Sneak Peeks

Monday, August 20, 2012

Postcard from The Hermit on the Hill

I was thirteen when I discovered books. (Hold a sec while I find the key that puts an echoing emphasis on that word...hmmm...Italic? Not quite. Bold caps? Close...) BOOKS!!!!!! There, that's better.

I was a painfully shy person for most of my life. Never really connecting with other people and more concerned with homework than watching TV. I was a hermit and I liked it that way. Then I discovered books and....well not much changed other than my greater enjoyment of my hermitood.

Books became the center of my universe the summer of my mother's accident. She'd shattered her sacrum and was flat on her back for a year. That injury changed our lives in so many ways. Turning me into a reader was just one of them; the other changes will have to wait for another blog. To keep my mom company, slash, entertained, slash, sane I started reading to her. We took turns reading that first novel since I wasn't terribly interested in the love affair between a Native American and the white woman he kidnapped and mistreated (which was apparently leading to their imminent love?!?), it was called Ghost Fox. While I was reading it, the story was just a bunch of words. When my mom read it? Wow....

I remember very clearly waking up from the trance-like state I'd fallen into when she finally stopped speaking. I had been in the story's world. Literally. I was there. It was incredible. From then on books were my everything, just like that. You could pay me in books (one guitar = one year's subscription to Harlequin Book Club). You could count on a book being somewhere within five feet of me no matter where I was standing. I began speaking in Romance-ese with the word "cheroot" falling out in some conversation, and inciting laughter from an aunt that still haunts me today.

I was my mother's constant companion, as well. I'd run to the library to rent books once we burned through everything my older sister had. Flowers in the Attic (the entire series), Kathleen E. Woodiwiss (her entire shelf), Julie Garwood (The Lion's Lady!!! My heart still melts...) anything and everything with romantic swirling letters down the spine got grabbed.

I read a minimum of three books per week for ten years. Romance then horror, then paranormal and....well everything else eventually. The point is that reading was my recreation. That's why it was so natural for me to eventually transition into writing. I had so much inspiration for so long.

What I didn't have was experience with the social aspect of marketing my work once it was published. I didn't have a Twitter account, or Facebook, or a blog until I realized that you can't simply publish a great story and be successful.

I'm sure this is a common theme, other people must struggle with the whole gratuitous blabbering thing that we do on Twitter and whatnot. Chasing down readers. Man, back in the day? Readers were the ones on the hunt. When the internet eventually became the place to go for information, and I'd read everything in my chosen genre that was being offered, I'd scan through websites searching for a list of all the books containing certain subjects in the hopes of finding something new and awesome.

Now you can't blink without brushing up against a dozen new authors. The market is saturated with self-published novels. There are so many out there for readers to choose from that unless you were born with a bullhorn in your mouth, they're more than likely going to float right past you on their way to the next bright flame.

So what's a shy little hermit to do?

Try, I suppose.

Just keep trying to call out above the babble, I am here, I AM HERE!!!!