Do you ever have that experience where you tilt your head, squint, and hear a dubious voice in your head say, “No kidding?”
My life is like that lately. It’s like I’m on a hijacked bus; the destination hasn’t changed, but wow, are we ever taking the scenic route.
This man in the photo is very kind and seemed to genuinely enjoy having his photo taken all night long. I’m always nervous when there isn’t an animal in the photo. We’re in Miami and that’s a gold medal around my neck. Head tilt. No kidding?
(This passes for formal attire. If anyone has held their breath in anticipation of who I wore for the red-carpet event, well, a very old kimono and brand new Crocs.)
I’m like you. I like to dawdle in the barn. I’ve been known to binge-watch Netflix. I like being on the bottom of a dogpile on the couch. Clearly, ambition is not my middle name.
Then writing starts innocently enough. One day an idea comes along while mucking the barn and you scribble it down. It’s like a crossword puzzle that has an 80,000-word runaway. What used to seem impossible becomes irresistible.
Then there’s a choice. You can put the words in a drawer and feel good about yourself. Done.
Or, if you enjoy the awkward balance of wearing one flip-flop and one stiletto, then you decide to let the world scrutinize your words. Or worse yet, ignore them. And from that day forward, the line between anxiety and pleasure becomes a floppy, teetering stumble. Weirdly unbelievable things happen without warning. Head tilt. No kidding?
So, like I said, I’m like you. I get those same emails from Amazon suggesting books for me–sometimes horse books. Recently, the subject line of the email was “Barn Dance: Nickers, brays, bleats…” Squinty confusion.
When opened, the email suggested a list of books, like usual, but this time including both Barn Dance and Relaxed & Forward. In one email. To me. It’s unprofessional to say so but I still get such a thrill seeing my covers.
And the best part? This email was not my doing. It was you! Yes. Thank you, in the extreme!
An attempted explanation: I think the way this works is that books get stacked in a remote dark corner of the world-wide-web. Search engines don’t go looking on their own. You have to nag them for a while before they move, and even then, they have a very short retention span.
We indie authors are always trying to not sound too desperate when asking readers to leave a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads. It’s embarrassing; we don’t do it because we’re groveling for compliments. Getting a marginal review, like one for Stable Relation that gave it three stars and went on to say she didn’t finish the book, is still good news. That silly search engine can’t read! It just wanders out back to look for my book. In that way, every review is good.
If you left a review, thank you so much for keeping my books moving. It makes a huge difference.
And if you have thought about it and have a moment, please consider writing a brief review of Barn Dance or Stable Relation or Relaxed & Forward. (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads.) Self-published books gratefully rely on word-of-mouth support. Thank you.
Last week found me in Elgin, Illinois, working four days at a wonderful therapeutic riding center there, followed by a two-day riding clinic at another barn that shares my blog and books. One of the participants at the second barn was a very serious rider; a man in his seventies who came with his two chestnut mares. He’d managed to ride five lessons in two days. Well done!
At the end of the clinic, he had his horses loaded for the haul home when he came to say goodbye. I stood to shake his hand, but then we hugged instead. I thanked him for riding and he said, “You’re just exactly the person you are in your book. Just the same person.”
There’s no squint in a barn. No head tilt. “Thank you,” I said, “that’s my intention.”
Anna Blake at Infinity Farm