When you can take what you do for a living and associate it with a festival … doggonit, it’s time for some fun!
Now, while I can’t say, yet, that I make my living off of the books that I write, I can certainly say I’m aiming for it. The life of an author is sometimes tedious and oftentimes frustrating, with an added mix of emotional highs and lows. And that’s really not the half of it.
So much goes into producing a story, not to mention having to take that story and build out of it a full-fledged book. And if you’re a debut novelist, that’s followed by the painful pursuit of the agents and/or publishers OR self-publishing (another whole field of mines through which to walk), followed by marketing/publicity/advertising. After that? Reviews! Don’t take that exclamation point to indicate excitement. No, no, no, no, no. Because that’s not always a big bowl full of cherries. Nope. Some people are going to enter into your world and chew up those cherries, leaving just the pits for you to suck on (gross, I know) in the form of 1, 2, or even 3-star ratings that you had hoped to avoid.
Yep … the life of an author. And I love it.
Even if I didn’t love it, I’d still find myself doing it, because I’ve got stories to tell. I’ve got lives that I want to impact. After all, I do dub myself an “Impact Writer.”
Being an author — on the whole — is lonely business. It’s hours in a hole in the ground with an oily, fat-based candle billowing black soot up into the air as I lean forward, quill in hand, hoping that the next word that I put onto paper will be received correctly by my readers. It’s closing the gate that is behind me and padlocking it shut to keep out intrusions. It’s wondering why my stomach is growling when I only ate an half hour prior, except that I look up at the clock and see that a span of six hours has gone by. Six hours that I will never get back that will hopefully have been worth it in the eyes and mind of a reader.
Maybe things aren’t as dark and gloomy as all that, but it paints a picture that the life of a writer is not glamorous. Not for 95+% of us, anyway. Even for the other 5% the glamour (spelled correctly for my British & Aussie readers) only pokes its head out of the hole when they’ve escaped their own writing dungeons for a while. Yes, the, “Hey, aren’t you Stephen King, the suspense author?” is surely gratifying. And for me, the comment from a reader relating how one of my books was used to change him (or her) for the better, or has helped someone out of a bad circumstance, makes me feel great; the Cha-Ching! sound as a royalty payment comes in (when it comes in) … those are all great, as well. They are hoped for. They are worked for. They are emotionally bled for. But all of it is fleeting, because of the words, “What’s next?”
That next work begins to constantly call out our names. It is necessary in the lives of some due to contractual obligations by their publishers. It is mainstay in the minds of the self-published, creating a clarion call to remain “in the game” and to stay relevant, or at least known, out in the marketplace. For another breed of writer, it is a self-imposed requirement to persist even if they will never allow another set of human eyes to read a word of their prose.
While there will be some who will let that call fade away and allow the flame on their writing candles to be extinguished, for most of us that next ‘work’ keeps incessantly calling our names. It’s always about that next work.
<—- Insert Deep Sigh Here —->
Well, this past Saturday was a day for many of us to crawl out of our writing lairs and to venture out amongst the air-breathing. And what a day it was! If you are an Ohioan, you may not know this already, but you are blessed in a way unlike all others in any of the other forty-nine states.
Columbus, Ohio is home to a library. That library is the Ohioana Library. And the Ohioana Library is the only library in the United States that is dedicated to it’s own state’s authors. That’s right, a library that is filled only with the books of Ohio authors and authors whose books have an Ohio focus. On top of that, the Ohioana Library Association holds an event each year, the Ohioana Book Festival, that I only found out about this past week through a friend. What a great event!
Imagine (or look at the picture) an atrium area filled with tables with authors and their books, answering questions, autographing their works, and interacting in a high-energy environment. Then, throw on top of that the classes that they had! The festival was open to anyone, whether writer, reader, or just the curious … FREE OF CHARGE!
For those who wished to attend the classes (really panel discussions), they had the pick of thirty different topics, from the writing of children’s books and book illustrating to cook books and suspense / thriller writing. The classes were open to writers and the curious, alike, to pepper the authors on the panels with questions.
For me, the highlight of the day (from 10:15 AM to 4:30 PM) was the interaction and networking with other authors. I had no idea that my state was so lush with talent!
Individuals like Old West novelist, R.G. Yoho; Murder Mystery author, Yolonda Tonette Sanders; Romance, Cozy & YA Mystery writer, Julie Anne Lindsey; and the humorous-in-real-life Fantasy novelist, Jullian Kuhlmann.
It’s almost too much to handle that I’ve got to wait another year before this event comes around again. However, when it does arrive, I’ll have my own author spot amongst the festival tables, a seat on an author panel or two, and a warm greeting for each and every one of you who decides to stop by and say hello.