In my most recent post, I bemoaned the “romantic” nature of the titles of the books in my feminist fantasy trilogy. I beat myself up sans merci. Funny how that pity pot catches up with a person. I spoke of reality—as though I have a hold on reality. Ha! In addition to that post, I whined quite a bit on Facebook, deleting three-quarters of the posts immediately after posting them, but I did leave a couple hanging out there.
People had suggestions. Some said keep the titles, change the covers and my marketing strategy. (Truth is I don’t have a marketing strategy. I’m a freakin’ introvert, okay?) Some said they had no problem with any of it. I’m also fairly sure that there were some who thought I was full of it and posted nothing rather than hurt my feelings.
One comment in particular, however, nailed it. From an online friend dating back to the mid 1990s. She hit me with some straight talk that slapped me right back into place, and here’s what I took from what she said. I have to let go at some point. Lisen, my main character, and all her friends deserve the opportunity to find friends out in the world, on their own. I can promote the books. I can suggest—politely, mind; I’m not into that in-your-face line of promotional strategy—that you check the books out. Maybe I’ll even take the money and time I’d planned on redoing covers and such and put it into a video for the books. Now how’s that for a strategy?
And in the midst of my “poor-me-ing,” a couple of soft-but-persistent voices arose. Comments in the midst of my maelstrom of self-pity. They’d read my books and loved them. Which brought home to me the “real” reality. I can’t know who is reading or has read my books. Not really (there’s a variation of that word again). Secret readers hide out everywhere it seems. They hide in their corners reading away, not reviewing, just absorbing. And passing the books on to others. A moment of sweet contentment, a moment of grace, when I discover I’m not writing in a vacuum.
A novelist sits at home, alone, at a desk, surrounded by sheets of paper or notebooks or, in my case, 4 x 6” cards that lay out a story she wants to tell as best she can. She lives in that world, whether it’s a modern-day metropolis or a Greco-Roman-like world in another dimension, and manipulates characters and situations to conjure up the best possible tale.
And that, my friends, is my excuse. I simply confused the “real” world with my pretend world and assumed I had that level of control. Nope. And now I’ll get back to my latest project where I still have control. Happy Monday!