Forget saints, writers are the ones with the real need for patience. Seriously. I mean, not only does it take forever to write a book, one that, from the moment you begin working on it, you really can’t wait to get to the end…but everything past that is…well, it’s slow.
When I finished writing The Legend of Buddy Hero, I remembered thinking that the first advance checks from a publisher would be coming within a couple weeks, as I assumed that the most time consuming part of all of it would be just the actual act of writing….I didn’t even think about the fact that you would have to send the book to an agent, wait three months for them to tell you they have no interest in reading it, send the book to more agents, more rejections, you finally find someone who wants to read it, but they have to actually read it, and you’re not at the top of the list.. months later, they’ll reject it, rinse repeat….and then, assuming you get an agent, that whole process would continue in order to find a publisher, not to mention the probable changes your agent would want you to make….let’s just say that trying to sell a book alone is a rather time consuming process.
But that’s not where the patience ends…especially when you’re looking at me, the self-pubber who decided to forego that process for the time being and just get some books out there to build an audience.
I remember the excitement of releasing my first book (and my second book) into the wild. It was crazy. I was all like, hey look, I’m pressing this button and now there’s a new book out there and you all should be excited and….okay, I made a few sales there…now what? Oooh, another sale!
And then people say, yeah, I’m reading it…so, of course, you sit on the edge of your seat, hoping that they like it….hoping they’ll come to you to tell you so you don’t have to be that annoying person who keeps pinging them about whether or not they’ve finished it yet…checking amazon/goodreads to see if they’ve left a review, since they still haven’t said anything to you about it yet…
Okay, so I’m not nearly this obsessive, but there is a certain about of restraint involved in trying to keep the nervous excitement down about such things…as there was whenever sending things out to agents and the like. It just doesn’t move quickly…and that’s one of the things that took me the longest to understand when I first hit the world as a writer.
And, although I’m much better about containing my excitement, it really does get worse as time goes on, because there’s so many more things that crop up..hearing about book clubs taking on your book, finding out that some friend that you haven’t talked to in ages decided to pick up a copy, knowing that there’s always a possibility that some random person out there will pick it up and leave a review that may or may not be fantastic.
Sometimes there’s even cooler things that you hear about, but can’t even tell others because, well, you don’t even know if its true and don’t want to jinx things if they are.
But none of those really compare, in my mind, to the patience it takes to complete a book. Knowing that you will be dedicating the better portion of your time for the conceivable future, toward crafting a tale that you are proud of…it gets to be draining, and, honestly, many times, I just want to get the book out there so everyone else can know about what I’m excited about. It’s like watching a great movie and not being able to talk to another single person about it because you don’t want to spoil it for them. Heck…as the author of the damned things, often enough when people talk to me about the books, I find myself having to hide back my own excitement about the intricacies of the story just so I don’t appear to be my own little fanboy.
Being an author is really all about the patience, and hoping that at some point you’ll get that payoff of somebody saying they dug your book, wishing you could geek out with them a bit because of how great you thought it was when your characters did X in book Y.
Of course…all that restraint is just excess energy that can go into the next book….which I really really really just want to finish right now and figure out how they get home. 🙂
Have fun out there!