A Truly Novel Effort at Awkwardness

I wrote a book. A novel, in fact. 65,000 of the best words I had in me. One would think (given my history on this blog) I simply regurgitated those words in arbitrary fashion onto the page like a drunken frat fool, but I promise that wasn’t the case.

Truth is – I poured heart and soul into the story. Brought forth personality and a few not-so-fictitious episodes of my life woven for good measure. Made it feel real. Made it feel like it had heart. For that, I suppose I’m proud. But my, oh my, after finishing, editing (and editing and editing and editing and wondering and doubting), I decided to throw it out there in a professional sense and see if anything bites, or even a nibble for hope’s sake.

Needless to say, the highly carnivorous jungle of publishing is more interested in sex fantasies, highly scientific missions to Mars (I loved “The Martian” though!), and other…things (not theological action/adventure novels)…I’m a horribly slow reader and wish I could knock out books in weekends like those snazzy folks who went to Ivy League schools and certainly drove some sort of German automobile this morning, or other people who actually make time for reading versus, ya know, the struggle of life on a daily basis and spectatorship of futility that is Chicago sports. Anyway, queries were universally rejected, so my expansive imagination went to the second tier of novel mania fantasy island – E-Book Self-Publishing. And I did exactly that a few weeks ago – publish my novel via Kindle Direct Publishing, and specifically Kindle Select (an exclusive club for those people dreaming like me).

Don’t get me wrong, many wonderful writers exist in this space and if it weren’t for such a platform, their voices may have been left in silence. I applaud technology’s ability to bring those not parading the bureaucracy (of pretty much anything) of publishing to the forefront of industries. A beautiful reality: Kindles, Nooks, iPads, et cetera.

BUT, for me, when I pressed “PUBLISH” I felt more a sense of fear than accomplishment. A bit shame, to be honest. I couldn’t cut it with an agent and publisher. I was just a hack trying to get recognized for a story I believed in – that should be enough, you would think. BUT, you could play on a basketball court all you want and believe you’re Michael Jordan. You FEEL better than you look because you can just create any scenario in your head to give you success. But, you’re not Michael Jordan, pal. I needed the affirmation because I was acting like a mental midget. Sigh.

Here’s where it becomes awkward…

Happy was I to send self-pat-on-the-back emails to my family and friends – “Look what I did, guys!” – while trying immensely to keep eating my piece of humble pie. Let’s face it – I only SELF-published an E-BOOK on Amazon. Me and about 200,000 other dreamers. Good odds, I’d say.

Days go by and you wonder, “When am I going to get my first sale (other than me and mom)?” Who is going to read it? When will it be adored by millions and turned into a major motion picture starring …who do the kids like these days…Zach Efron? You see a spike (five books) in the first few days and you’re feeling pretty good about yourself…then the sluggishness hits.

You start reaching out to people, practically pleading with them to buy/read/review your master work. This awkward feeling of self-promotion that pretty much devolves your being into a two-bit used cars salesman…you just feel like you’re peddling second-rate crap to a lesser informed customer base.

And once a friend or family member starts reading, you want to talk about points in the plot, like you know something they don’t…because frankly, you know it all! Another obvious writer truth – arrogance-infused self-indulgence. You bug and bug. But you know it’s in their best interest to continue to read because it gets better as the plot progresses, right? And as soon as he or she is done, you desperately and pathetically and awkwardly ask for a review…like they’ll be 100% HONEST. Yeah these crap novels get FIVE STARS…come on. Not only are your family reviewers withholding some truths, but they are bullied into writing a positive review because the writer has only threads of confidence holding his head on.

I promise it’s like that. Sort of.

Ah, hell. Anything for the sale. If the gravy train of sales and pages read. Because you never know. I’ll keep dreaming. Eternal thanks and gratefulness for any reader out there. Hope you’ll join me, whether through reading my book or another, or writing your own. I have your back. Let me know if you do write one and you can guarantee yourself a sale.

For more info on me and a link to my book, visit www.davidsalvi.com.

…or just buy here: http://amzn.to/1KGBtud

Happy reading!

— A QUICK “DO NOT” LIST FOR WRITERS ABOUT TO E-PUB —

1. Don’t credit SOMEONE else with your work. Yes, I decided to give a nod to my friend, Dan, who designed the artwork as my illustrator. First of all, I’m not a children’s book, so that made me an idiot right away. Second, I didn’t give MYSELF credit as author. So for about 16 hours, Dan was the only one with credits to the book. Thumbs up, me.

2. Do not think your eyes are good enough. Edit your damn book again and again. You know, maybe the first few pages perhaps. Think of it this way…once the reader starts going, after 50 pages, he or she is invested. Whatever after that point, right? BUT if you have three typos in the first five pages, you know you should have hired or begged a different set of eyes.

3. Do not stick around and have zero to do. Book travel to a country without internet for immediate departure after publishing. Obsessively clicking the refresh button for reviews, books sales, pages read, Tweets, Facebook likes, and so forth. The digital world is great, but it’s also maddening.

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