"Observing a poppy deciding if it is safe to face the world"
(I've been playing with a macro lens, more images to follow soon)
As you probably know (and if not, then you are new to my life on earth or in cyberspace - if that is the case, I would like to extent a warm welcome to my life on little wings...) anyway... as you know I have recently 'given birth' to my new book Flying on Little Wings. A lovely event in my life, with so many well wishers and complete strangers writing me -by post (you know the one that lands on the doormat) and via email, facebook and here on my blog, or telling me how much they love this new 'child' when I meet people on the street.
My new baby was warmly welcomes into this world.
I was over the moon, so to speak.
Then comes a time of reality. (Or maybe I got caught up in reality)
This 'baby' needs to finds it's way into the world. It doesn't want to just live here at home ( all of them). It wants to be free. Book babies grow up quickly...
As I had 1000 copies, I worked steadily to get this book out there. This means getting books out to newspapers, tv, radio, all in the hope to get a little head start in life. I was successful in some cases. See this post or this one. Trying to get books into bookstores on the other hand is an utterly frustrating and time wasting occupation. Maybe it is like getting a place for your child in an elite school when you are of little means?
To get books into bookshops- in Ireland anyway, it means that you need to have a distributor, or ring shops one by one and offer your books on a sale or return basis. Most bookshops won't do this and those who do, might never respond to your calls again...
To get a distribution deal, you need to be 'god', the next JK Rowling, need to be on tv at least once a week, or so it seems. With my previous book (Cirrus Chronicles) I emailed, rang, posted books to the distributor and never EVER got a response or the courtesy of a return email... So, I was utterly surprised to have a person to talk to at the distributors, after the article appeared in the Irish Examiner. I was asked to forward a book. I did. Excitedly and full of hope.
After that. No response.
No return phone call.
Until last week when I received a letter that Flying on Little Wings, will not be distributed by them (pretty much the only distributor in this country). The reason? They need to be able to confidently predict significant sales in order to justify warehouse space. (the book is 10x10cm and about half a centimeter thick- if that) ... etc etc.
Even if they had taken on the distribution, they take 55% of the sales; do not actually distribute unless a shops asks for the book, and do not in any promote the book.
So maybe nothing lost.
What I did loose is energy and the conviction that writing is what I need to do in life. The big question reappeared in my mind. And that is after I had so confidently written on my Facebook page that I AM a writer.
I had to re-examine my role as a writer and what writing means to me, and creativity in general.
What is a writer?
a person engaged in writing books, articles, stories, etc.,especially as an occupation or profession; an author or journalist.
a clerk, scribe, or the like.
a person who commits his or her thoughts, ideas, etc.,to writing: an expert letter writer.
Taking the above description into account, then yes I am a writer. But aren't we all in some way.
Incidentally, a while back I had been very excited to learn that my great grand father was a writer, but when I researched this in greater detail, it didn't necessarily mean that he wrote books. He wrote letters for other people and was a civil servant (station master) in his days (early 1900).
So we are all writers, in some form or other, it just isn't for everyone to have the desire, or being encouraged, to share their thoughts on paper, in books (or the Internet) with others.
So why do I write and why do I see myself- at times- as a writer?
I need to write to survive.
I write so I can hang on to the lovely things I see around me, like a bee leaning from one forget me not flower down to the one below to nibble on the nectar.
I share my writing to have some presence in the world, which is otherwise off bounds for me due to illness.
Writing is how I communicate with the world. And I value the connections I made because of it.
Being denied to have this connection with the world increased by distribution and to see how much energy it cost to follow this path of releasing books into the world was like that 'slap in the face' again. You are not in the real world so get used to it it seems to say.
Reading a sentence in a book I was reading The Breakers by Claudie Gallay made me realise our/my position in the world. "The sickness of those who look on as others live."
The sickness of those who look on as others live
I am in no way saying that if I didn't have ME that selling my books, other than via my website, would be any easier.
What I am trying to say is that this whole episode, exhaustion bordering on relapse, made me very aware again about what I do, and what I do not have, and what I long for.
I would love to go out to book fairs, to take part in writers festivals, to drive around the country to show my work, and have shops take an interest, and most importantly share my work.
I can't. (As yet).
And that drives me nuts.
It sounds like I am blaming everything on ME. I don't; if it wasn't for illness in my life I doubt I would have written and published three books, and would have reached so many heart and minds.
The usual double edge sword. But then again, we all have our issues. Healthy individuals, bestowed with buckets of energy might not have time to write as they have to work all hours of the day to pay the mortgage for a house which is worth a lot less than last year.
So for now, I have decided to quietly keep promoting my books and art where ever I can. Today opened an Etsy Account for my handmade book and sculptures, and have a Facebook page for Little Wings Publications with links to my three book pages. I also have has opted to sell my books via Amazon and they should be available soon.
A long flight it has been. A bit like the swallows that have just arrived from Africa. They are a bit weary and didn't sing must in their first week here.
As with the swallows and all the other birds in my garden, I will start rebuilding my nest to create a safe place for more eggs to hatch. This time round however, I will nurture the hatching and growing with a lot of love, for them and for me as the mother of these fledgelings.
I will proudly follow their progress and watch their little heads peeping out over the rim of the nest and share this with you all.
As always it is so nice to know I have your company!
If you like to comment on any of the above, would you be so kind to write it in the comment box below, instead of on Facebook? This way other blog visitors can read it too,
and I don't miss your comment when I am not logging on to Facebook.
Thank you X