Friday, January 30, 2009

Why I Love Being An Author


by Malena Lott

Last Saturday I participated in a local author book fair. While I thought it was strange that a bookstore (we have a great indie) didn't handle the book sales, I bought the books from said indie and schlepped them to the event and managed to sell 7 (seven) in three hours. Why would *that* make me love being an author? Well, here's the deal. Out of the thirty+ authors there, only four were published by a recognized publisher.  I pitched my book to every white-haired sweetie that passed my table (no one over 70 bought my book), but I sat there feeling REALLY happy that I didn't have to do book fairs and hand-sell my books every weekend like the self-published authors. The recent article on self-publishing services flourishing while mainstream publishers falter proved itself in 3D. I was outnumbered 10-1. 

I admire their perseverance and passion. To PAY to get your book published, you'd really have to believe in it (the story) and yourself, let alone be able to handle the demands in cover art, distributors, marketing and sales. As much as I wanted to be published, I can tell you I never even considered going down that road. I was enthralled - and overwhelmed. Each author is not only competing with books in regular bookstores, but against e-books and all other Publish-on-demand books, too. Wow.

Which gets me back to that Magic Seven.  One aspiring author (youngish) bought my book and I swear I got an e-mail from her the NEXT DAY saying she had stayed up until 4 a.m. to finish the book. She loved it. She went on to tell me all the reasons she loved it.  She had paid close attention to all the nuances in the book. I ate it up! Ego Monster, nom, nom, nom

Then the next day I get two more great e-mails: one from Single Titles.com, a book review site telling me Dating da Vinci was named a Reviewers Choice Best Book of 2008.  And another from a reader who thanked me for sending the Book Club Questions because she picked Dating da Vinci for her February book club so her friends could read it during the Valentine month. 

Yes, it's an uphill climb. What isn't these days? But for me, being an author is just WHO I AM. It's not really about ego; it's about identity. I always believed deep in my soul, as far back as the sixth grade, that I would have books on bookshelves with my name on the spine. I'm just happy to be here. 

CONTEST! Want your name in a book? Submit names for a health spa (mind/body/spirit retreat) that will be featured in the current WIP I'm writing and if i pick yours I'll name a character at the retreat after you! Either send your names in the comments here or at malenalott@mac.com. I'll announce the winner on Valentine's Day! Thanks for playing! 


11 comments:

  1. The naming contest is a great idea.

    As for those who self-publish--my hat's off to them. I have neither the perseverance nor the chutzpah to succeed down that path.

    Identity is a funny thing. You always knew you were a writer and you'd be published some day.

    I didn't. I came to this whole publishing party late. But you know, as a writer, I feel more like myself than I have ever felt in my life.

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  2. I'm with Malena. I've always known this was my destiny in life. Took me a while to acknowledge it and to venture down the road, but I knew the road would be there when I decided to set out. It's been an interesting journey thus far, that's for sure!

    Loved da Vinci, Malena!! Glad others are loving it, too. Congrats on the nod from Single Titles!

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  3. LOL on the Ego Monster, Malena:-) Mine also needs occasional feeding, or it gets a little difficult to deal with and starts chewing furniture.

    Congrats on the seven books. That's booksignings for you...ya never know. Some is always better than none, and I don't think seven is bad at all. Plus, you got a new fan! Even reaching just one person is what it's all about. Also, BIG congrats on the Single Titles honor!

    As an aside, I love what you said, MM...when I'm writing, that's when I'm fully myself. Wish I'd recognized it, and what it meant, when I was younger, but I think I figured it out when I was ready to. Big believer in fate, here:-)

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  4. Malena,
    I've self-published, and let me tell you, it takes a much better promoter than I am to be successful at it. I didn't mind paying for it, and I liked doing my own editing, etc, but having someone else market it is much better!
    Interestingly enough, I started reading your book last evening. I'm a little better than halfway through it and yes, it's a good one. You're a very talented writer, and it doesn't surprise me that you'd be singled out by Single Titles! Congratulations!

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  5. I self-published first for the simply reason that no one wanted me and I was unwilling to wait! I figured getting out there, even just a little, was better than not doing it at all - that really is a dead end. But, like Cheryl said, nothing compares with getting recognized and published for real. Having someone else handle the marketing is huge. I knew promoting was something I could not do.

    Like Mary Margret, I came into the writing later and very suddenly. But I also know this is what I want to do. One never knows when a new passion will hit them!

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  6. Nice post.

    I'm still learning how to string my words together to get the stories in my head onto paper in a way that will embrace the reader and help me end up a bookshelf.

    I love reading about the experiences of others who've made that step :)
    You're the kind of writer I love to meet. Smiling and greeting everyone because their just happy to be there!
    Nancy

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  7. Thanks, ladies! Cheryl, thanks for the nice compliment on the book. Hope you enjoy the last half, too!

    Nancy, good luck on your writing!

    Have a great weekend everyone. Also, a former self-pubbed writer is now on the NYT list with a novel about Alzheimers, Still Alice. I think she got her start on iUniverse before she was picked up by a publisher.

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  8. There's a lot of self publishers around here writing about the local history. And yay for them.

    Being an author is in the soul and blood. I've wanted to write since I could hold a crayon and before then I made up stories.

    Linda

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  9. Nice Article, Ma'am.

    Malena said "As much as I wanted to be published, I can tell you I never even considered going down that road." It's not the road for me either but it seems to work out well for some.

    Self-publishing (where you pay for someone to publish your book) and going POD (Print on Demand) are different things but both require an enormous amount of work in promoting and editing. It's all on you, as the author. Like you, I have a great of respect for those that are truly dedicated in building a readership base, believing in their stories and their abilities enough to go that route.

    You are so right though. Getting published is an uphill climb and whether you go POD or traditional. IMO both require dedication. A Dream, dedication, and hard work--no magic wands--very few shortcuts. lolol!

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  10. I know I say this all the time, but it really is so interesting to hear about what happens to everyone in the travels through being a published author :)

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  11. Here's my spa name entry. Zen and Now. :)

    I self-published because I had several agents tell me my book was great, but they couldn't sell it. I didn't think they were trying very hard. ;) Plus, like you said, I BELIEVED in the story, the book, myself. I know this time is the right time!

    And yes, ego monsters love good comments!

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