on September 7, 2010 in Misc

Ever get the feeling that you’re disappearing under the pile of stuff you have to get done?


As of now I’m more than halfway through editing The Compass Master.  I should feel some relief.  I should pat myself on the back for seriously editing about a hundred pages of my big honkin’ manuscript over the three-day holiday weekend.  Sitting at my desk and working longer than a normal (non-writer) human being should merits some kind of praise.

So why do I feel that per usual I didn’t get enough done?

You know how it is.  Just when you start to see the light at the end of the tunnel (I’ll have my manuscript fully edited by the end of September!), you remember that you also have a *1%$# load of related tasks to see to.  I want to self-publish my novel before the end of the year (a goal my tax accountant is strongly encouraging)?  Then I have to start creating simultaneously the support structure around that publication.  

This means having a website for my novel ready to go, and since I lack the appropriate geek savvy to design it myself I have to pay someone else to do it, and be ready to tell him or her exactly what I want.  My book could be available at least on Amazon before Christmas?  Then according to publishing experts I should be launching my publicity efforts for Compass right about… NOW!  Oh, and don’t forget that I also need to have a clear idea of the cover for my book so that I can give good instructions to my hired artist, whoever he or she will be.

Anyway, enough of my whining.  The fact is, I’m the one who has chosen to go the self-publishing route. Yes, I wish so much that my agent had been able to find a big, fancy New York publisher to take a chance on my book.  I came very close a couple times – once all the way up to the editor-in-chief. But it didn’t happen, hence here I am in my self-publishing predicament.

But on the bright side…

My novel is finally going to be in print very soon.  That means it’s going to be REAL.

moby sculpture

If you’re a writer you know exactly what I mean.  Doesn’t matter if your friends have read your manuscript and loved it.  Nothing counts if your relatives (if you’re lucky and have a couple supportive members in that crowd) swear your stack of loose pages are better than all the published books they’ve read this year. If your novel is still just a photocopied manuscript in a drawer, it’s somehow not really a book. If it’s only in an electronic format you’ve emailed as an attachment to some loved ones, then it’s merely virtual.  For a writer, a novel has to take a physical shape with some heft and texture to be real.  And no, I don’t want to get into the argument about e-readers and electronic downloading today, ’cause I’m talking psychology, not technology.

Well, very soon now The Compass Master will be a real book. A hold-in-your-hands, genuine trade paperback.  I’ll give away some copies. I’ll do what promotion I can on it without going crazy or worrying about sales. And maybe because my novel is finally in print and real and I can touch, then maybe I can go back to having a normal non-writer’s life.


8 Responses to “Overwhelmed”

  1. Hart says:

    Oh, man… I hear you on the overwhelmed, but you DO have looming stuff, eh? I have had friends successful with website design just with some of the canned sites or software–I would do a little searching if I were you before committing to hiring someone. I plan to get started on this piece soon, too, though not until revisions are out of my hair.

    I wish you a ton of luck with your mounting pile!

  2. Helena says:

    Hart — To quote Bartle & James (does anyone remember those old commercials?), Thank you for your support. I didn’t know about the canned sites and software for website design, so I’ll certainly look into them.

  3. Robert L. Read says:

    Good luck, Helena, and I will pay extra for an autographed copy.

    Is it just me, or shouldn’t this blog and all you’ve done be important marketing for the book? Only a few people comment here, but I bet the number of readers exceeds that by a factor of 10 or 100. At a minimum, you have done something very interesting.

    I personally think a write-up of your experience would be a very interesting piece, although perhaps not a book, and different than The Compass Master by virtue of being non-fiction.

    You have given me a lot of food for thought. I’m thinking about creating “Becoming Igor”, about my quest to become a mad scientist. I already have the hair.

  4. Helena says:

    Robert — Becoming Igor? I love it! And you ain’t paying nothin’ for my book ’cause I’ll send you one for free.

    I can only hope I got as many readers as you say, but I doubt it if only because I think on the gloomy side by habit. Maybe too I can use this blog for marketing, but then I’ll really have to ramp it up and start doing exciting stuff if I really want attention. Like, say, sneak into a locked-up museum, get arrested, escape…

  5. Robert L. Read says:

    I would think what you have done already is exciting, if only in the self-improvement, personal transformation way. People get excited about diets, why shouldn’t they get excited about this adventure you have created for yourself over the last year?

    I don’t understand marketing, so I can’t give you any advice, but it seems to me that your blog represents at a minimum a level of effort that should distinguish your novel from the thousands of over as-yet-unpublished novels.

  6. Helena says:

    Robert — Thanks so much! In all honesty, marketing my novel was kinda in the back of my mind when I started this blog, but that quickly changed. When you’re getting your ass whupped in parkour classes and jumping out of planes and picking locks and other challenging stuff, the fiction element of this blog (my novel) took a backseat to the sometimes painful, sometimes wildly fun reality of whatever I was forcing myself to go through at the moment. Now I should start thinking more about my upcoming book that gave me the idea for this blog in the first place.

  7. ann says:

    I’m excited to see “Layla” come alive in print form. Its about time. And Robert is right, your self improvement (sometimes self torture) would make an interesting book. Look at “Eat Pray Love” and now there’s a movie. Certainly modern day women can look to adventures like “Becoming Layla” as a way to propel themselves out of the ordinary life into something more challenging. We all need to step outside our comfort zone and experience something we’ve never tried before. Of course this is coming from the woman who photographed the skydivers from the safety of the ground. You inspire and challenge me, Helena. I may try kayaking on the Chicago river this Saturday just for the thrill.
    By the way, anytime you want to break into our home, go right ahead. And while you’re there would you mind vacuuming and watering the plants. LOL…Thanks

  8. Helena says:

    Ann — Ain’t no way I could compare this blog to a bestseller like “Eat Pray Love,” but it’s so sweet of you to be encouraging. Go for the kayaking! You’ll do great at it I’m sure.

    As for breaking into your home — how do you know I haven’t done that already? You think those plants watered themselves?