Friday, November 1, 2013

PRIORITIZING ONE'S DREAMS: One trip at a time




So, I did all those things my To Do list told me to do and I’ve ended up with three book club presentations/readings, three readings in pubs (handy for enticing friends to show up), two workshops in retirement residences, and a possible multiple-meeting workshop booking with the local library. Amazing what a starred review can do, energy-wise.

I presented my first workshop this week at a fine retirement residence, attracted five folks much my age, who have either written in the past or who may now write with the encouragement of a writing group. It took me a while to understand that those folks didn’t give a hoot about Graffiti Grandma; they were there to begin writing.  Several weren’t sure what they’d write, several knew but were stuck at the first sentence.  I shut up and listened, finally, and I may now belong to a writing once again.  I hope so.

I quit my other writing group a few weeks ago when I realized that I was too old to hand out twenty pages of my novel each month. I would be senile before we ever got through it. My writing partners seemed to agree. So, for the first time, I have hired an editor who will take a look at Edith, line-wise and arc-wise, and tell me (for a fee, of course) what she thinks I should do with this story––a new experiment backed by my latest idea of trying new things as long as my PERs check will stretch cover them.

Then, just as I was deciding how many pairs of pants, tops, jackets I should take to my trip to India, a trip planned eleven months ago (thanks to PERS), I get another email.  Graffiti Grandma has gotten another starred review, this time from Publishers’ Weekly.

Shit.  Just when I thought I was finished with her, Graffiti Grandma rises again.   I get an email from a New York publicist, anxious to help me use this great news to sell my book. I respond, intrigued, and learn that they charge about $6,000 a week for their services, which they reveal that when I explain that I’m a retired school teacher with only PERS to back me.

But then Publishers’ Weekly checks in. They carry advertisements, all shapes, all sizes, all prices, for their starred books. A starred review is really important, I’m told, an important selling point. An advertisement might be okay, I say, since PW sells to libraries and big buyers like Hudson airport stores.  Maybe?  I have a few days to decide if GRGR will be in the Best Books section in November. 

I also have three days to decide how many pairs of pants, which shoes, do I wear a fleece or my quilted jacket, and how does all this fit in a small bag that can’t weigh over thirty-three pounds.  And is a skirt really necessary even if many of our toilets will be the squat variety?

Too many decisions.  I tell my PW guy that I love to write, don’t expect fame or fortune from the activity, that I think I need to develop some sort of marketing plan besides going to retirement residences, and besides, I won’t be here for a month.

My new editor says five pants, five tops.  I’m listening to her--and dreaming of the Taj Mahal in moonlight.. 

Jo Barney Writes
Website: www.jobarneywrites.com
Blog: breakoutnovelarace.blogspot.com

1 comment :

  1. Having just returned from India I'd caution you to pack light. It will be hot. You'll be going into many mosques and temples and many of these won't let you in if you're wearing shorts (what Indian's call half pants.) But most of these places will provide you with wraps or head scarves. You're going to have a wonderful adventure and I envy you. Clear your head while you're gone and, hopefully, the path to promoting your novel will be more clear when you return.

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