Of Puppies and Publishing

For those of you following my blog or social networks, you know that in less than a month The Vampire Hunters will be published. It’s an exciting time. Reading the proofs and seeing how my book will look when published. Working with the publisher on drafting the cover art for the book, and anxiously waiting to see the final result. Enjoying the sense of anticipation of having a dream come true.

Coming to the grips with the harsh reality that getting published was the easy part.

The entire experience reminds me of when my school friend wanted nothing more than a puppy for his birthday.  He begged and pleaded, promised and cajoled, and hoped against hope. And on his birthday, he finally received his four-legged friend with those big brown eyes looking up longingly at him. He had finally obtained what he dreamed of for so long.

That’s when he realized there’s a lot of responsibility that goes along with that puppy. The puppy whined all night. It needed to be walked. It needed to be trained. In order to ensure that puppy grew up to be a strong, healthy dog and to live a long time, he needed to provide him with constant care and attention.

The same can be said about your writing career.

When you receive a copy of your first book in the mail, you feel as if your dream has come true. All those seemingly endless hours spent in front of the keyboard, all those nights and weekends spent away from family and friends, seemed to have finally paid off. Slowly that initial euphoria wears off and you realize that a lot of care and feeding is required if you want that first book to grow into a full-fledged writing career.

The day I signed my first contract with Shadowfire Press was one of the most exciting of my life. After the euphoria subsided, however, I realized I had a lot of work to do if I wanted to make that book a success. The first thing I did was start searching the Internet for a domain name so I could set up my website, which was a scary process for someone as computer illiterate as myself. And who knew there were so many Scott M. Bakers out there who had already scoffed the best domain names. Then I created a blog. Feeling very confident in my abilities by this time, I opted to establish a presence on the social networking sites. My eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw just how many SNSs there were. So I opted for the basics – Facebook, My Space, and Twitter. All I can say is, thank God for Ping.

That still wasn’t enough. I had to make people want to come looking for me. So I go involved in a couple of forums, though due to limited time constraints the only one I frequent any more is the Horror Mall Forum, and even then I’m not on anywhere near as much as I would like. The same holds true for guest blogging. I’ve had offers to write for some other blogs, but have reluctantly turned down those invitations because of time constraints. It’s a shame I can’t get more involved, but as of now I’ve spent nearly as much time marketing myself and The Vampire Hunters as I did writing the book.

Right now I’m setting up newspapers and other vampire-related websites to review and/or publicize my book after it’s published.

So for those authors out there aspiring to get their books published or just beginning the process, the road ahead is long and hard. But if you love what you do and writing is in your blood, this is actually a labor of love. Just like raising a pet.

And yes, the puppy lived a long and happy life. I hope ten years from now I can say the same thing about my writing career.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to feed my Twitter.

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