Facebook has an interesting way of reminding you of the past. I’m talking about the system posting on your page a photo from X number of years ago. It’s a mini-anniversary of a point in you life that was, at the very least, worthy of a snapshot. Today, Facebook posted a picture of me from three years ago beaming over the receipt of the proof of my first book. It was special. So much so, I’m spending a little time and ink to reflect.
Making your first book a reality proves you can do it. Not think about it, muse about it, take a stab at it, but do it. That’s not unimportant. Now, how about doing it well? Ah, that’s a journey. I know that the next thing I wrote, my novel, was better written than the first, a trilogy of short stories, and I’m sure the next thing, the novel I’m writing now, will be even better.
The past three years has been an education in the business of writing. It’s a changing landscape as anyone can see by walking down the street. What happened to all those bookstores? Gone. How about the gatekeepers, the agents and the publishers? Authors are bypassing them. That’s good news and bad. Mainstream publishers guarantee quality. You’re unlikely to get a misspelled word in a book under the Scribner name, and it will be readable. Self-published authors are a risk and only those who read a lot venture into that ocean of the unknown. But rewards await those who do.
However, one thing remains true from the beginning of my first three years to today. That is why I write. Over and over, from Steven King to Joe Schmo, authors tell you they write because they must. Whether it is the love of writing or personal compulsion, they must. Me too.
(Of course, if someone reads it, that’s not a bad thing.)