and submitted. Book #4 is well on its way to being finished. I'm guessing by Christmas.
As I said: two books a year, and no mistake.
There has to be a reason why my publisher likes to call me frustrating and obsessive.
They always add, "But you're also imaginative, articulate, silly and cute, kind and gentle, and a really good egg all around."
I kind of like the "frustrating and obsessive" though. It will get me the Porsche in the end. Silly and cute  – not so much, I'd still be using the bus.





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