It has been 5 years since my debut book launched.
I sat up in bed last night - sweaty limbs, heartbeat in ears, twitching feet- when I realized this. I have not produced a book in 5 years. Well, let me re-phrase that, I've written 2.5 books in the past 5 years since Red Rooms came into the world, but as far as the reading public is concerned, I've been watching too many episodes of Sons of Anarchy online (true) eating too many Kit Kats (also true) and doing nothing at all with my literary career. And dammit, that sucks. I don't mind when people see my tattoos and assume I'm an unemployed ne'er do well. I don't even mind when people judge me wearing pyjama bottoms to drop my kids off in the morning, but the book thing... well, thats a little harder to take.
Invitations are slowing down. My cache (what little there was to begin with) in the literary world is slowly losing colour, and my credibility for why I am resistant to a full time job, why I need hours tucked away in pockets of quiet to sit at my desk, well I'm hard pressed to defend it. But why? What is the hold up?
Well, for one, there are less and less publishers in Canada, and therefore, less and less pie for all the blackbirds pecking about the crust. For another, submitting a manuscript is epic in itself. An agent demands a good three months of exclusivity to review a ms. Now times that by 6 submissions and you're already looking at a year and a half. Its a waiting game.
So what do you do? Well, for one, you start a blog and rant. Another good (better) option is anthologies, magazines, periodicals and journals. Just write. Write because you have to. Write like somebody's reading.
One of my mentors, Lee Maracle, said to me once, "Write to bring excellence into the world. Worry about the business of it all later. Publishing has nothing to do with writing, don't ever get them confused." And yes, spoken like a woman with a dozen books, but true none the less. And so, here is my blog, and this is my rant. And also, after my trip to India in 2 weeks (on an invitation to an international literary gathering, so I guess I can't whine too loud), look for an increase in articles, stories, submissions and anthologized pieces. I figure, if I keep writing, even in the long, empty voids between published books, maybe I can convince myself that someone is reading.