Posts tagged wisconsin
Posts tagged wisconsin
I’m posting my blogs on my website going forward so please join me there: www.agsjohnsonauthor.com.
The nerve-wracking road trip through the Midwest continues with mishaps and stops at bookstores for events, signings and sausages, the GPS system all the while talking back. I end it all in Chicago with a very exciting event. More on that to come on my website: www.AGSJohnsonAuthor.com (not case sensitive).
It’s been a brief but exhilarating ride since The Sausage Maker’s Daughters launched officially, and we’re only two weeks into it. My time to write, including blog, has been decimated, but I’m remembering, trying hard to remember, that the point of it all is to enjoy the ride. There is, quite simply, nothing else. If we miss that enjoyment, we’ve missed our lives.
So I’ve been learning a lot about the business of selling books, first and foremost, that hardcover books are heavy and expensive and slow to ship. Duh. Distribution issues caught us unawares, at least me unaware, of the long, long lead times. But despite that glitch at the start which is still resolving itself—that’s the second thing I learned, things resolve themselves at their own pace no matter who is pushing or pulling—sales have been good! Reviews have been really good!! Amazon initially sold out quickly and backorders abound in the system of distribution that backs up all the big book sellers and small. Of course, it will be even better when it’s all behind us. And it will be soon, I’m positive, uh, sure of it, pretty sure…
Plus, I’m coming up on my first book events, so I’m into speed training for how not to write but speak about the book. In front of people—strangers, worse, friends and acquaintances. Let’s hope that’s the third thing I’m crash-learning.
And here’s what in these first two weeks has been the most gratifying: people of all ages and both sexes relate to the characters in very personal and deep ways. They see themselves, their families, their lives. Humanity’s universal flaws. They tell me about the characters’ motivations and details of their backstories I never dreamed of. Plus, the building tension has held them through to the end.
What more could any author ask for?
I’ve had some real excitement this week, not the kind I had a week before when my husband took a very bad fall in a museum and had to have six stitches in his forehead, all done in an emergency room where no one spoke much English (I wrote a somewhat depressing blog about it and may still post it, one day).
No this week’s excitement is of the good variety. My book and author name hit Amazon for pre-order now until the official launch date of February 7th, 2012. It’s amazing to see your own name and The Sausage Maker’s Daughters book cover on a site with, well, every other author and book cover known to man, just about (is JK Rowlings the only hold-out?).
And not only that, my website went live this week! Agsjohnsonauthor.com may contain more information than anyone needs, but it did turn out beautifully in my opinion and does faithfully state what my writing tends to focus on and investigate — mainly flawed characters; complex, challenging relationships; and ultimately how we choose to deal with the difficulties life throws at us. Everyone can relate to that list, I’m afraid.
So is it true that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger? Let’s hope so, and my husband is doing very well after his fall!
A miracle occurred recently on a rainy Saturday morning in Los Angeles. A UPS truck delivered a box to me that I was both expecting and still can’t totally believe.
I accepted the package, opened it, and lifted out my book—the first ever printed and bound book bearing my title, The Sausage Maker’s Daughters, and my name, AGS Johnson, on the wintry pastoral scene that has become my cover. It didn’t matter that this book was merely a proof of the advanced reading copies intended for reviewers and industry people, its back cover being slightly changed for that purpose. It felt, holding that book, like the embodiment of a lifetime worth of aspirations and struggles, hopes and dashed dreams, like life itself with all its ups and downs—which ironically is exactly what the book is about.
Holding the first book was a moment of overwhelming emotion, so I promptly sat down and wept. I felt better about that dramatic reaction when my husband had nearly the same one upon seeing it. Seems we’ve both hoped for and worked toward this moment, together, for a long, long time.
So here’s what I think it all means for all of us: dream big, dream wild, dream audaciously. Let nothing limit you and your dreams. Always have a dream. Always nourish your dream.
And then go for it. Pursue that dream as if your life depends upon it. Ignore the naysayers who will tell you ‘you can’t.’ Thank the critics that hate to tell you ‘you have no talent,’ that you can’t write, that you will never make it. Just keep moving forward. Smile and thank those that tell you if you just tweaked the plot and/or setting ever so slightly to, oh I don’t know, to aliens from a parallel universe who crash land in the middle of Wisconsin and become addicted to beer, intermarry with the locals, and start a chain of successful breweries that quickly spread through intergalactic space. Well…
No matter how crazy or cruel the commentary your efforts toward your dream may engender, bear in mind the moment of payoff, the moment of dream-realization. Believe in it when no one else seems to. And if your own beliefs are shaken for a time, then go for it on autopilot until belief and confidence return.
Look forward to the time when the impossible becomes reality that you’ll hold in your hands.
Allow me another digression before I return to the publishing process, whirling along at top speed toward the release of my novel, hopefully, next month.
I recommend an article to all writers and wannabes in the October issue of Vanity Fair magazine titled, The Book on Publishing. It enables us non-New Yorkers an insider’s view of the mystifying world of traditional publishing by following the evolution of a new novel called The Art of Fielding from its earliest stages of writing all the way through to finishing, procuring an agent, a publisher, and getting a large advance for the novelist via an auction among publishers, the biggest for fiction in recent memory. Each piece of the puzzle is explored as well as how it all comes together. I hope the book is a smashing success.
It struck that the article’s author seemed shocked that the novel took 10 years in the writing. Doesn’t someone say that it takes 10 years to become expert at any new thing? The writer does make the point that in long-form fiction, by the time you finish one rewrite, your writing has progressed to such a degree that the beginning is no longer as strong as the end. And so you start again, but the same thing keeps happening. Uneven writing it’s called. One hopes that eventually the rewrites take less and less time and that the writing evens out.
So I’m embarrassed to admit that my novel, The Sausage Maker’s Daughters, from first written words to today, has taken 12 years – although three-some in the middle were spent on other things (more on those much later). Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that both the novelist in the article and I are Wisconsinites. Too much beer, cheese, and bratwurst slowing us down? Don’t forget the dairy state’s justly famous frozen custard? Weekly fish fries? I’m getting hungry now.
We may be slower than normal, we two novelists who grew up in Wisconsin, but one thing the harsh climes does bring out in people is something we’ve both just demonstrated through our writing: stubborn determination. I’m pretty sure that trait burns up lots of calories, too.