From Writer to Author

So here it is. Finally after six years of intense writing, editing and rewriting. After finding a literary agent and letting him go, after endless rounds of edits, I’m officially published. I expected this occasion to feel momentous, yet I’m finding that I’m more anxious than excited.

woman in front of the Billy the Kid museum
In front of the “Billy The Kid” museum in Fort Sumner, NM

All these years I’ve written in the privacy of my office and now my product is available to the public. While that sounds cool, it also opens the door too being criticized “in public.” Don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned to accept and even appreciate critiques because they are what makes us better writers. Six years in writing groups teach you a lot about writing and yourself. Learning to take advice is just one of many valuable lessons.

The other part that makes me anxious is that as an unpublished writer one can concentrate on writing, writing and writing. Nothing else matters, but to develop craft, write, edit and do historical research.

sign at Billy the Kid grave
Official Billy The Kid Grave (the original location is unknown because the graveyard was flooded in the early 1900s.

As a published writer we’ve just added a slew of extra tasks, the dreaded marketing. In today’s publishing environment, most authors have to take on serious amounts of public relations, advertising and personal involvement. We must visit schools, stores and book clubs. We must create an online presence. We must create a platform, blog, tweet, Facebook and do blog tours.

All of a sudden my tranquil day of writing in the mornings, editing in the afternoons no longer works. I’ve got to spread myself thin, create lists, send e-mails, post updates and contact book stores. My daily load has doubled, maybe tripled. This is even more pronounced because I have a second novel being published this summer.

historic marker near Lincoln, NM
Historic marker near Lincoln, NM where Billy shot the two deputies and escaped.

As a result I am frazzled. It’s like swimming in murky waters without knowing where to find land. As I’m working on one thing, the back of mind whispers I should get busy with another. I’m in the middle of editing book two of the historical trilogy Escape from the Past, yet I seem to get stuck after two pages because there are so many “new” distractions.

All I can hope is that with time things will settle down. I will fall into a rhythm. Maybe…

I’d love your thoughts. Maybe I’m making this sound way too complicated.