The Easy Life of an Author

I want this hat.

I want this hat.

Who would think the life of a writer would cause aches and pains all over one’s body? My fingers are moving slowly over my keyboard this morning because I have spent 12 to 14 hours at my computer the last few days finishing my next book.

When I am in finish mode I barely notice anything that is happening around me. In fact, when I took a break to stretch I noticed my house was empty of the man I share my life with. I checked all the rooms, peeked out the window and could see that he was not in the yard or in the garage. I vaguely remembered that he might have said something to me while I was concentrating. I had to call to see where he was and what I had missed when he was telling me where he was going.

I am a small cog in a big wheel of authors. Being a small cog does not diminish the work it takes to write a book, edit what I wrote and get it off to my publisher. Once it is at the publisher you might think that the work is done, but it is only the beginning.

When I am in finish mode it means that I neglected writing this column, writing my blog, my Facebook page, my Twitter page and promotion for my other books. It means I neglected the calls from friends and preparing for the time I need to spend at writer’s meetings and book fairs. Also there will be more edits for the book sent to the publisher as they read it and offer suggestions on how to make it better, since I am comma challenged.

My author friends work long hours and into the night so they can create and weave their stories. As much as we love what we do there is stress involved with deadlines and expectations. If our first books were a success, can our new ones measure up to what our reader’s expect? Usually authors work on more than one project at a time.

Recently I have been working with a graphic artist who is creating a Granny image for my publishing company that is all ours. Add to the fact that my books will soon be out in audio. To make that happen there were interviews with a producer to find the right person to project the image of my books.

As I wait for the new book to come out I must work on either taking the time myself to create a book trailer or finding someone to create my vision.

Authors write because for them it is breath. It is the same way for me. Authors, unless you are very famous, do not make a great deal of money. On any month it is feast or famine, but authors write because they like to tell the story.

We go on blog tours; we have our own touring company that sets up the tours. We visit book stores and sign books. We speak at libraries, churches and wherever people love books.

Each author has his or her own way of getting a book to the stage where it is ready to send to their publisher. Some outline, and some wing it. Whatever works for each author still requires time and effort.

A blogger and reviewer that features the type of cozy mysteries that I write, recently had a reader chastise her because the reader thought what the blogger does is easy. The blogger let her readers know how much time it takes to promote, read and review to keep her blog fresh. What may look easy to an onlooker looks that way because it required a lot of work.

I love what I do but I have to write when the creativity spins in my mind. That may be at 4 a.m. after waking up from a dream. It may be at 10:30 p.m. when I can’t get to sleep because an idea forms in my mind. Or, it may be forcing myself to sit down at my computer every day for a little while; whether I feel like writing or not, hoping something that I write has a spark of creativity.

What I do, when I write, is no different than every man and woman who go to work every single day to put food on their table and make a living. It is another career just like the ones my readers have. It takes dedication and perseverance. It takes long work days to achieve the vision that is in our heads.

When you read a book by your favorite author, remember the work that it took to get that book on the shelf by authors, editors and publishers.

Authors love their readers, and in today’s world it is easier to get to know our readers on social media. The favorite parts of my job are meeting authors whose books I have read and being able to now call them my friends. It is meeting new friends and meeting my readers and finding out who they are and caring about them as people, not some number on a spreadsheet.

Perhaps a quote by Harlan Ellison says it best. “People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it.”

It’s been fun taking a break, but it’s time to edit.

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