Maybe more important, where’s my vacation? Alas, no rest for the weary…
Whew! What turned out to be my “Self Publishing 101” blogs are finally over. Are you relieved? I know I am! Of course I now have to scrounge around for a topic and there are a lot to choose from when it comes to publishing-related things whirling around in my head.
The economic situation has been hard on everyone, workers and business people alike. And particularly hard on publishers of all sizes, if the conference call I was on last week is any indication! Everything is shifting and the fluidity of the marketing spectrum has confused all of us, I think.
Personally, I was hoping the recession would turn more people to reading but now, if both sales and the readers I talk to are any indication, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Many of my friends—which, by the way, include several librarians—tell me they’re just having a hard time finding books they can really get into. And it seems to be less a problem of available material than one of focus. I know it certainly is for me.
I usually read a couple of books a month beyond all the manuscripts I read for work. Sadly, that hasn’t happened since the beginning of the year. For the first time in many years I haven’t been able to find a book to dive into that allows me to immerse myself in the experience. There are almost 200 books on my “to-be-read” shelf (plus a few waiting on my Kindle!) and though I have probably started at least a dozen of them, I haven’t stuck with a one, something very unusual for me. It’s rare I start a book and don’t keep reading.
Many of my very favorite authors are waiting for my attention—Pat Conroy is there and Margaret Atwood. Elizabeth Cunningham is there, too, and I’ve always found myself immediately captivated by her work. There are several historical novels I was anxious to read when I bought them, yet they languish along with three memoirs and even a few non-fiction titles that enticed me in the beginning. They all wait, and not without subtle accusations of neglect.
You know, it’s embarrassing to admit, but I haven’t read the Harry Potter books yet. (I HAVE seen all the movies!) My friends love them and from the movies I can tell how brilliant they are. I started the original book when it came out. In those first minutes I found the meter annoying for some reason and quit. Haven’t picked them up since and maybe that would be something to try right now. A whole series to read through, which ought to keep the personal enjoyment part of my mind occupied for the summer.
I miss it, that joy of escape and involvement which creates a mini-vacation from the real world and allows your brain to completely shift into another reality, whether it be Dragon Tattoos, Hunger Games, or the “real” story behind Rumpelstiltskin. Where is the big “summer novel” I can lose myself in? I’m sure it’s out there, but I suspect that even if it were waiting on my Kindle, I wouldn’t be switching it on.
Meanwhile, I slog through manuscripts, red pen in hand and wonder what people think when they write these things and supposedly get them ready for a publisher. And I only agree to look at manuscripts that sound interesting and demonstrate some degree of writing ability through the samples. Sad to say that most don’t come through on their initial promise. I don’t know if it’s the result of instilling too much self esteem in a generation that has this sense of entitlement, i.e. I write therefore I should be published.
I even received a book in the mail the other day that the author had self-published. She informed me via email that she’d sent it. She hadn’t sold many and now wants me to publish it. She obviously hadn’t bothered to check the website and learn that we don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts. She never bothered to query. And I’m not sure why She thinks I could sell her book if she can’t. Still, every once in awhile that diamond in the rough emerges and keeps me going!
Dare I say that I have some writing I want to do myself? I’m about a third of the way through a novel I started quite awhile ago and long to get back to. I’m contemplating releasing it a chapter at a time through the website for those interested in following a work in progress. I figure forcing myself to a deadline to make new chapters available will get me writing again and I’d enjoy some comments from readers as it goes along. Look for that when the new website is up in the coming weeks.
I have been doing a little editing on my French novel, BEYOND THE WORLD, trying to pare it down just a bit before the digital and hardback versions are published. I confess I’ve really enjoyed that process since that book is so close to my heart. It’s unfortunate that Amazon could never manage to get it to come up by title (despite many, MANY MANY complaints on my part!). Barnes & Noble made the correction in 24 hours, yet Amazon remains deaf to my pleas. It will only pop up on a search by by my name…and who can spell that? Perhaps I should re-release it under another title, since so few people have found it as is.
I wonder if the stress of day to day life is having an effect on our concentration. SOMETHING is certainly affecting mine and my friends share my complaint. Time feels like it’s speeding up. Things seem to be changing so fast it’s hard to keep up. Rising gas prices and food prices, natural disasters affecting people in our country and all over the planet, jobs, the economy… We’re trying to juggle things on so many different levels and I know that—for me at least—I seem to be having trouble keeping so many balls in the air. Half of them could simply vanish and I’m not sure I’d even notice. (I might even be relieved!)
I think we could all use a really good book to curl up and relax with! We need to take those little mini-vacations as often as possible so we can return to the real world refreshed and destressed!
I shall make another attempt tonight! I’ll try Harry first and if he fails, I might attempt to fall back into JANE EYRE. And by the way, if you haven’t read Jane since some teacher forced you to in school, give her another shot. It’s a real page turner and there’s a new movie version due out sometime this year. I’m not the only one who has and will be rediscovering her story!
So now, tell me, what are you reading?