Marv plays the Great Highland Bagpipes! So it figures that the name of his publishing company would be Piper Press. Last weekend, we visited his kilt tailor. Marv has four kilts.
While he was having his kilts let out or taken in, the kilt tailor, Kelly, somehow mentioned her beloved childhood author Judy Blume. I forget in what capacity, but I responded, “Judy Blume is now offering a class on the web for writers. So many writers and actors are offering classes for pay on the web. Another way to earn money!”
And Kelly the kilt tailor said, “The publishing business is not easy these days. It’s really a very tough business.”
I wondered how she knew this truth.
I told her that the tough book business has forced AUTHORS into self-promotion. The literary agents expect the authors to do the agenting work and the publisher's work. The agents and publishers can no longer reach the public without colossal enormous expense and time. Promotion and marketing (one and the same to me) mean time away from writing, from contemplation, from invention. Ernest Hemmingway was uniquely very public and a great self-promoter, but writers, in large, are a breed apart. We need our time to write and think about writing. We are drawn to quiet spaces and locations. We are drawn to anonymity— until the next book is first published. Then we show up for a while.
Of course we do like to enter social settings, gather observations, then retreat to create our tales. Once I asked the regular guests at a small dinner party, “Are you people nervous that I will turn any of you into a character in my short stories or novels?”
They delighted in answering, “Oh if you only would! I’d be thrilled.”
However, like most writers, I’m more inclined to turn myself into a character, since so much writing is autobiographical.
Some people think that since Marv and I have travelled the world a great deal, I will use our travels in my novels. But my response is this: When we travel, we peer into neighborhoods, museums, and cathedrals; we walk, shop, and devour foreign foods. Yes, we have visited remote monasteries and the tops of mountains. We have had our near-death adventures. But these are not plot or character heavy. These are not the stuff of stories. They’re only background.
In the movie, "Dodsworth," Mary Astor says, "Generally people travel to get away from themselves."
A NOTE ABOUT MY FIRST BOOK CLUB/MEETUP:
The gal who hosted my first book club/meetup early in August, Susan Sheldon, for my novel CONCERNING GEORGIA STEKKER, went on vacation to Italy. She took another one of my novels, THE ROMANTIC IMPERATIVE, with her. I think she is enjoying the read because she sent me this photograph of herself.
Is that watermelon gelato?
She reads on her iPad, just like the man sitting behind her to my left. I want her to tell him about my novels. Perhaps she already has, and he’s “on it.”
Susan, you look like you’re having a wonderful vacation.
In my last blog, I wrote about the germ for my Stekker novel, that I was Georgia in real life. And you also read about my friend who was left on the dance floor while her partner simply walked out of the establishment. Since then, my friend read CONCERNING GEORGIA STEKKER on her flight to Cape Cod. She wrote to me that she can't wait to discuss the novel with me.
The same anxiousness is true for the book club meetups that are planning to connect with me. Some of the people were initially timid about going on Zoom instead of Skype. I explained exactly how Zoom works and they have nothing to fear. Zoom offers a very professional approach. And it's simple.