A word about B. F. S. – Before First Sale
Published writers caution us newbies to savor the pre-publication days. Once you make that first sale, a dozen new challenges arise. Of course we don’t believe them. It has to be better to have achieved the validation of selling your work than to struggle along in obscurity.
I suspected I was close to that moment weeks before I received the e-mail. Yes, not a call. An e-mail. I was walking on clouds for days. Still am. Then I remembered that I would be expected to set up a webpage, and begin all that publicity stuff that falls on the writer. Going to conferences and being on panels. Doing blog tours, maybe even book signings.
My goal has been to write. To improve. To create stories that might touch a person in the moment that they most need distraction from the trials of everyday life. These are the things I have enjoyed when reading my favorite authors – living in a different place and time for a few hours. Elaine Veits’ Florida or Margaret Coel’s Montana or J. R. R. Tolkein’s Rivendale.
Before readers can experience my world, they have to know the book exists.
I am finding the publication journey like training for a marathon. I ran my first marathon six years ago. I ran again the next year. Then I found I had a choice to make, due to time constraints. I could run competitively, or I could write. Marathons are a commitment of time and energy that I could not continue while working full time and writing.
In training for a race, there are times of escalating intensity, followed by “rest” times of shorter runs, while you allow your body and mind to recuperate. I am going to enjoy this lull in the process while I wait for Stone Cold Dead to be released.
But I won’t be idle. I am finishing another novel, working on short stories, and learning about publicity. How much is needed, what are the costs in time and money, and which methods are actually effective. If I am going to continue writing for the long haul, I will need to budget my time wisely.
So there is publication lesson #1. Prioritizing your time.
A note about donkeys –
The donkeys in Stone Cold Dead are plain little gray and brown creatures, although they possess unusual charm and intelligence. The photo here is of donkeys running wild at Eleven Mile Reservoir in Colorado. They were kind enough to pose for photos.