09 April 2013

How Old is Your Book in Book Years?

by Carrie Bailey

"Hi, my name is Carrie and I am an independent author." I said nervously.

"Hi, Carrie," groaned the room full of supportive peers. That was when I broke into a frantic explanation of how wanting to get reviews of my books had caused my life to spiral out of control... 

"...and then I blackmailed the guy, which I know is wrong, but..." 

Every time I take my writing career to the next level, I feel like I need a support group to confess to. Maybe that's why I host this multi-author blog - to surround myself with other people who can and sometimes do look me straight in the eye and say, "Yes, you're going too far. Put the gun down."

That's just my overactive imagination talking. I AM FINE.

Or am I? Last night, I had a Skype conference with Clark Brooks a writer I've long been convinced is a comedic genius and a favorite of mine to read. He was struggling with the late stages of assembling a book he'd written and found the process incredibly discouraging. I'd been there before, but I'd gotten past that hurdle of frustration and doubt. I have three short works, which I've put together and released through Amazon and Smashwords. By the time I finished the third, I felt like an expert.

Come on a tangent with me for a second into the details of my life for one moment... I'm a single mother who, most of the time, was too young to be raising a child without the support of the deceased father, my family, or anyone really other than neurotic social workers who wouldn't take, "You need help more than I do," for an answer. My now 17 year old is an only child.

I can say that bringing a book to life is a lot like having a baby. It's overwhelming. You might call it off after one attempt, as I did with parenting, but where I can't confirm that children are easier to raise in batches, I will say producing books does get easier with experience. Though I am at the infant stage with both of my books. I released The 3 Indispensable 3 Rules for Taking Charge in February of this year and followed up last month with Bungle of Oz. It was like having twins.

Clark, my friend, is still pregnant. No wonder he is nervous. We authors have to support each other through this.

But, me? Yeah, I'm still a frantic new author. I don't know what I'm doing or how to get meaningful reviews. And I'm so proud that I'm over sharing on social media and bragging about each minor accomplishment my books have.

"Oh, isn't that so cute!" I say to the other indie authors on Facebook. "Someone has written a positive review for my book on their author blog. And look there! Three people have retweeted the link to it. And what's that? A sale. Author so proud of her little booky-wooky."

Let me get my wallet out, here's a family photo:

Sob!! They grow up so fast don't they? Wail! Boo-hoo!

You can slap me now, but "How old is your book in book years?" How many do you have? Has it gotten easier? Do you know what to expect now? Can you remember what it was like the first time?

No, by the way, the books do not actually compare to my son. But, he has taught me a lot about life and what a person can achieve with time and patience. He's brought me coffee when I slowed down. He's shared my work with his friends. He's been my number one fan.

When I look at him today, I don't see the struggles anymore. There were times when I couldn't believe I could even keep him alive and safe and out of jail and still in school and free from tattoos for another month. I cried for help every other year, desperately and with a box of kleenex while hiding in my closet, but in the end I have a handsome, healthy, good natured son.

Anything worthwhile requires dedication. I've learned that from parenting and I now apply this hard learned lesson to every great endeavor, especially writing. Doing anything new takes time and patience and I've also learned that 17 years can go by incredibly fast. And I've also learned that anything worthwhile will be hell 80% of the time until you arrive. My son has prepared me...for ANYTHING.

Now, as I cradle my infant books in my file folders, I know if I can be a good parent to my son, I've got a fair shot at being a good author to my little booky-wookies, too.


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