Peaceable Man Files Issue #6: It Takes a Village to Make a Book, and To Celebrate It
Random musings on life at my cabin in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania and wherever else my gypsy existence takes me.
First, and most important: happy Mother’s Day to my dear mother and all the other mothers out there. I hope you feel loved and important today, and every day, because you are. You gave us life, after all, and every day you fill our worlds with life and love. Today is your special day. Enjoy it.
Speaking of special days, yesterday we held the launch party for The Long Walk Home, and it was a day to remember. At least, for me it was. So much about being a writer is a solitary business. We spend hours alone working on our craft, spinning words onto a page and then reworking them again and again and again until we feel they’re ready for the world. And then we send those words to publishers, who rework them some more. And then the printer gets the words and does its magic.
By the time the words finally make it out into the world, if they ever make it out into the world, often years have gone by. That’s with a book, at least. I started working on The Long Walk Home four years ago. I can’t tell you how many revisions that book went through before it went to print. I don’t even want to think about the countless hours I spent working on it. Many a day, I questioned why I was doing it, and whether I wanted to go through with it. Why bother? The vast majority of books never even make back the money it costs to produce them, let alone provide even a basic renumeration to the author.
But for a writer, or any artist, it’s not really about the money. It’s about being true to his or her calling and bringing to realization a vision that won’t let him or her go. So when that vision finally sees the light of day, after all of that work and solitary effort, it feels good to celebrate it with others.
That’s what yesterday was all about. There were no celebrities there, no hotshot New York literary agents, no New York Times Book Review editors. It was just family and friends and former classmates and colleagues who took the time and trouble to slog through the cold rain to celebrate the birth of a book. We held the launch at a local restaurant about a mile from the house where I grew up, and where my mother still lives. Altogether, more than sixty people came to the event, an amazing turnout for a debut book from an independent publisher. Even my eighty-nine-year-old mother managed to stop by!
By the end of the day, my wrist ached from all the books I signed (apologies in advance for my penmanship, which is truly terrible, despite the best efforts of the nuns back in Catholic grade school). All of what happened yesterday was new to me, and it was so much fun, I can’t wait to do it again.
Sometimes, you just have to stop for a moment and be thankful. Today, that’s where I’m at. I’m grateful to everyone who came out yesterday. Grateful to everyone who has supported me on the long road to getting this book into the world. Grateful to everyone who has read the book and left a review on Amazon or elsewhere.
Thank you. You have made all the work worth it.
Now, it’s back to my cave to work on my next book, a novel, Unto the Mountain, which you’ll be hearing more about in the months to come. I hope you’ll be with on the journey. I need the company!