Discover more from love letters to storytellers
on being a famous published author
making peace with process
my book is out!
this is a love story: poems and essays on friendship, love, and mental health is now out! You can get the links to buy it here or search for it wherever you buy books! Most independent bookstores will usually order in books for you too, if you ask. I love this most recent review which captures perfectly what I was trying to do:
“This is a love story is exactly that, a beautiful ode to the past selves we hated that we needed to be. Sherlock captures her growing pains with the grace of an adult without losing any of the gnawing darkness of what it is like to be young, anxious and isolated by your own anxiety and self-loathing…
This is a love story is a battle cry rallying all those who have ever suffered in silence, screaming and reaching through the void that you are not alone. As much as the work deals with issues of mental health at its core it is about hope. Yes, these horrible things happened but look at you surviving.”
“Publishing is not all it’s cracked up to be. Writing is.” – Anne Lamott
In November 2021, I went to the Wild Writing in the Boreal writing retreat. I was an eager writer, freshly committed to a writing “career” (whatever that means) determined to meet people, make connections, and become more involved in the local writing community. I came away with a handful of Instagram handles that later became friends, mentors, and collaborators.
This past weekend, I went to the same retreat, now with a freshly published book under my belt. I am finally published, something young writers dream of for years, decades even. The be-all end-all of a writer’s career is always presented as publishing, and book publishing the pinnacle of it all. However, at the writing retreat this past weekend, I was comforted to hear the more unvarnished truth about a few authors’ book publishing experiences.
One author’s book, a book I’m sure would have gone on to win multiple awards, had been completely killed by a turnover in a publishing house director and a passing complaint by someone who was named in the book. Instead of finding another solution, the entire book was recalled and is no longer in print, even though at launch, it had sold out in two weeks and was ratcheting up bestseller lists. Even still, thousands of women email the author thanking her for her story and the meaning and connection the book gave them.
Another author I met self-published a couple years ago, working together with a group to edit each other’s work and hold each other accountable until their publication dates. However, by the time she got to release, she was too burnt out to do any further marketing and was fine letting it pass into semi-obscurity of solely word-of-mouth marketing. The author is grateful for the experience and process while her book flies under the radar.
And my own story of publishing. I’ve been working towards getting this is a love story out in the world for two years and now it’s finally out. I expected to feel some sense of relief, but instead I’ve come up against more roadblocks; the strange and dark magic of distribution, restrictive consignment programs, weird Amazon algorithms, and my own insecurities of not being good enough, not knowing enough, not doing enough. And I’m tired, too. I forgot that marketing continues after release and I’m not sure how much more I can do, because honestly, I’m just ready to move on. I’ve been with this story for two years and them some, and I love it, but I would like to be done now and focus on something else, write something new, move on.
So… why? Why did I do this?
Let’s go back to a previous newsletter…
“My goal has always been to just do it, to prove that I can. To say I did something. To say I shared a story with the world. To say I was unafraid (or I was afraid and I did it in spite of that). To stretch myself. To create a story. To tell myself my story matters. To say I can create something beautiful.”
I think I accomplished all of that. So why am I so unsatisfied?
I think I expected to feel differently after release, and yes there were moments, but I think that’s the thing. People congratulate me on my release, which is lovely, and also that’s the thing that is meaningful for others as now they can have the book in their hands. But for me, it was much more about the process and all of the little meaningful moments along the way. Connecting with someone new. Laughing with Amber over illustrations and making fun of all the clichés we came up with before landing on a direction. Someone messaging me saying they connected with an Instagram post, newsletter, or poetry post. Having more people than I thought sign up to be ARC reviewers. People actually reviewing my book. People I wouldn’t expect telling me they want to buy my book. Holding the physical copy in my hand and feeling the unique texture of the cover. So many encouragements and commiserating with other writers.
In the end, it’s just about connecting, and telling stories. I’m excited for the process to continue.
See you next month.
p.s. oh yeah the book launch
So every time I talk about my book being out, people ask when the (in-person) book launch is! Answer: I’m working on it! Still a lot of logistics to work out, and we’ll see where things land, but I’m hoping either this month, or next if need be. A few people have asked if they can help me with the book launch, so I’ve set up a ko-fi, a site where you can “buy me a coffee” (so give like, $5) towards supporting my creating. I have a “book launch” goal running currently if you want to contribute to book launch expenses. The best thing is, ko-fi doesn’t take a cut of the amounts given, so it all goes to producing the book launch for you to celebrate with me!
Thanks for all your support.