Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Am I Officially A Novelist?

My sons' open houses were last night.
As it is inevitable that someone there, usually their teachers, will ask,  "What do you do?" I inquired of my son on the way, "So when people ask, do I tell them I'm a novelist? Or do I have to stick with the usual, `I'm finishing up my degree?'"
My nine year-old paused to puzzle over this.
His first reaction was going to be, "Eh, I don't think so."
After all I haven't even made twenty bucks selling novels.
Even though in the 12 days that it's been up 187 people have downloaded the book that took me four months to write. Only three have been willing to pay $2.99 for it at amazon. I bumped the price up to .99 at Smashwords and no one wanted to pay for it despite two very good reviews. I'm beginning to get this feeling that unless you've been blessed enough to rise about the slush pile people don't consider your work worth their money.
That hardly seems fair. I've only sent my book to one agency. And they get thousands of submissions a month and I'm also relying on my marketing skills to pitch my book. I am not a pitchman. I'm also holding out. There's an agency I REALLY want to represent me so I'm willing to take my time. MEANWHILE, I need to make money. I would love to offer it free forever ( it is free here )to teens but there is a practical side to this. And it's a struggle for me. I long for the day when YA girls are reading my stories and falling in love with William and Viktor and are just excited about talking about them as I am. That's my main motivation. But I also long for the days of having my own home (we live with my parents) and being able to fix my stupid broken tooth that hurts so much.
I've worked harder at being a writer than I have ever worked at anything (well, besides being a wife and mom....and I've worked pretty hard and filming and editing.) Sometimes (when the boys and the man are gone) I'll work from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. And my poor body is not any better for it. But this is what I love so it's okay. Just because I don't have an agent and I don't have a big publishing house behind me doesn't mean I'm not a real writer. It doesn't mean that I don't have mad storytelling skillz. It just means that the one literary agency I took a chance on hasn't called back yet, maybe my pitch wasn't good enough. Isn't that ridiculous? To base my storytelling skillz on whether or not some overworked literary agent could assess my overall work through a one page letter? One letter among hundreds and thousands? I'm not good at concise self-promotions. I'm a long-winded kind of gal. Just do me a favor, give the indie writers a chance. We're real writers too.

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