Charlotte is two years old! It seems like just yesterday that Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale was born, shiny and new, and the long uphill journey to promoting the novel had just begun. If I knew then what I know now…
You can spend 16 hours per day writing, or write for an hour or two before work and again before bed seven days a week, or write for 72 hours straight on the weekend, or combine all of these and the result will be the same: writing is the easy part. If your last name is not Rowling, King, Patterson or Grisham, a publisher will not support you the way you imagine a publisher will support you based on what we see in the movies and on TV, although the concept that non-syndicated columnist Carrie Bradshaw could afford to spend $15K a month on shoes is very funny.
There will be no multi-city book tour, launch parties, radio and TV appearances, newspaper and magazine articles, photo shoots, stylists, written word groupies or bus sides unless you organize and pay for them yourself. I’m not complaining (really). It’s just the way it is, which is that way no one tells you before you decide to become a novelist, because if they did you’d go to medical school or become a Navy Seal instead—you know, something comparatively easy.
I think people have this idea that writers sit around sipping from a bottle of scotch, cigarette dangling from our lips, which are painted the perfect shade of red to go with our slightly disheveled bed head, wearing silk pajamas all day while a handsome young manservant prepares poached eggs and toast any time we ask. It simply isn’t like that, although it should be.
When the book was finally published, after rounds and rounds of editing otherwise known as killing your darlings (absolutely as painful as it sounds), I thought I’d have a minute to breathe, get something waxed, maybe see a movie or visit with friends. But no. The work was just beginning.
I could tell you all that it entails, but I could write a frickin’ book in less time than that would take. Two years later (I totally thought Charlotte II would be written, edited, published and released by now) I am still promoting Charlotte I, but I am optimistic even though I haven’t written a word of Charlotte II. It is, however, all up here (#PointingToMyHead), so fear not if you’re dying to know what becomes of our girl and her zany cast of characters. It’s a’comin’…
Two years later, the interviews and speaking engagements continue, but now that I’m not frantic as a chipmunk hopped up on Miracle-Gro, I am actually enjoying it. Next week I’ll be with a gathering of women who are interested in talking about optimism, the predominant theme of the novel. They’ll be serving food and drinks, and I guaranty there will be laughter. If history is any indication, it will be at turns bawdy, emotional, giddy and empowering.
My very most favorite thing is visiting with readers who find hope and joy on my pages. Every single one of us has had our #CharlotteMoments, and those are the very things that make us strong and resilient. After reading the book thousands of times, editing, re-editing and editing again, I am renewed, motivated and utterly thrilled when I learn someone has found meaning and nuance that I didn’t consciously put on the page.
So thank you for hangin’ out with me, whether it has been a day or two years. If you’re here now it’s because we are friends, at least that is how I see it. I sleep well knowing you.
I’m offering a free Kindle download of Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale to anyone who subscribes to my (usually) weekly blog. How, you ask, is something of this magnitude possible?
Go to the top of this page and subscribe by entering your email and then clicking yes. (A few words of encouragement in the comments section always appreciated!) I’ll email you a link to your very own free Kindle edition of Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale (redeemable until midnight June 12) and you’ll be the first one on your block to get an alert when I post a new blog. (I would never share your email address with anyone.)
Have a great weekend and happy reading!