Debut Out

sound of music

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good night.
I hate to go and leave this pretty sight.*
                                                             -Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Rogers

Dearest Emu’s and beyond…

When Adi “Appleblossom Catbiscuits” Rule contacted me about joining Emu’s Debuts shortly after I had my first book contract as an EMLA client (Sigh. Faint. Swoon.), I was thrilled (Yay! A new tribe of writers) and overwhelmed (What? A whole new listserv? A whole new onslaught of communication? On top of revisions and copy edits and promotion and, and, and…Oy!). Yeah… at times, it was a lot (Singing opera to my computer?!?!) but joining you mob of birds was one of the best things I ever did.

Now it’s time to leave.

Damnit. I don’t want to leave. I didn’t think I would have to except well, really, after your debut has debuted, you have stepped into a new reality. Simply, you are no longer preparing for the debut, you are promoting that book and writing the next one. It’s time to go.

Before I do, a couple of thoughts:

I went to lunch with a friend of mine recently. He was recounting how much the music business has changed. “It used to be that labels would sign artists with the idea that those artists develop their craft over time and the labels would be there to support them. Now artists are signed and if their product isn’t a hit, well, you know the story.”

I could see the similarities with our business. Many editors have become agents because they want to be in the business of helping a writer grow their career. Publishing is changing and no one really knows how or where it will go. It’s crazy making but it’s going to be okay. Writers, like musicians, have a community. We stick together. We help each other. We cheer and support and tell one another it’s going to be okay. Because it will. No matter what happens. This crazy world will always want storytellers. Whether we publish traditionally or paint on walls or self publish or drip blood from our veins. The world wants stories because stories lift us out of our lives. They make us laugh and cry and think and sigh. They make our lives better.community

So everyday, think about your community: other writers, readers, editors, agents and do what you can to weave us together. Gratitude, praise, cheering, thoughtful comments. (That’s how I will stay connected to you birds now.) It all matters. Because no matter how fast this world moves or how much the sands of publishing shift beneath us, we are storytellers, weavers of words and worlds and we are responsible for how our community grows.

Which leads me to my next bit of wisdom. It’s not really mine. It comes from my agent Erin Murphy. A year ago, I was totally stressing about promotion: How do I do it? Should I hire someone to help me? What do I do first, second, third? She said: “Write the next book.” What? But. But. But. Aren’t I supposed to…?

write bookWrite the next book. If your readers like your book, they will want to read the next one. Your publisher wants you to write the next book because it will sell the first one. You need to write the next book and the one after that because that’s who you are now: an author. A published storyteller. A world builder. Write the next book and the one after that so you can keep growing.

What about promotion you wonder? Well, it’s definitely a job you have now because you have this book and you do want to do things to get it in the hands of readers and generate interest. But it’s a balancing act. Here’s what I do: I respond to everything that comes in. Awards. Speaking engagements. School visits. But I’m careful about how much I have to go out and generate. You don’t want to spend a whole lot of time, energy and resources (i.e. your writing capital) promoting. For instance, If you’ve been invited to a book festival in a city, great. Go. Then spend some energy putting together a school visit in that city. Make it make sense. But if the promotion is taking too much time away from writing, then you are out of balance.

Yeah, so that’s it. I’ve cleared off my desk. I’m out the debut door. But I’m right down the hallway. In a room with a whole bunch of other authors. I’m saving you a spot.

XO,

L2

*A word about song lyrics. Trying to get the rights to use them in your novels is soul-sucking process. Avoid it at all cost: http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2013/03/so-you-want-to-use-song-lyrics-in-your.html

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16 Comments

Filed under Farewell, Thankfulness

16 responses to “Debut Out

  1. Ah, Lindsey. We will miss you here. Truly. But the idea of seeing you in the next room makes that a little more bearable. Best wishes, my dear.

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  2. mariagianferrari

    Adieu, Lindsey! Thanks for the lovely post and the reminder about doing what you can/want & about writing the next book. It’s so easy to get caught up in the overwhelming wave that is promotion.

    Auf wiedersehen/until we meet again for sure!

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  3. Lindsey,
    I hate to see you go, but I know it has to happen. Thank you for leaving us with such thoughtful words of wisdom. You have a calming effect that makes me feel confident about what’s ahead. Thanks! Miss you!
    Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your words are just what I needed today, dear Lindsey. Huge hugs, keks, and congratulations on your awesome debut. See you around! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Janet Fox

    I’m just bursting with pride at seeing you leave the nest, L! Your stunning debut is only the beginning. Hugs!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Lindsey, what a great farewell post. You always exude wisdom and calm and cool. I will miss your presence at Emu’s Debuts, but I’m so glad to know you and your writing.

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  7. kevanjatt

    Dearest Lindsey! We hate to see you go but it is nice knowing you are just down the hall in that room with the other Emu Emeriti. Save me a seat because I am right behind you.

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  8. L2, you are wonderful. A cool wind. I will miss your presence and your posts, but I’m happy that the hours you gave to the Emus can now become more writing hours. I love EVIDENCE and can’t wait to read whatever else comes from you.

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