So everybody knows that writing has its frustrations: long hours, lots of re-writes, (in my case very) low pay. Even moreso when you're a self-publishing writer, the bias against which I discuss here and here. But today I'd like to talk about one of the great pleasures of this job: namely, the chance to interact with (and get support from) other authors.
Some people have suggested that the internet is making our society a true democracy at last, in which all ideas receive an equal hearing. I think this idea has been largely debunked in other contexts, but I know from personal experience that it has allowed me to communicate with my writing peers and colleagues in a way that might not, previously, have been possible. The miracle of Twitter has allowed for a real-time exchange of thoughts, ideas, and favors.
For instance, when I started reading Sweet Venom, by the inestimable Tera Lynn Childs, it seemed to me that the early chapters smacked of Buffy influence. In a previous era, fans might have had for some interviewer to notice the same thing and ask the author about it, but I didn't! I just Tweeted her and asked away. (It turns out I was right, by the way: she started watching the shows as "research" for the series and promptly became obsessed. Thus did I not only talk to an awesome fellow author, but meet a fellow Whedon afficionado! Joy to the world!)
And when I put together the promotional campaign for my most recent novel Atticus for the Undead (featuring the first ever trial of a zombie for eating brains!), I decided to do something really ballsy and ask some fellow authors if they'd read it and plug it on their websites or in their Tweets if they liked it. A show of chutzpah on my part, certainly -- there was no reason to expect that established and successful authors would care a whit about my little book -- but it paid off. A few days after I e-mailed out the ARCs, I was rewarded by a gushing e-mail from the amazing Angela Scott (whose book, Wanted: Dead or Undead is on my list to buy as soon as it hits shelves) telling me that she loved the book and thought I was on track to be among the great fiction writers! (Seriously, folks, that one made my whole day. I e-mailed a bunch of friends and family and went SQUEEEEEEE! AN ACTUAL WRITER WITH ACTUAL TALENT ACTUALLY LIKES ME!) Ms. Scott proceeded to become a follower of my blog.
I've also gained writer-friends in people like Lindsay Buroker and Pam von Hylckama. Not only do these people and I trade fabulously witty Tweets on a daily basis, I've even been able to guest post on their blogs. (My nefarious plan worked so well that I'm pretty sure they even think I was doing them a favor by saving them the trouble of writing a blog entry that day. In reality, I was on Cloud 9 for the opportunity.)
So, yes, I don't get much sleep (as Lindsay can attest) and the pay is all-but-nonexistent and I want to tear my hair out with every new book. But in one respect, at least, becoming an author really has allowed me to dance with the stars.
*My thanks to all the authors and bloggers who have shown support for my projects. You are the lifeblood of On The Bird.