But this is just one aspect of being a writer – of intrinsic importance, of course, and you can’t call yourself a writer unless you are prepared to go through all of the above – there are other aspects that might be perilous to ignore.
To be a successful writer these days, several other hats should be donned once the writing has been done. The same is true even to be a moderately successful writer. There was a time when writers did not have to don any other hats – there were people who did that for them. These hats include
upping your profile, trying to get (hopefully rave, but no guarantees!) reviews – online and in the press, making sure everyone, including the right people know about them, doing signings, visiting schools, blogging about your new book, blogging about yourself, being active on twitter and facebook, getting interviewed, networking, courting bloggers and librarians, speaking at conferences, and finding as many platforms for yourself and your book as possible. (Even Margaret Atwood maintains an active Twitter profile)
Creating a bit of a buzz for your book is important. The books that find their way onto all the shortlists and often win prizes haven’t got there all by themselves, unless their authors have been extremely lucky. The writers have been doing all the above and more to ensure their book’s success.
Not as many people read my first novel, The Long Weekend, as I would have liked. There are so many factors that contributed to that. I’m putting my hand up and saying that one of those factors was my naivety as a newly published author. No one knew about my book and as I wasn’t shouting it from the rooftops or even holding it up for people to see, things stayed that way. I didn’t know about all the other hats I needed to wear if I wanted my book to reach its readers, I just assumed that others were donning them for me. Consequently my book was only in a few book shops and found by very few readers.
That isn't me running for joy. She's younger, cuter, endowed with glossy hair. But when I saw her yesterday afternoon at Valley Forge National Park where I had gone after a day of peaceful writing, I stopped and memorialized her moment with this picture. I was feeling that way myself. I was leaning toward good, and toward the future.
My Facebook friends heard me tell this story on Friday, but it bears repeating here. You Are My Only
, a little book if ever there was one, a book that nonetheless believed in itself, went back to press last week to boost its presence in bookstores. I'm not going to pretend that the numbers are huge; they aren't. I'm not going to suggest that a second print run gives this writer celebrity status. Celebrity status is a state of mind. No matter what happens, my friends, I will not enter that realm. I like the world in which I'm living.
What mattered to me about the news is this: You Are My Only
would not have been given that boost without my book blogger friends
. These are people busy with their own lives—their jobs, their children, their partners, their dreams, their book projects, their countless other blogger friends—who stopped and started banging on a drum. Pay attention,
they said. A book is coming.
They stopped to read, earlier than they'd planned to. They created contests, at their own expense. They entered my own crazy You Are My Only Treasure Hunt
, a complicated ditty that took, yes, blogger time. They Twittered and Facebooked and emailed and said, We believe in you, Beth, and in this book
. This was a rally based largely on blind trust. There are no thanks great enough. There are names and people I will never forget: Amy Riley, Pam Van Hylckama Vlieg, Danielle Smith, Florinda Lantos Pendley Vasquez, Melissa Sarno, Colleen Mondor, Wendy Robards, Shanyn Day, Serena Agusto-Cox, Melissa Walker, Leila Roy, Mandy Stanley King, Ed Goldberg, Lorie Anne Grover, Little Willow, Caroline Leavitt, Aquafortis, Valerie Burleigh, Vivian Lee Mahoney, The Perpetual Page-Turner, Sarah Laurence, John Jacobs, Lilian Natel, The Story Siren, Susan Taylor Brown, Carol Weiss, Mundie Moms, Medieval Bookworm, Hippies Beauty and Books, Books Thoughts and a Few Adventures, The Reading Zone, Kay's Bookshelf, Bonnie Jacobs, Elizabeth Mosier, Ruth Koepel, Anna Lefler, and Books and Movies, who wrote Saturday evening and touched me so deeply (thank you so much, Carrie) with these beautiful words.
A huge thank you to Darcy Jacobs of Family Circle.
And for all of you who have been there in the past, for other books and other dreams of mine, don't think for a second that I have forgotten you. It has all made an enormous difference. And if I have neglected any name here (and gosh, I have feared that, especially since I do not google my own name), tell me, and after I pick myself up off the floor from shame, I will make amends.
I have been blogging for four years now. I have been privy, throughout this time, to the conversation about whether or not book bloggers can make an actual difference. I want to say here, again, for the indelible record, that of course they do. Book bloggers give writers hope that their work will be read and considered—no small thing. Book bloggers stand at the
Written by Michelle Lovric
$17.99, ages 9-12, 464 pages
When a magical book falls onto Teo's head, the 11-year-old orphan is thrust on a quest to save Venice from a vengeful ghost and his band of mutilated spirits, in this imaginative, brilliant debut.
Teo, who has lived in Naples as long as she can remember, has always yearned to go to Venice and now her adoptive parents have finally invited her to go as they research a troubling presence in the city of canals.
One day, while exploring the city, Teo wanders into an old bookstore and is knocked to the floor when a tome called, "The Key to the Secret City," tumbles off a shelf.
Just before Teo is taken to the hospital, the bookseller slips her the book. When she awakens in her hospital room, she discovers the book is still with her, and there's a menacing wooden statue near her bed.
The statue, put there by some mysterious force haunting the city, is bleeding from its mouth and seems to be coming to life. Suddenly, Teo loses consciousness and disappears.
She awakens in a graveyard with the tome still in her pinafore, and as she tries to find her way back to her parents' hotel room, she discovers she's become invisible, except it seems, to children.
As she walks, the book speaks to her, writing words of warning across the pages, including a strange poem about an undrowned child, and soon, the book leads her to a Gondola boy named Renzo.
Teo and Renzo are told by the book that they are Venice's protectors and are led to The House of Spirits, a refuge for aging nuns and heartbroken ghosts, then under the sea to a colony of mermaids.
The mermaids are nothing like those in children's books; they speak like pirates and act like revolutionaries, running an underground press to warn the city of an impending evil.
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