Open Journal: #WilderharkParty Recap

The Vent

Transparency. People supposedly like that in an author/artist/celebrity, right? ‘Cause it makes them come off as relatable or human or some such thing.

I don’t know. I can’t think why anyone would really want me to be transparent. What good would it do them to know how I really feel the majority of the time? The truth would sound an awful lot like whining/grousing/b*tching, and there’s already more than enough of that in the world. I don’t want to hear it from anyone else, so why would I foist it upon my public?

But this is an Open Journal post, meaning I’ll come closer to telling the whole truth, instead of just the bits I can deliver with a pleasant smile.

Behind the smile.
Behind the smile.

So. My launch/farewell party for The Wilderhark Tales.

I put a lot of time into planning it. Came up with a variety of content to try to keep guests engaged – games, read-aloud videos, topics of discussion. Worked hard on making the prizes – from fighting a charm onto a chain for a necklace, to formatting and printing pages for a wall calendar. I personally invited all my Facebook friends, and threw the link up in a couple of Facebook groups, and talked the party up on Twitter live, during those five straight days of all-day, upbeat, smile-with-exclamation-points socializing.

I wore. Myself. Out.

Me for five days.
Me for five days.

And I had about five regular guests.

Out of the thirty-ish who said they’d come. Out of the hundreds I invited.

A handful more poked their heads in, on rare occasion. But it was mostly just those stalwart five. And I appreciated their presence.

But transparently? It was nothing like what I wanted.

Other authors – not realer, not better, just not me – get parties and signings and readings in bookstores. That is what I wanted. That is what I tried for months (years?) in advance to get. Y’know what happens when I contact bookstores? I show up in person, and the person to talk to isn’t there. I send them an e-mail, and the e-mail goes forever unanswered. Basically, it’s the same thing that happens just about any time I have to rely on other people for a thing to get done: It doesn’t.

So, yeah. Behind the scenes of the only party I could make happen for myself, I was privately miserable. In between moments of painful excitement when it looked like people might actually be interested in what I was trying to give them. My heart jerked up and down, up and downer, up and downest, all day for five days. I sighed a lot. I cried surprisingly little. By the last day, I kind of got numb. I just wanted it to be over. To not have to care anymore. Since all but five-ish people didn’t.

No I won’t.
No I won’t.

I could start getting really angry now, but it’s not worth it. Instead, let’s cut to a song that pretty much encapsulates how I felt throughout most of the party. (Credit to my sisters, one of whom stopped by a couple times to troll the party. Thanks, Di.)

We ain’t got no money
We ain’t got no friends
Roll up in a Caravan cuz we ain’t got no Benz
We just lost the lotto
We behind on all the trends
But we gon’ keep on rappin’ even though we got no fans (leggo!)

Yo. We out on the floor
We in this heezy all alone
All we wanna do is be successful in our craft
So it’d be nice if we had some support

Don’t worry. I gon’ keep on rappin’ regardless.

For better or worse, I can’t seem to help myself.

The [E]vent

In an effort to go against my personal grain and focus on the positive, here are some of my favorite moments from the party.

– The shameless ogling of Welken lookalikes

– Ionquin Wyle utilizing the phrase “Netflix and chill”

Tirzah’s flawless “Sun’s Rival” selfie

Tirzah's ''Sun's Rival'' Selfie

– The utter adoration from every quarter for Lumónd #TheySeeHim ❤

– The straight-up prettiness of the graphics for the “Words of Welken Translation Game” *pats self on back*

Welken Words, sample

– The fact that I was given cause to look at a side-by-side pic of Edgwyn Wyle and “Once Upon a Time”s Rumplestiltskin

– Me: “Discuss! The Anarchwitch has appeared in a lot of guises, over the course of the series. How do /you/ tend to envision her? What do you suppose she /really/ looks like?”

My sister: “Never heard of her, but I would guess she wears a jacket like this” *posts pic of an anorak jacket*

– When ‘twas agreed that Ruban was the side character MVP (not counting Jeromey Gant, ‘cause hello)

– When Tirzah jumped in with a brand new piece of Gant-o’-the-Lute fan art

Sunrise Lute 2

– Clem

Clem

– Maritime legumes

Maritime Legumes

– Tirzah puns

Tirzah Puns

– All the incredibly nice, sometimes profound things my dedicated guests said about The Wilderhark Tales and the people therein … like my little books have deeply impacted their lives or something

The work I do may be for too little. But it is not for nothing.

Godspeed, Wilderhark. And I’ll see ya when I see ya, Ever On Word blog, but for now, I’m Europe-bound. Let the sorta-kinda-hiatus begin!

Open Journal: “Sky-Child” Release Day

Another Launch Day is upon us. Y’know, the day where the book in question has probably already been available for days or weeks prior to this, in one format or another, but we consolidate as much of the excitement as we can on this one particular date because, whatever, it’s nice to have a single point on the calendar to rally around.

The book of the hour is “The Sky-Child and Other Stories”, subtitled either “(A Wilderhark Tales Collection”) or “(Book Six-and-a-Half of The Wilderhark Tales”), depending on whether you’re looking at the front or back cover.

Sky-Child cover, full spread

For Wilderhark Tales past, I saw your Launch Day and raised you an entire Launch Week – up to eight days of prizes and bonus materials and character interviews and guest posts in the web spaces of gracious fellow bloggers. It’s always quite the shindig. But this time around, I told myself, “No.”

Then I told myself, “Oh, heck, Lute’s gonna kill me…” ‘Cause any reader of “The Song Caster” could tell you how he reacts to feeling cheated.

And he was spitting mad at me for a few minutes, there. But then – unexpectedly – he got it.

He got how utterly exhausting it is to organize a blog tour and create hopefully exciting content and fight with the printer to produce custom bookmarks / postcards / art prints / what have you.

He got how drained I still was coming off of the Launch Week for Book Six, and how “Sky-Child”s launch right on the heels of the “Steel & Bone” anthology release would mean I’d have even less energy to generate another book’s buzz.

He got that I am just this side of completely burnt out, and that if I want to be able to give the Wilderhark Tales finale my best push in October, I need to allow myself a break.

He got that this wasn’t a matter of me acting against him. This is me vs. the weariness that comes of battling to be seen and heard and valued in an oblivious world.

He got that. Because, in a way, that’s his story.

So he forgave me my limitations, and said he would support me in whatever I chose to do or not do in regards to “Sky-Child”s launch.

And everybody in my head just gaped at him, because no one expects that level of understanding and compassion from Gant-o’-the-freaking-Lute.

“Because I never cease to amaze,” says Lute – adding with a pointed sniff, “Just as you people never cease to underestimate me.”

Sky-Child and Me 6

…All that to say, low key, “The Sky-Child” is out now, and I’d be super grateful were everyone to nab a paperback (Amazon or CreateSpace) or e-book (Kindle or Nook) and then, perchance, leave a review. (Because neither minstrels nor authors can take the world by storm very well without some word of mouth.)

And that’s all she wrote on the subject. …Until Friday, when Lute’s got an interview with a certain scarlet talk show host.

Unapologetically Yours

I’ve been seeing something in the social media world that disturbs me.

It’s this idea that if an author – (or any kind of person with an accomplishment they’d ideally like to be paid for, but we’ll use authors as the example, since that’s kind of my crowd) – wants to tell the world about their book, they’ve got to do it a certain way.

They’ve got to be all super-casual, or just kind of sneak it in, or try to be cute about it in the hopes that the cuteness will offset the fact that, le gasp, they dared to inform the public that their book is available for sale. I’ve even seen a tweet with the phrase “sorry for the shameless plug”.

Sorry?

Sorry?

The discord between “sorry” and “shameless” aside, why in the world is this person apologizing?

Why is it frowned upon to just boldly say, “I’ve finished a book! It’s available here! Go buy!”? You’re not twisting anybody’s arm. They’ll check out the link, or they won’t. They’ll buy the book, or they won’t. It’s not a gun to the head, it’s an advertisement.

Let’s go back to basics for a moment, here. Quick pop quiz. What is a writer’s job?

a) Writing

b) Selling what they write

c) Devoting their creative word energy to hilarious/relatable/inspirational tweets/statuses about anything but their book and hoping the power of positive thinking will be enough to write and sell their books for them

d) Mostly a), with some b) thrown in, in the hopes of maybe possibly earning a livelihood

Newsflash: The answer isn’t C.

Newsflash number 2: Declaring in your own webspace that you’ve got a product for sale is not spam.

Jumping into someone else’s space and plugging your book? That’s a no-no.

Butting into a conversation with nothing to say but, “Hi, buy my book”? That’s obnoxious.

Flooding people’s inboxes with a lot of cloned messages about your book, your book, your book? Just don’t.

Those things are invasive and rude in the way wallpapering your neighbor’s house in self-promotional flyers is invasive and rude. (And, y’know, vandalism.) But guess what? You can wallpaper your own house anyway you like, because it’s your house. Just like your website/blog/social media account is yours. Yours on which to say what you want to say. Is posting absolutely nothing but links to your books the most entertaining thing in the world? No. But neither is it a crime (unlike vandalism), and it’s nothing worth receiving dirty looks for.

Look, authors (and artists of all stripes). I know confidence can be hard to hang onto. Doubting yourself and the worth of your work is par for the course. But you poured your heart into this. You dedicated hours – weeks and months and years of hours – into this work of art that the world would never have had in quite that form without you. After nine months of pregnancy, does a mother deliver a baby and then shamefacedly whisper the birth announcement? NO! After years of study, does a researcher make a scientific breakthrough and just kind of hope that somebody will notice? NO! After I-don’t-even-know-how-long of training, does a marathon runner cross the finish line and never speak of the race again? No, no, NO!

Fellow authors, you have achieved something that, for many, is nothing more than a dream – that, once upon a time, was no more than a dream for you. You created a story – a product that can potentially touch people’s lives in a way so very few things can. The laborer is worthy of his wages! You deserve, at bare minimum, to be able to say, with all due levels of pride, that you wrote this thing! You have every right to point to it and claim it as yours, without apology!

Now, make like an introvert with stage fright and sociophobia who spends her summer weekends at a Renaissance Faire interacting with strangers anyway, and hold your head up high in the name of what you love.

Author and proud.
Author and proud.