The Trials and Tribulations of Publishing My Novel

I wrote a novel. I wrote it awhile ago. Usually, when this somehow comes up in conversation- which I’m not always clear on- I’ll say something about writing a book, and always the person will ask me, “Is it published.” It’s such a common follow up question that now when I mention that I wrote a book, I quickly follow with a “unpublished”. A really astonishing thing has happened with this change in my presentation. Before when I would say, I wrote a book, and people would follow with is it published, and I’d say no, they would then ask, why not. What I’ve noticed is that when I throw in the I wrote a novel-Unpublished, they don’t ask me why it isn’t published. I’m not sure why this is the case, but I like it.

Why isn’t it published? Because I suck at self-promotion. Absolutely suck. I’m not even going to go into the whole shy artist, or the typical solo writer with the low-self-confidence bit- I mean I will throw my hands up and admit, yes, of course yes, I do have the low-confidence syndrome, and I am certain that it greatly influences my lack of trying to submit, but there are other things too.

  • I am often overwhelmed by all the research.

There is so much research on the web: How to write a query letter, a cover letter, make sure you research every agent, every lit mag, every publisher, everything- I could go to university for four years to learn everything I need to know, and by the time I’d graduate it would have all changed. I literally go into shut down mode. I start to look, and it’s took big for me, and my brain say’s- fuck it, let’s take a nap.

  • I can’t market myself worth shit.

I have had this blog and several other blogs for years, and I have never been able to produce traffic to my blogs because I break all the cardinal rules:

  1. I have no niche
  2. I do not post often enough-aka inconsistent
  3. I don’t link enough
  4. I don’t tweet- and I really don’t see tweeting in my future.
  5. Social media is for keeping up with my friends not pushing my stuff onto them. I’m not saying that other people push things on their friends in fact my friends are saying things like, “When can I read your book?” I just feel kind of weird about it.
  • I can not see what is so special about my book and therefore it’s very difficult to sell it to others.

What’s it about? It’s about a young American woman in her late 20’s living in Prague in the Zizkov neighborhood during 1999. There’s a lot of drinking, and drugs, and too much partying, and a real lack of direction.

Is it enlightening? Nope. Does the world need to read it. Uh… I don’t think it’ll change anyone in anyway- I don’t even know if it will be entertaining.

Is it true? Yes, it is about 98% true, but names of people and establishments have been changed, and a couple of things may have been embellished. So how will you market it? Is it non-fiction or literary fiction? Umm mostly non-fiction?

What’s the hook? I don’t know: American woman goes to Prague with the fantasy of becoming a writer and instead drinks too much and doesn’t do anything. It’s not Trainspotting and It’s not Leaving Las Vegas, and it’s definitely not Eat, Pray, Love, but it may have some elements of all the above.

What about self-publishing? Look up at the above points.

Are there any vampires, wizards, or bondage scenes? No, my life is not that interesting.

So what are you gonna do about it? Good question.

Obviously there is a part of me that is pretty disappointed in my not pushing me. Where’s my ambition where is my drive? If I didn’t want to put the book out into the world for some deeply subconscious reason I wouldn’t be writing here about it right now. So somewhere inside me- me wants the book to be read- although I’m actually quiet terrified because I think people are going to hate it and this is the world where people anonymously tell you how much they hate something and then how much they hate you.

Something I didn’t mention. I’m in Prague right now. It’s been fifteen years since I wrote the journal entries that later became Hello from Zizkov, and there are some similarities but many things have changed, like my age for instance, but here I am back in Zizkov, and still I’m wondering what I should do with this book.

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching in the past umm.. actually for my entire life if the truth be known, but for the sake of my age I’ll just say in the past ten to five years, but it’s been in the last couple of months even weeks that I think I’ve come up with an answer or two. It isn’t much really, but it’s a start. I asked my self a question which I have asked before, and in the past I had often had a similar answer, but this time I had a different answer.

The question was “How do you want to be remembered.”

In the past quiet consistently I would say, “I want to be remembered as a great writer,” or as “a great actress,” or “a great performer,” and sometimes it would be I want to be remembered for something great I want to do something. I didn’t know what that something was specifically, but it probably entailed something that was a positive impact on the world.

This time I had a new answer. I asked a friend the same question and as she was talking this strange voice came into my mind and it said, “I don’t care if I’m a writer anymore.” And, as it passed through my mind I realized it was true. Not that I wanted to give up on writing or that I thought “oh woes me I suck so I’ll let it go”. It meant that I didn’t have to be great, and it wasn’t important to me to be remembered for being a great writer. It’s not how I wanted to be remembered. I wanted something else something that seemed more valuable and something that I felt like I could really actively take part in and that I didn’t need feedback or approval for and it was something I felt like I had already attained and that my goal now was to become better at it and to expand it and to give it away as freely and as much as possible. I want to be remembered as a great friend. I want to be remembered as a person who is loving and grateful to her friends. There is nothing more valuable to me then friendship and friendship builds families and communities and love- and if I died tomorrow I think I would die a good friend. So I can be satisfied at my death, but inspired to live longer because there is so much I want to be able to do for my friends, and the possible new friends that I make, and that is to give back all that my friends have ever done for me, and to be there to support them and to be there to hold them up when they fall, and to love them. It won’t make me famous and it won’t make me money and when my friends die my memory will die with them, but it doesn’t matter.

As I pondered on this new answer it suddenly dawned on me as to what my book is actually about. It isn’t about travel or living abroad or drinking and drugs, it’s about friendship.

So in light of all of this discovery coupled with my admittance to being bad at marketing and not having “being a great writer” on my list of how I want to be remembered, I’ve decided to publish my book in short snippets on this blog (there has been a lack of short stories as of late so it truly does need some loving.)

So three times a week until it is all here in it’s bloggy self published glory I will post an excerpt from the book and then finally my friends who have been asking to read it- can, and so can anyone else that happens to pass by.

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3 responses to “The Trials and Tribulations of Publishing My Novel

  1. Pingback: Hello From Žižkov-Chapter 1, pg. 19-25 | My Short Story Workshop

  2. I am so glad you decided to put your writing out into the world. Your novel has a very enticing start and I like your writing style. You really ought to consider putting this out as a kindle book. It’s not that hard to do. And I think that once people read the first couple of pages, they’ll want more. Congrats on the book!
    Loretta Alvarado, a.k.a The Shy Artist

    • Thank you so much! I was thinking about doing that, but don’t know that much about the process.
      Thanks again for the encouragement.

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