by Mare Ball @ ADVENTURES IN THE BALLPARK
I hit a marker this week I thought I might never reach.
I finished my book.
As finished as I can make it, until an agent, or publisher wants it, and then I understand I'll be writing it again. Or, at least editing it to the point that it will feel like rewriting the thing.
One of my favorite quotes regarding writing is "A writer doesn't finish her work; she abandons it." I love this quote because it has proved true for me with every project I've ever written. I would edit endlessly, if I didn't, at some point, just decide I've done my best, I've done all I know to do, and besides, I'm kind of tired of this project. I've come to that point with the book I've been working on for three years.
I was surprised this moment was kind of anti-climatic. I think it's because I now have to decide if I want to find an agent, or directly pursue a publisher, or self-publish, or take my ms to Staples and just have a copy printed for myself. Truth be told, this last option appeals to me the most.
I'm dreading the next step - selling myself. I wrote a non-fiction book, and with those, publishers want 20-50 thousand blog visits a week to feel confident in your following, your engagement with prospective buyers. I have about 250 blog followers. You see my dilemma.
I'm an unknown, unproven writer. I think my book is unique and well done, but 20 thousand other people don't think so. They don't even know I exist.
So, I'm reading the 2014 Guide to Literary Agents. I'm researching publishers online. And I'm saving up all my Staples coupons and rewards points just in case.
I'm also praying that God will make it clear to me what He wants me to do with my three-year project. On any given day, I feel confident about one direction, and then, the next day...another option seems better. It's been a roller-coaster ride since the summer. Every night I place my book in God's hands and say, it's yours, Lord. What do you want to do with it? Whom do you want it to reach?
I have my ideas, but I'm learning I don't know enough about publishing to choose a path without some divine guidance. I've never felt comfortable in the business world (I've always worked in the non-profit world), and publishing is a very competitive, massive business. I'm a little guppy in a big, rough, swirly ocean.
Having said all that, I'm moving forward in my research and hope to choose a path by the spring. My book is about Christmas, so my goal is to close the deal, one way or another, by June 2015. This will give me six months to market before Christmas 2015.
I had hoped things would be in place by this Christmas, but fibromyalgia intervened, and then health issues with my dad, and then I sustained an ankle injury, so "the book" ended up on a back burner more often than I had hoped.
I have to tell myself, it's OK. It will come together when it comes together. Otherwise, I'd be in the loony-bin. It's so easy to stress over my writing. I have to consciously remind myself that my writing is not life or death.
I've written a book. And I've finished it. That's why I'm celebrating today.