Part of planning my book tour is thinking about what sections I might want to read at signings and book parties. So this week I cracked a copy “142 Ostriches” and started reading with an audience in mind. A few things occurred to me.
It’s Been 2.5 Years
The first is that I finished this book in 2017. 2017 people. I’m thrilled to be traditionally published, but this is how long it has taken to find an agent, then a publisher, then do rounds of edits, then more rounds of edits. I mean, it’s been a long road.
And even though I have read it through, many times, emotionally I was done with this book in 2017. I’ve spent the last two and a half years writing my next book (which is almost done – woo hoo!) and starting book three. These are the books I’m emotionally engaged with at this point in my life.
And I Still Love It
The second thing that occurred to me, as I was reading through pages, is that I still LOVE this story. I had been avoiding reading it again because I always have this fear, every time I read something I’ve written, that I’m going to hate it. But I don’t. I love it. Like a child I’ve sent out into the world, I’m really proud of it.
This is the attitude that I’ve been nurturing as I plan the book tour. This book may be in my past, but it’s only just beginning to stretch it’s legs and I need to remember that I love it and, if I do say so myself, it’s pretty good.
What To Share
The third thing I realized is that there are very few sections of 142 Ostriches that I can read straight through without having to stop and explain things. I have heard authors talk about this as a challenge when they do readings.
One woman I heard speak at a conference (I’m sorry I can’t remember who, but it was at the WOTS conference a few years back) gave the advice that, when you are reading your book aloud to people, you absolutely don’t have to stick to what’s on the page. She said:
- Go ahead and change words you want to change
- Skip whole paragraphs and even pages
- Make lots of notes ON THE PAGE so you remember when to emphasize certain things and when to skip things
- Write in the margins the things you need to tell people before you start – and most importantly
- NO SPOILERS
So I’ve been highlighting and underlining my copy of 142 Ostriches with gusto. At some point I’m going to read the sections out loud and time them, then make a note at the beginning of the section as to how long it takes to read it. This particular copy will become a bible for all my public readings from the book.
It will be interesting to see how the publishing of this book overlaps with the final stages of bringing my second novel into the world. In theory, this one will go faster. I have an agent and a publisher. And I sincerely hope that I get better as a writer every time I sit down to write, so maybe I will need to do fewer rounds of edits this time… maybe?
As for the blog, I want to apologize to my long-time readers if my shift in subject matter has left them wanting. For nine years I blogged about the process and craft of writing, offering tips and insights as I figured them out along the way. Lately it’s been all about this publishing journey.
I do plan to come back to more craft-focused posts. It’s just that right now, publishing is what’s front of mind. I hope it’s useful. If there’s anything specific you’d like me to share, please let me know if the comments below.
And thanks for being a part of this journey. I really do appreciate having you here.