So, looking at the little free time I have, I am faced with a decision how to best utilize this precious commodity. The publishing ‘culture’, in its infinite wisdom, has “given” me a choice:
- I could write another entry in my blog.
- I could spend a few hours on Facebook, signing up for every writing group that I can, soliciting followers with solemn promises of faithfully following them, thereby increasing the length of both our monkey chains.
- I can tweet to God and the world about things unimportant, immaterial and downright banal - to be able to show agents and publishers the ‘army’ of people who have nothing better to do that to hear about my boring existence , anticipating every tweet with bated breath.
- I could learn how to create a website for myself, given that I cannot afford to hire someone to do it in my stead.
- I should write several entries my website will need to contain.
- I should send out query letters to agents in the “Guide to Literary Agents” I invested in, focusing first on those who accept e-mail submissions, saving me printing, addressing envelopes, postage and a trip to the nearest mailbox.
- I must write a query letter and synopsis to go with my other manuscript
- I have to compose ‘blurbs’ for both manuscripts
- It behooves me to learn about self-publishing in case I decide go that route with one of the two.
- I want to continue to write my third manuscript which I would like to finish before the end of this century.
If the pressure to be insanely active in social media was not made to seem as a prerequisite to getting published, my ‘to do’ list could be immediately shortened by the deletion of points 1 through 5. As it stands, I have to divide my 82 free minutes by ten different tasks which gives me exactly 8.2 minutes per. Given that these 82 minutes are not continuous, interrupted as they are by my ‘non-writer’ life, it’s makes it all very tricky indeed.
I must prioritize! Yes, that’s what I’ll do. First things first - I’ll send out a few queries and make entries in my “Submissions” table to keep track of all the people who will, chances are good, shatter my self-esteem at some point down the road. Excuse me while I go and do that……
30 minutes later……
OK, I’m back. Three more agents now have yet another e-mail in their in-box. Point 6 taken care of for today. Now what? Uh, I think I’ll write something interesting for my future website. It will have to be personable, show me in a favorable light, make me into the kind of person you think you would like to know. Let’s see - I’ll get a photograph which shows a spectacular sunset I saw yesterday evening, one that inspired me with awe and gratitude to God for being alive - that’ll take care of spiritual aspect of me which I should have, no?
Next, a photo of my dog Pooch for all you animal lovers out there. He has to be a mutt, but a good looking one, covering the esthetic as well as the compassionate facets of me.
Lastly, I’ll make myself really interesting by name-dropping, elevating my person several notches upward, for those who like to read about celebrities which, judging by the popularity of celeb shows and magazines, is a substantial chunk of the population. I’ll write about my trips to Africa with Angelina Jolie and George Clooney.
Before I start I would like to mention, in the interest of full disclosure, that yesterday evening I was home doing laundry, I do not own a dog named Pooch (or any other pet for that matter) and though I have been to Africa - I visited Ghana and Zimbabwe (shortly before Mugabe went ape-shit and decimated the place) - I have never actually met Angie or George. I could lie - you’d have no way of knowing any better - but I wish to show my honest, believable side so that I can add credibility to my many other virtues. Besides, Ms. Jolie and Mr. Clooney might sue me for fabricating and I can’t afford a lawyer.
Well, I have to go. Google has masses of dog and sunset photos and it’ll take me a while to pick just the right ones…..
A. J. Aston