First things first: The trailer for Not On Fire, Only Dying was just released. Hear me read a few tiny excerpts and discuss some of the things that prompted me to write the book. Listen to my friend Naomi Hamby’s groovy, perfect music, which becomes another way of explaining this book—not the plot, but what sort of book it is. I hope you love it:
Time churns forward, as it does, and suddenly I find myself a little more than two months from my publication date. I’m approaching bookstores and libraries and reading series, hoping to take advantage of every opportunity to read from and discuss my work. I am especially interested in venues in New York—the City and the Hudson Valley—two locations central to this novel. I’m immersed in nostalgia for that part of the country, which I left ten years ago.
I’m sending out NOFOD for review. I’m brainstorming ideas for promotion. I’m planning trips around the country. I’m proud of this book. I can’t wait to show it to you. I want to find those readers who will connect with it, maybe strongly. I want to sell as many copies as possible for my publisher, who took a chance on me and this book. All of that, of course, but…
…none of this comes naturally. Self-promotion makes me uncomfortable. So does praise. Like a lot of us, I’m not wild about speaking in public. It’s an entirely different skill than writing, that solitary submersion in language and your characters’ lives. It’s trying, always, to stay grateful. I won’t dishonor my past efforts by crapping out now. Still, it’s like jumping off a cliff, every day. On purpose! And I’m an earth-bound Taurus, usually the one telling you to get down from there right now before you break your neck.
I get it—this is being a writer. Returning, day after day, to labor that promises nothing. The labor of writing, revising, then submitting and hoping, absorbing rejection and discouragement. Doing it again the next day. Being a writer is doing everything necessary to make your book work, if you’re lucky enough to have it published. Even when you’d rather hide with a sympathetic, nonverbal, furry friend. A writer writes, yes, but she also tries. Every day.