Hello, dear readers, and welcome!
It seems like only yesterday I hit the "publish" button, and Clara Claus became a book that all could read. Time really does fly...and here we are, year 7, with the final book in the Snowflake Triplet released today! It's an odd, though exciting, feeling.
Typically for my anniversary I put out a post with tips I've learned from the past year's publishing. But this year, when I tried to think of what I wanted to write, I couldn't think of any specific publishing tips I wanted to give (not that I haven't learned anything!).
This is, I think, because most of my growth this year has been as an author, not as a publisher.
And so that's what I want to focus on for this post -- being an author, and loving yourself for it.
1: Appreciate Your Hard Work
"How do you cope with something as amazing as publishing a book?"
A friend asked me something similar to this recently, and it gave me a bit of pause before I replied: "I don't know. I don't think much of it anymore." (Or something like that. I'm not in the habit of recording my conversations.)
The thing is, after a while, publishing a book is a bit underwhelming. Sure, it's a great thing, and you're happy that it's out for readers to devour, but when compared to the rest of the process of writing and preparing it's...less than exciting.
This may sound odd, maybe even wrong, but I've heard more than one author say it. That feeling of joy is there, but not quite how you'd expect. Ever the workaholics, we writers are already plotting out our next story, and there's little time to turn our minds back to the old one (and run the risk of convincing ourselves it's not good enough and should be rewritten).
Not that I don't celebrate, because I do. But it's usually coffee with a friend, or going to see a film. There's no ridiculously large party, or parade in my book's honor.
Still, it is a big deal, and we could probably could do to remember that. Like I said above, a lot of hard work went into that now-published project.
Hard work, you say? I've seen too many "humorous" (and they are humorous) memes and comments about writers lately. Things like: we only type a few words or sentences a day, eat plenty of cake or ice cream, and are always over-caffinated or drunk. And like I said, they are humorous (I've even reblogged a few with a chuckle), but they're also terribly wrong.
There are days when we don't get quite as much done as we'd like, but writing is not an easy job. You're constructing a world, finding people to go in it, writing multiple drafts (not just editing them, but rewriting them entirely), meticulously making sentences work and working hard to get the book ready to be published.
It's no walk in the park -- and it's certainly not all cake and booze (not any booze at all, for those of us who don't like alcohol).
So be proud of your work -- not just on publishing day, but every day. We create worlds for others to step into.
...and it wouldn't hurt to treat yourself to a nice coffee or cake on publishing day, just to give the humorists something to write about.
2: Appreciate Your Time
Time, the bane of many a writer -- not enough, not ever.
There are plenty of demands on a writer's time (on everyone's time, really), and they often wear the faces of drafts and readings, yes, but also of social media and interaction with fans. These things can be plenty enjoyable, but they can also leave us feeling tired.
If there's anything I've learned this past year, it's to guard my time wisely -- not just as a writer, but as a person. Time is a precious thing, not a commodity. And we only get so much of it.
I read recently about an author (sorry, I forgot her name...I'm terrible with names!) who recently published her new book...after seven years! That's how long I've been publishing. But, in the article, the author and her book were praised, and the book was called "well worth the wait".
That gave me such hope.
We needn't rush ourselves. Sometimes the process is long, and the story is better for it. I'm not saying don't work hard, or not to meet your deadlines, because of course you want to work hard, but guard your time, spend it well, and your work will flourish for it.
It seems impossible anymore that a reader would be willing to wait seven years for a book. Readers can be terribly impatient (I know because I am one, and even being an author, I can sometimes grind my teeth in waiting for a new release...and let's face it, we are all happy that readers love our work so much!). But it's your choice to let that anticipation fuel you, or frustrate you and make you work too fast, too hard.
Guard your time, dear author.
Guard it with your life -- because at the end of the day, it is your life.
3: Appreciate Your Quirkiness
I had another recent conversation with the friend above (in #1) about how odd writers really are, and it's true. We're a weird bunch! But I like that about us.
It can be tempting at times to put ourselves into a box, to let what we "should do" and "should be" take hold. But don't mind that! Writers are weird for a reason -- because we need to be.
Because we can see the worlds no one else can.
Because we can be the voice for the people who have none, or who aren't sure what they want or need to say.
Because books change lives, and changing lives is our business.
Revel in your weirdness. Don't let anyone take it away from you. A little weird never hurt anyone, and chances are that strange mashup you're writing -- about talking purple penguins with large vocabularies and a thirst for adventure between planets -- is going to inspire somebody.
Love yourselves, writers, because sometimes you're all that you have. Reach out to your fellow writers, because they need you; we need each other. And keep writing, because someone, somewhere out there, needs your words more than they know.
Before I close this post, I wanted to write a little bit about my other excitement for today -- the release of Clara Frost, the final Snowflake Triplet book! (Don't worry, I will definitely treat myself to some beautiful tea today, and perhaps a film).
If you're new to the series, head over to the Clara Claus page to find your free ebook. Enjoy!
When I wrote the final word for Clara Frost -- which ended up being "end", as in "the end" -- it was a strange feeling. When I wrote the author's note, it was the final bit of the book that needed typing. When I ensured everything was ready for publishing, I knew this would be the last time I did so for this series, for these characters.
And now, on release day, I get to say a strange sort of goodbye.
It's odd to think I won't be writing another book about these beloved wintry heroes come December. It's odd to think their story is at an end, tied up neatly and exactly how they deserved, these special people who are quite dear to me. It's odd to think that there could be more adventures, but how this seems like the right place to end their tale.
I've spent nearly eight years working with these characters and this world. That's a good chunk of my life. And I will forever be grateful to them for how much they taught me about writing, and about the possibilities of what I could do with a story -- and mostly, perhaps, about Hope in the midst of tragedy.
Thank you: Jack, Clara, North, South, Holly, Gertrude, and everyone in between. And thank you, readers, for going on this journey with me. I hope you enjoy this final tale!
To get your ebook copy, visit:
Amazon: US -- UK -- Australia -- Canada -- Germany -- France -- Italy -- India -- Japan -- Mexico -- Netherlands -- Spain
iBooks: iTunes (US) --- iTunes (UK) --- iTunes (Australia) --- iTunes (Canada) --- iTunes (France) --- iTunes (Germany) -- iTunes (Japan) --- iTunes (Italy) --- iTunes (Spain)
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For a paperback copy, visit:
Amazon.com -- Amazon.co.uk -- B&N.com
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Also, if you would like to request that this e-book be made available at your public library, e-books are free for libraries via OverDrive.