I’ll say it again. The hardest part of this writing and publishing process for me is always the description of the book–that paragraph beside the cover image on the Amazon or Barnes and Noble page. Those few words are supposed to perfectly define the book and simultaneously demand it be purchased. Out of millions of books languishing in the mists.
Before Stable Relation came out, I spent a laborious week scrutinizing each word of that one measly paragraph, but when the first reviews came in, I realized that they described the book better than I had. My words failed my own words.
So a manuscript of eighty thousand words–think about what a huge number of words that is to wrangle into a meaningful order in the first place–lost forever if that tiny preview blurb doesn’t sell hot and fast. No pressure.
In defense of writers, sometimes there’s a gap between what we think we wrote and what the readers finds. We can never control, or even guess, how the book will be received. I did a good deal of tongue-biting when I was writing Stable Relation. I wanted to tell the story in a way that was meaningful and interesting. I thought about pace, I edited entire chapters out, and I wanted to make sense in a non-chronological way. Most of all, I didn’t want to talk down to readers; I wanted them to have their way with the book. Then those eighty thousand words got squeezed to a blurb, quickly becoming my least favorite word ever. Blurb sounds too much like burp.
Same drama for the second book Relaxed and Forward: Relationship Advice from Your Horse. Only this time it isn’t a story but rather a collection of essays. Publishers will tell you that format is even harder to sell than memoirs, if that could be possible. With that dismal vote of confidence, I spent the two weeks tweezering words and fussing with clauses until I finally sputtered to a halt at this particular blurb. I didn’t finish it so much as surrender to it, letting my finger finally collapse on the finish button. Then I waited.
Sure enough. Within a few days, one of my favorite readers referred to Relaxed & Forward as a Daily Devotional. What she said! Exactly.
Devoted is defined as love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for an individual, activity, or cause. The first three verbs define a rider and the last three nouns are synonyms for ways to commit to a horse.
One of my strongest beliefs about training, teaching, or about anything else in life, is that attitude outweighs subject matter. Horses read our intention much more than judge our technique. Riders are constantly challenged to stay fresh and new, and be, well, inspired. I wanted this book to be the middle of that conversation, not a cover-to-cover read so much as a small spark of idea to ponder an essay at a time.
NEWS THIS WEEK: **I’ve been invited to do a project that I’m really excited about. Horses and riders will benefit and it will be available to a huge audience. It’s in the planning stages right now, but expect to hear all about it. ** Plans are proceeding for the Midwest Horse Fair the weekend of April 15th in Madison, WI. We’re booth 2304 in the main hall of EXPO building. If you plan on going, I’d love to meet you. ** I’m negotiating possibly being at the Horse Expo in Denver next month with my books. ** It’s been really fun sending signed books out (link at top of page) and talking with readers. Let me know if you’d like a personally inscribed copy of either of my books.
And the usual heartfelt request to please take a moment and post a review–Stable Relation if you haven’t already, or Relaxed & Forward, when you’ve finished it–to Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes and Noble. Indie books only stay afloat by word of mouth, and that is up to you. Whether you leave a review or not, know that I appreciate each of you taking the risk on my books. Reading time is a precious commodity and sharing that with me means so much.