Monday, January 10, 2011

Restless Dead : A Reflection.

Well, the release of my book went a lot better than expected.

Ok…fair enough, my pleasure at this has far more to do with me setting realistic expectations beforehand, rather than massive success… but I achieved everything I wanted to do. I sold a few copies, raised (and I’m still raising) a bit of money for Child’s Play…and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I particularly enjoyed the phone call I got from one of Sunny’s friends who told me that ‘this book should totally be a movie’.

(I’m realistic about that. Maybe a SyFy Original Movie with one of the ‘lesser’ Baldwins…but I’ll do it if Julie McNiven agrees to play Helena).

‘The Restless Dead’ may not be the world-wide best-seller I dreamed of when I got my first typewriter at the age of four, but releasing this book has been the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

That may sound like a massive overstatement but, as a kid, financial success was never part of my dream of being an author. I just wanted a book with my name on it to put on my shelf and to know people were reading and enjoying what I’d written. In fact, when I decided I wanted to be an Author at four years old, it never actually occurred to me that Authors actually get paid for their work. That may just be the naivety of childhood, but even today, writing for me is just about the pure joy of creating something. It’s about holding a book in my hands, flipping through the pages and thinking ‘I made this’.

As I’ve written about before, my yardstick for success isn’t about how many copies I sell, but how much the copies I do sell affect the reader. If you read my book, get emotionally invested in the characters and actually start to care about what happens to them…that’s a win for me.

In fact, there’s only one part of my five-year-old’s dream that remains unfulfilled. I want to be sitting on a plane or a bus someday and look over and see someone reading my book. Yes, that part’s purely about stroking my ego…but I make no apologies for that. (Weirdly, as a teen, that reader was always a smoking hot girl who would then spend an hour gushing about how awesome I am. I’ve mostly outgrown that.)

The best part is that it’s a huge motivator to continue. It may not be getting a five-book deal with Doubleday, but actually publishing something somehow makes everything more real. It’s easy to get discouraged or disillusioned when you spend years writing stories that spend their entire existence on your hard drive. Self publishing is something I can highly recommend, even if you just go to a service like Createspace and drop six dollars on a single copy just for yourself.

Best case scenario, your book becomes a small hit and you make some beer and pizza money. Worst case, you just have something really cool to put on your shelf. That’s a lot better than just leaving it on your hard drive.

Of course, this is where the naysayers will laugh at your self-published book and point out that anyone can do it, but my answer to them remains the same: Yes, anyone can self publish a book…but I actually did and you didn’t.

Put simply, if you’ve never created anything or had the courage to put yourself out there…I couldn’t care less about anything you have to say about the things I’ve created. The world is full of arm-chair quarterbacks who love to put you down and talk about how they could do better…but the truth is they never actually do. It’s like I’ve written about trolls on the internet: The world’s crappiest YouTube video is a million times more worthwhile than any of the negative comments underneath it. The person you’re making fun of took the time and effort to create something and you didn’t…so shut the fuck up.

Anyway, I just want to say thank you to everyone who bought a copy and an extra special thank you to everyone who took the time to send me some pretty awesome feedback.

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