From the desk of W. J. Onufer…
I was listening to an interview on the radio one time and the person being interviewed was a guy who did motivational talks with youth groups. I don’t remember his name, but he came from the streets, made all the mistakes, turned his life around and made it his life’s work to help teens do that for themselves.
I should have made a note of his name. But I didn’t. It’s too bad, because he said something I’ll always remember. In the interview, he mentioned that one of the teens came up to him after his talk and said: “I want to do what you do.” He came back with the perfect response. He said: “But would you do what I did?”
Now, the issue here is not troubled youth. The issue is about a person who has gained a level of recognition and the time and energy it took to get there. Years of hard work and obscurity before fame. And no one is interested in those years of obscurity. They only want to know about the fame.
This hit home for me. I’ve taken several years of my life to write about my Vampire gal, Hadley Price. The first of her novels will be published and released soon. In that time I’ve also written one other novel-length Hadley story and other Hadley-related writing projects. And those are currently going through the editing process.
The point is, just writing a book is a hellacious amount of work. Just learning how to be a good writer and going on to actually doing it fairly well is a saga in itself. But the thing they don’t tell you, in all your lit and writing courses in high school and college, is that once you’ve managed to travel the blood-on-the-typewriter journey to its conclusion and actually produce an honest-to-gosh book, what do you do with it then? What’s the next step? It’s like the young musician in the school band. They may get good at playing, but there’s nothing in there on how to get gigs and do it for a living.
I’ve been a writer all my life. For the last several years I’ve done that exclusively in exploring Hadley’s world and the interesting lifestyle of the Vampire race. When Beckman’s Folly is finally released, I figure I’ll move from writer to the status of author. With that graduation, I’ll leave all of those lit and writing courses behind (or rather take them with me) to go …where?
Uncharted territory. It’s something totally new and outside my experience. It’s something I know nothing about: book publication and promotion.
As a new author, with a book that isn’t even out yet, I’m currently dipping my toe in the deep end of the book promotion pool. But I’ve seen, so far, that this is going to be a hellacious amount of work. Just learning to be good book promoter and going on to actually doing it fairly well is going to be a saga in itself.
I won’t go into detail except to say that I’m currently developing a learning curve on several fronts. The term “learning curve”, as I’ve finding out, could be defined as: “you’re going to make mistakes, but you’re going to learn a lot of stuff in the process. And you may or may not look stupid doing it.” Yes, I’ve got a sign on my forehead, glowing in neon lettering, that says: “Newbie.”
Every time I feel a bit intimidated by it all, I remember those words of wisdom: Would you do what I did? Why is that quote so inspirational to me? It gives me a perspective. I am now at the beginning of the “did” portion of that. It took me several years to write Hadley’s stories. There’s no reason to believe that the next step in that will be a quicker process…