…or, possibly, strange careers. Like writing. I realized the other day that while I’ve been writing like a madman for at least twelve months, the three books I’ve been working on won’t be seen by readers for at least another twelve months.
Any fan who’s not visiting my blog to check up on my activities will likely assume I’ve given it up or am out of ideas. And yet I’ve written two books in the last year and am nearly through with a third. After it gets a polish I’ll start work on the next one, which will mean I’ll have been working on four separate books over the course of a year. Not too shabby, really, when it took me a year and a half to write The Bones of the Old Ones. Remember that one? No? It got a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and made the Best of 2012 Barnes and Noble fantasy releases list, and had heaps of good reviews, I swear. Alas, it doesn’t seem like anyone apart from the reviewers and some loyal fans ever picked it up, at least judging from the small number of Amazon reviews. Sniff.
With such a long time since I’ve had anything on the shelves, I’ve been scratching my head. How do I remind readers I’m still alive out here and working away? I don’t know that there are THAT many people out there waiting breathlessly for the next novel by Howard Andrew Jones, so I suppose I’ll just hope that when my newest works finally launch they’ll soar.
And while I’m under this publishing delay, I’ll keep writing more and get up a stockpile of stuff so that delays become less likely. If nothing else, over the last few years I’ve figured out a lot more about how books are written (or at least how I need to write them) and how to write them swiftly. I’d like to think I’ve learned how to write better books as well, but I suppose time will tell.
One other thing I’ve figured out is that while it’s okay to sniffle a little now and then, self-pity doesn’t get you much. I wrote a book I loved that didn’t sell as well as I wanted. Okay, well, I’ll just write another, better one. Fall down ten times, get up eleven, and all that. Or as Hannibal of Carthage said, “I shall find a way, or make one.”
There’s luck involved in this business, sure, and talent, but I believe perseverance and stubbornness has a whole lot to do with succeeding in it. And I’ve got a lot of the latter two qualities, maybe because I’ve been striving most of my life to get here and its too late to turn back. Or maybe because I have lots of stories I want to tell.