The winner of Wednesday’s giveaway is Shirley! Please contact Sherry at firstname.lastname@example.org
I met Shari through the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime. Shari is one of those people who you feel immediately comfortable with. Maybe it’s because she’s a former children’s librarian. She is the first of three guests who will be talking about their experiences since they’ve sign a book deal but whose books aren’t out yet. Shari’s first book is set to come out in March of 2018.
Many thanks to Sherry and the Wickeds for the invitation to chat about What Happens After the Contract.
When I signed my contract with St. Martin’s Press for the Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack Mystery series my first thought was – all that paper! While I was wading through it I gave thanks for the many friends who helped make that moment possible.
After the contract…and the champagne….and chocolates…and celebration…and congratulations… It sank in. I faced that empty page. Now I have to get to work.
So I did two things. Then I realized something and did one more.
One, I kept writing.
Two, I did a Lobster Shack Tour. My Number One Fan and I hit the road, researching (okay, eating) at lobster shacks from Noank to Woods Hole and beyond. Except for Maine. I’m conceding Maine to my esteemed fellow lobster lady, Barb Ross, and her Maine Clambake mysteries.
For many years I’ve seen so many author friends juggle writing their books with all the other things that are expected of a modern author: blog tours, giveaways, publicity, appearances, marketing. I realized now that all that was my job, too. I saw the difference, to me, between being a writer and being an author. Let me explain.
Writing is the nuts and bolts, the craft, getting words on paper. That’s what the writer does.
Being an author. Ah, that’s different.
Before I signed my contract, my mental image of “author” was a fantasy formed by episodes of Dynasty and Murder She Wrote. Instead of the reality of hours of butt-in-chair in book jail, my Fantasy Author Self was at signings, dressed in flowing scarves and jangling bangle bracelets. My sparkling laugh – very Mary Higgins Clark or maybe Joan Collins – floating over hundreds of fans sipping champagne, where every detail of the event has been arranged by my fawning publicist, a George Clooney lookalike named Charlton. My fantasy agent says things like “After the twenty-state tour, you’re going to Canyon Ranch for a vacation, I insist” and “Lucas wants the film rights! Streep wants to play Aunt Gully!”
But then I wake up. Arranging booking signings will be my job. Writing blogs will be my job. Marketing will be my job.
This realization brought me to the third thing I did. I learned as much as I could about what is expected of an author, by asking questions, doing research, and taking classes. One of the best classes was Simon Wood’s 21st Century Author, which I took online through the SINC Guppies. Simon explained the many requirements of the 21st century author – creating a persona, using social media, publicity, marketing. Exhausting, but necessary.
Where is Charlton when I need him?
There is no Charlton.
So as I go back into book jail to work on Book Two, I still give thanks for that contract. But now I know that writing the book is just the beginning.
Readers: What experiences have you had that were different than you thought they’d be?