This is a weird time for me as an author, because The Awful Mess got a very nice (if slightly puzzling) Publishers Weekly review and still has a shot at moving on to the semi-finals in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards 2014.
(I say this even though it looks quite sad on the ABNA excerpt page with one three-star review last I looked. On the other hand, it currently has 175 largely positive reviews on Amazon.com, from people who’ve presumably read the whole book, so … I’m just not going to worry about the ABNA page … yet. I’ll let you know if I change my mind.)
This weird in-between status means that moving ahead with plans for expensive promotions, new distribution channels, and adapting the current book to include an excerpt and a cover for the next book just don’t make sense. I’m not even sure if some of those are allowed, given the rules of the contest. And I may not know I’m out until June 13, or possibly even July 8, when the five finalists are announced. (All five get publishing contracts, so that’s actually winning, even though there will be a grand prize winner.)
This isn’t actually bad timing for me, since I’m also in another kind of authorial limbo: After my last read through, I realized that the next book still needs enough development that it might not be the smartest move to start promoting it yet. However, if I wasn’t still an ABNA prospect, I’d go ahead and order a cover for it anyway, just so it could be ready to go.
It’s fairly pointless to think too much about the ABNA — and I’m really trying not to — but the next book I DO need to think about … the next book, instead of my steadily sinking sales rank on The Awful Mess. And that’s hard, especially for someone who once worked as a product manager, and currently has only one product.
But then there are those other big things in life … like divorcing and downsizing. Part of me would really like to be able to just relax and give those my full focus. The timing is perfect, too, because I’m not teaching this summer. But even those require living in limbo.
The divorce part is in limbo because we settled on legally separating for the sake of health insurance, at least until we can figure out how to make Obamacare work for us. That’s not really serious limbo — all it takes to make it final is filing the paperwork, which either of us could do at any moment — but as it happens, my husband is also still here. And he’s still “my husband.” Which is weird. It confuses the hell out of my friends and family, especially when we go out and do things together and post about it on Facebook.
He says he’s here until closing to help us move, which is nice of him. Then he suggested he was staying until Father’s Day (a week after the closing date on the next, downsized house) and I panicked. Where the heck would I put him in the new place? I wasn’t even planning to take a sofa over, let alone an extra bed. Not to mention there’s only one bathroom. But of course, we’ll figure it out.
As this interim time passes, however, this studiously amicable relationship is experiencing some tension. It’s nothing serious. (What’s the worst that can happen? We get divorced?) But I’m ready to start my new life.
It’s also a weird limbo time for me as a gardener. There are all these gardens out there, and they just keep growing. They don’t have a clue about the approaching closing date. There are also, inevitably, weeds — and sometimes I think they DO know. I’m still weeding, but not with the dedication I might once have had. Weeding is an investment in the future. We weed to avoid having lots and lots of baby weeds. I won’t be here for the baby weeds. I’d rather be weeding the next garden right now.
Also, the raspberries are defeating me. I had no idea that raspberries, which I just planted last year, could be such thugs. I had been planning to try to dig a few up and take them with me. Not now. Not unless I can somehow bury a giant impenetrable wall around the next patch, which I can’t.
Wouldn’t it be nice if books could sell the way raspberries spread? That does happen sometimes, especially once an author hits a critical mass of titles..
And that’s another reason to focus on growing the next book.
So I’d better get back to that. (And maybe I’d better whack down some raspberries, too.)
Happy growing of whatever it is you grow!