This month has been good to me! By a lovely confluence of circumstances, I ended up having two books released within a couple of weeks of each other. The Shattered City (HarperVoyager) is Book Two of my Creature Court trilogy, a mass market fantasy release, while Love and Romanpunk (Twelfth Planet Press) is a boutique short story collection from an indie publisher.
The release of a new book is an exciting but faintly surreal time for me. So much work over such a long period of time, and yet when the book actually turns up in the post or on the bookshelves I tend to do a double take. What, really? I did that?
Then there’s the fact that book releases tend to require an awful lot of what I like to call, “pretending to be an author.”
Whenever writers gather together (as many of us did at Swancon in WA last weekend) sooner or later the conversation turns to the way that all of us feel like we’re not there yet. Everyone has the next rung of the ladder in sight, whether that rung be professional publication, the next contract, an agent, critical acclaim, the next contract, overseas sales, or just – not feeling like a fraud when people refer to you as an author.
It’s amazing how hard it is, that last one. A writer might be working away every day, getting the job done, but as soon as the ‘author’ word gets mentioned, they look like a deer in headlights. Definitions are tricky – it’s even possible to write every day and not entirely think of yourself as a writer. Then suddenly, there’s a New Book right there, and you’re expected to actually leave the house and do promotional Thingies.
Not that I’m complaining – I’m lucky in that I love conventions, I feel fairly confident in front of a radio mike (as a fantasy author it’s a pretty big deal to even get an interview in mainstream media, so I’m grateful for any and all opportunities) and I don’t even get too nervous standing up in front of people to say something nice at a book launch.
I’m lying about that last part. I’m just really good at concealing my nervousness until the last minute.
This year, for the Shattered City, I spent a large chunk of April on my Slapdash Blog Tour, which is what happens when you don’t make any promotional plans for your novel at all, and then at the last minute ask Twitter who would like to host a guest post for you. The last few posts aren’t up yet, so I haven’t done a complete round up, but my first four collections of blog tour posts can be found here.
So basically I’ve spent a month writing about my new novel (all very circular) from every possible angle – and pretending to a variety of people that I am, in fact, an author. I even got to travel all the way to Perth for Swancon, and talk on formal panels as well as at private parties about all manner of things – not only my books, but writing and genre and social media and TV and feminism and outdoor v. indoor fantasy. It’s been fun, tiring, never entirely glamorous, but I certainly don’t have any complaints.
And now, with Love and Romanpunk just out, and The Shattered City about to be launched next Tuesday (at 5:30pm, the Hobart Bookshop, Tasmania) I still have several weeks ahead of me of talking about my actual books, seeing people (hopefully!) buy, read and review them, and trying to think of new ways of promoting my pretty papery things without boring my friends senseless.
Though (she said in a tiny voice) I really would rather be writing my next book.