Late Winter Update

I started this blog back in October 2015 as a way of describing my peculiar version of ‘the writer’s life,’ and more specifically, my efforts to get my fifth novel out into the world. So I think it’s time for an update on my progress. I have to say, it has gone pretty much the way I expected: A smattering of good reviews but little in the way of actual sales. I’m OK with that: When you set low expectations, it’s easy to be satisfied when you meet them! I’m actually pleasantly surprised by the good reviews, since I was really expecting to get hammered, because people are so mean online these days. And I know my book has flaws—you always hope they’re insignificant enough for the reviewer to overlook. As for sales…I shrug. I don’t think it’s just me. People’s Kindles and bookshelves seem overly full right now—I know mine are—and we seem to be in what I hope is a temporary, seasonal downturn as far as book sales are concerned.

I’m using the lull to revise the Kindle version of NM, since something weird happened with the paragraph indents when I uploaded it. I always forget that KDP will stick in extra indents when you upload a Word doc; though not with an ePub, which I should have submitted. I admit to being a total technophobe; it’s amazing I was able to even start this blog. Unfortunately, correcting the matter is very tedious business, going through the entire manuscript paragraph by paragraph, and then having to preview the thing a dozen times or so to make sure it’s just right. But I just know if I do get a bad review, it’ll probably be because of that (“Amateurish formatting dims what might otherwise be a stellar effort…” See, I can write my own reviews!)

And I have decided, in what I can only describe as a stupidly optimistic leap of faith, to begin a new novel. I’ve set aside the screenplay for now—I’ve gotten a bit stalled with it, and don’t quite know why, maybe because I already know how all the action is going to turn out. I’ve literally set it aside, placing it on the bookshelf beside my desk, on top of the dictionary and thesaurus and Chicago Manual of Style, indicating that it is still indeed a work in progress—if I was ditching it, it would go into the big cardboard box beneath my printer stand. (I used to have a file cabinet, but I got rid of it, when I realized stuff was going in, never to see the light of day again.) I didn’t really want to write another novel, and a contemporary, adult novel at that, but I’ve had this persistently annoying little idea that I can’t shake, and all of sudden, while having my breakfast coffee and trying to read the local daily, the characters started to form themselves in my brain. I think it was the Obituary page that triggered it, since I am morbidly fond of reading the obits of complete strangers, whole lives compressed into neat little paragraphs overladen with adjectives. The heart wants what it wants, and my heart wants to write another novel. Go figure.

So this also means I am putting a halt to my plans for a review page here, since I don’t read other people’s fiction while writing my own. But I have read some this winter, and thinking on that…I decided I could do my fellow writers more good by posting the reviews directly on Goodreads and Amazon, where they might actually do some good. So I’ll be doing that…and reserving this space for carrying on about this crazy vocation of ours. I say ‘ours’ because so many of my followers now are writers themselves—gone are the days when only friends and relatives read my blog! And that in itself is a bit of an accomplishment for me.

I’m saving my next post for Leap-Year day, because how many chances do you get to post something on February 29th? I gave my writing students the topic of writing about leap year, and practically got shouted down for assigning such a ‘lame’ topic. I’ll try not to be lame, but I will detail the lessons—both bitter and sweet—I’ve learned from the last six months of writing and publishing.

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