For some writers letting go of their precious manuscript is very hard. There is always another edit, a final read, a change of mind on this, or that minor point. Then when the book, play, short story makes it out into the world, they obsess about its place in the rankings, despair over bad reviews, are euphoric over the good.
Am I strange because I don’t feel that way?
As soon as my work has been published, or performed, I feel that it has gone. It has a life of its own out there with only a very slight connection to me, its author.
When we were living in Jamaica I wrote, ‘Stich and Bitch’ a play to be performed at the Canadian High Commission about the lives of ex-pat women. One of the actresses had to go back home and it was suggested I take her part. Could I learn the lines? I could not. In spite of the fact that I had written them, they simply would not stick. It was as if I had never seen them before. I don’t believe it was stage fright, in the end I too had to go back to the UK and never got to act, or see the play. I think it was because for me the lines were as new as if someone else had written them. The play was out there. It was no longer mine.
The same is true of my short stories, some of which I find hard to recognise, let alone remember when I wrote them and indeed my books. Which makes it extra hard to throw myself into the whole marketing thing.
For three days over the Christmas period ‘House of Shadows’ has been on special offer as a free e-book. I’ve promoted, tweeted, FBooked and the response has been brilliant. The book reached #4 in the Time Slip charts on Amazon and I couldn’t be more pleased. Yet at the same time there is an element of unreality about the whole experience. It’s almost as if it’s happening to someone else.
Books have a life of their own. Release them, let them go and made their own way in the big wide world. Unfortunately in the 21st Century that’s not how it works.
If I have a resolution for 2015, it’s to do more to tell people about what I have written, to promote my books, to give them a helping hand on the road to being a best seller.
Happy New Year!