Friday, January 4, 2013
It was time again to load the dishwasher, and being a tiresome task, it always gets me to stick music in my ears to make it bearable. First up, Miley Cyrus- The Climb. Now, I love the song, but I have always had an issue with it. She says that it doesn't matter what's on the other side of the mountain, what matters is the climb! And I always think, "Nonsense girl! Of course it matters, what's on the other side! Else we wouldn't climb at all!" As I distractedly decided what dishes went where (competition for the top rack is keen), I decided I wasn't being fair. Maybe I hadn't given Miley sufficient time to explain herself. I hit 'back' and listened to it again. And I tried to think about my climb. Maybe I haven't climbed far enough yet to really be an expert-after all, I'm probably only a quarter of the way up the mountain. And, what IS on the other side? I don't even know, really. So, what has my climb showed me? A lot of things, when I really think about it. I have learned how important editing is, even though I haven't had a professional editor. A friend and I just read my books-over and over and over and try to comb out every mistake, every inconsistency in my text (bless you Bonnie Findlay!). I have also seen books that have had either little, no or extremely poor editing, and man, I can tell you, keep that stuff off the bookshelves, please, cyber and otherwise. They are actually painful to read. There is absolutely nothing (in reading) like a fine, polished novel, and I never knew that before. I have also learned that I'm not going to fool with agents if I can help it-or I should say, that I am not going to kiss their fine little hinnies to get their attention. If I should happen upon one who wants to take me on, that might be different. I think they are just so inundated with requests that they have to be fussy. I hate the infamous 'query letter' process. All it means to me is that a potentially fabulous manuscript is being dismissed out of hand because my one page query letter wasn't worded in a way that pushed that agent's little buttons. When I looked into Amazon's FREE self publishing service, I decided to try it. If it doesn't work out, if you don't like it, you can unpublish and keep trying with mainstream publishers. But, I found out that I do like it. I like the total control I have over everything. Aside from all this, though, the most important thing I have found out is who I can count on and who I can't. Forgive any misuse of mine of the word 'who' (as opposed to 'whom'). Since I was little kid, I have known the correct usage of 'whom,' but to me it just sounded ridiculous. I have always refused to use the word. Anyway, I digress. I found out who I can count on and who I can't. There are some people, friends and family both, who wouldn't read my book because they don't want to read anything about Mormons. What, are they afraid they might read something that's true that they don't want to think is true? I don't know, and I don't ask them. There is another group, small in number, I hope, who aren't reading it because they have pretty much always been of the opinion that I probably wouldn't make anything of myself, and who am I to think I have the brains to write a book? Those people just aren't bothering to waste their time reading something I wrote (so I can surmise that none of those people are reading this!). There is another group who have found out in the last few months that they don't agree with me politically, and so have not been a support to me. I didn't diss them when I found out that they were liberals, or democrats, or whatever, but I guess they didn't feel the same tolerance. And actually, many liberal democrat friends did NOT do that to me-so, I don't mean you! All of the above might make me sound bitter, but honestly, I'm not. I have been buoyed up by the other people-the ones who have been a support. Who have bought the book, or downloaded it. Or, maybe if they couldn't afford it, downloaded it on the free days, like today and tomorrow (and I know how that is-I am right there with you). Or at the very least, for people who have just continued with the positive comments and pats on the back. Once I found out who I couldn't count on, I found I wasn't even hurt and had very litle trouble basically dismissing them. The ones that count are the ones that have stood by me. The facebook likes, the positive comments, the reviews on Amazon, the ones who have told their friends about me and have recommended my books, the ones who have handed out my blasted bookmarks, read my books, and have tirelessly pre-read those books for me, being experimented on like literary guinea pigs. Thank you Bonnie Findlay and April Elzinga! The first group (we'll call them group S, S for stinky) has actually done me a valuable service. You have to get rid of the dead weight or you'll never make it up the mountain. So, I am looking at Miley's motto in a more favorable light. The destination still matters to me-maybe making the New York Times bestseller list, or dare I hope (probably not)? Oprah's Book Club. But really, it ain't about what's waitin' on the other side. It's the climb.