[The following is a NEW essay by Camile Noe Pagan (The Art of Forgetting , Life and Other Near-Death Experiences) to explain why bother to write Forever Is the Worst Long Time available on February 7th.]
Why bother? It’s the question every novelist must answer when she sits down in front of the computer or blank page again and again until her story is finished. Writing a book is lonely and often hard work—work that pulls your attention from your family and “paying job” and countless other things for months and even years at a time. And for all this effort, you may be rewarded with a book that may not sell well, or even a draft that will never be published. As a friend of mine often likes to ask me, “Why would you do that to yourself?”
For me, the answer’s simple—and has remained the same through the peaks and valleys of my career.
When my first novel, The Art of Forgetting, was published in 2011, I had few expectations. There were many highs and lows along my publishing journey, but one of the unexpected delights was hearing from readers—via email or Facebook, and often even in person—who had been moved by Forgetting. Some had related to the fractured friendship at the heart of the novel; others, like my protagonist, Marissa, had a previous romantic relationship they just couldn’t let go of. Many related to the struggle Marissa went through with her critical, weight-obsessed mother. Whatever the reason, my words had spoken to them; my book had made a positive difference in their lives. This fueled my desire to write—and to keep writing when the stories I was attempting to create didn’t come out right.
Fast forward to six years later. My second novel, Life and Other Near-Death Experiences, was published at the end of 2015 and has since sold more than 100,000 copies, as well as movie rights to a movie production company. Safe to say it was a very difference experience than my debut. But here, too, I found that what was most rewarding was not seeing my Amazon ranking rise or receiving a royalty check. It was hearing from readers who had been moved by my story.
My third novel, Forever Is the Worst Long Time hits shelves in a few weeks. Yet again, I have few expectations. Publishing is nothing if not an experience. But some of my early readers have written to say that they were deeply moved by my tale of a struggling writer and the unconventional way he finds love and creates a family. These reader messages have been a gift, because no matter how the book does, I already know that I have done my job.
Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are great. But if you really love a novel, send the author a note to tell her so. It may just up the odds she writes another.
[NOTE: Life and Other Near-Death Experiences was (and still is) an Amazon Kindle Unlimited novel AND Forever is the Worst Long Time will be too! Please see the link on the sidebar, or click the image below, and take advantage of a FREE 30-Day Trial!]