Where are all the parties?

26 Jan

When I set out to become a writer, especially when I was young—I mean 13, 14-years-old-young—this glamorized image of what that would entail seemed unreachable. I realized as I aged, as I published not one, not two, but three books, with more on the way that it really IS unreachable. And it’s not because I’m not popular enough, rich enough, good enough.

It’s because it doesn’t exist, at least not in its original form.

cocktail party.jpg

The days of lavish launch parties and book tours with throngs of fans clamoring for an autograph are mostly behind us.

The industry just isn’t like that anymore.

I mean, sure, if you’re a brand name writer, a big name that still manages to get the Today Show and Good Morning America so many years after both productions canned their book review and author segments, then potentially these parties and fans still abound.

But I’m not that writer and, if you’re reading this, I’m guessing you aren’t either.

No offense meant. It likely means, no matter how excellent your work, you came into the game too late. We started the journey at a time when that approach to publicity was dying or already gone. There’s no way to change it or yourself or your writing to turn the book industry back into one that flocks after its writers rather than the writers flocking after it for attention, contracts, marketing. Ugh, marketing.

We are in the age of DIY (even if traditionally published). So what do I say of those images of a bygone era in publishing still floating in my mind from 15 years ago?

I say I’ll throw my own party.

I’m still not sure at what point of publication success I’ll deem myself deserving of one of those huge affairs, and this is despite the fact that every book release makes me feel like going out and spending a bunch of money on sushi to celebrate. But once release dates come and go, it’s always, “OK, maybe with the next book.” And I’ll probably never feel like I’ve done as much as I could to garner that attention. I’m a one-person operation, and it’s a ton of work to be your own manager, marketer, publicist, accountant. And I certainly don’t know enough people to pack a rented space, but I keep telling myself that one day I’ll release the book that shoves me out of the shadows and makes that party a no-brainer.

It’s not a matter of the previous books not being good enough to do that. It’s a matter of how many people were watching when I was brand new versus now, five years from now, and so on.  Some authors get lucky and have that with the first book.

It’s what we all dream of.

But there’s nothing wrong with writing myself out of obscurity and into the public eye with a shelf of previous publications behind me. Books make great step-stools, and the unreachable gets just a bit closer to the fingertips when you have a pile of them to stand on.

(Plus, I’ll need a big stack in order to reach the candles at the top of the enormous cake I’ll have when I finally throw that party.)

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