Friday, December 4, 2009

ebb and flow

I just got off the phone with a friend of mine, the author of a fascinating book called Finding Oz (among others), a friend from elementary school who I remember most from a school picture he was wearing a red turtle neck in. We reconnected, after many years, on facebook—it's hard to think of him as a grown up. In my mind, he's still Evan, in third grade.

We talked books. He's written several and was hoping, as honestly, we all do, that this Oz book would be a bestseller. And that didn't happen. We talked about the ups and downs, the thrill of possibilities (he was asked to be on the Colbert Report), and the devastation when that doesn't work out. The obsessive need to check amazon stats ALL THE TIME. The pouring your soul, your energy, your hopes and dreams into something and then putting it out into the world with the greatest of expectations.

It was both a supportive and sobering conversation. He said that a big advance is indicative of belief that a book will be a big seller. That if a publisher is putting in big bucks at the beginning, they'll support it once it's out. That a high print run means they'll make sure it's out on front tables and in tons of stores.

We talked about the need for major media to pay attention to make something a big hit. And that main streams media pays attention to big hits. A true chicken/egg conundrum. How do you get people to pay attention, no matter how fantastic your book is, no matter how much you believe in it, when you're nobody? Not that I'm calling myself a nobody, but I haven't been on a reality TV show or had my number discovered in a politician's cell phone.

We talked about devoting your life to promote it for sixth months, setting up talks, traveling wherever people would have you. And then, at the end, declaring victory.

Honestly, FLOW so far *has* been a victory. Just that it exists is amazing. That it's as beautiful as it is. That it's been so exceedingly well received. That I've done interviews, that people are reading and writing and thinking about it. I've become a far better writer. My confidence in myself, my comfort in my voice, how I fit in my skin so much better—all a result of this life-changing experience that's broken me down and built me back up. Leaner and meaner.

All good. SO good. I'm so proud of myself and thrilled with all that's happened. But still, the crashes come.

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