by: Joelle Charbonneau
Well, sports fans. My time is almost up.
If you've been following my publishing life in the last year, you probably know what I'm referring to. The Testing is almost here. According to the nifty widget that my publisher created, The Testing launches in 22 days.
Gotta love widgets. Right? And for those of you keeping score, with each minute that ticks away, I find myself getting more and more nervous. This isn't my first book published. So, I feel a little silly saying that I am more nervous now than I was when SKATING AROUND THE LAW hit shelves. Why? Well, first off, this is a bigger title. There is more push from my publisher, which also translates to higher expectations. But beyond that there is one simple fact that makes this release more terrifying than the first - I know more.
That sounds simple right? And maybe it is. But the more I learn about this business, the more I understand that there is more to learn. Marketing for any product is an inexact science, but in many ways it is even more so for books. How do readers find the books that they purchase? Ads? Blog tours? Twitter? Word of mouth? I've heard people testify to the power of blog tours and others who say they never saw a single sale as a result of a 30 stop tour. Others swear by the power of Facebook while more say Facebook is only effective if you are posting pictures of cats. (I have to admit I love a good cat picture as much as the next person!)
And that's just the marketing of a book. Turns out I know more about writing a book than I did in 2009 when I sold Skating Around The Law. In a way, that lack of knowledge then made it easier to write. I wasn't worried about what readers or my editor or my agent would think about what I was writing. I wrote for myself....for my family and for the few friends and students that humored me by reading my words. Now, though I still write for the thrill of seeing where the story takes me, I cannot seem to block out the expectations of those who will some day read my books. Readers expect the story to be fast paced. They expect the story to start in action and for the point of view to be clear. They expect three dimensional characters that intrigue them or make them laugh. And more than anything, readers expect the story to be worth the time they invest in it.
Trust me when I say that I am aware that not all books are for all readers and that not all readers will love my books. In fact, I'd be disappointed if my writing was universally loved. Personally, I find that the stories that linger with me the longest are the ones that are most polarizing in reader reaction. But while I am not trying to please everyone, I find myself hoping that I will please a lot of them. Not exactly the most conducive mindset for writing.
So each day, I do my very best to ignore the worry about the upcoming release of THE TESTING and the excitement that comes with getting good books news. (Thanks to everyone who nominated MURDER FOR CHOIR for the Anthony for best paperback original. You are awesome!) I do my best to shut out the world, forget everything I've learned over the last several years and just write. Some days that works better than others. And as the widget clock gets closer to zero, I find that nerves are making that harder to do.
But while my time is almost up, my love of writing is still as new and exciting as ever. And no matter what happens when The Testing releases...I will keep writing and telling stories. And hopefully, there will be readers who enjoy them.