Sunday, April 5, 2015

Four years ago there were clowns... also Howard Carter

If you're on Facebook, you've no doubt noticed that Zuckerberg's minions have been peppering your feed with flashbacks to what you were doing and who you were doing it with in years past.  For some this has apparently been traumatic. The app is/seems to be optional, so if you have things in the past you'd rather forget, I'd advise not turning it on. For me, Facebook is a place for frolicsome threats to drop troupes of clowns on my friends with orders to honk with extreme prejudice.

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Somewhere in and among all that silliness, this week's flashbacks have been all about typing "The End" on a book. A book that would become Howard Carter Saves the World. 

Four years ago I finished writing and started the long walk to publication.

As you know, there are books about this writing business. If you click on the stack of them in the left column of this blog you'll find a listing of some of my favorites. All of them warn you to some degree or another that this publishing thing is not quick. It's not easy. It's not for someone who is going to give up three years in.

I'm not sure if all of them undersell the waiting game or if I'm just blind to such warnings. Probably the latter. If there's a thing that all writers share, it's a stubborn refusal to accept the staggering odds against success.

Four years ago Monday, I typed "The End" at the bottom of the final page of Howard's story. Next Tuesday, that story will take its final step across the threshold of your computer screens and I hope that it will live its own life in your e-reader.

Even so, Howard's story is only half done; the rest is up to you. Beyond the turning cogs of the publishing machine, beyond the pages of a book, a story really only requires two essential elements: a teller and a listener. Without a reader, a book is a meaningless pile of words, little more than a labor-intensive doorstop. The writer does half the work breathing life into the inanimate, and the reader does the rest.

So I look forward to seeing Howard once again through fresh eyes... in about nine days.

Pre-orders are live on Amazon! Just click the image below.

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Pages to Type is a blog about books, writing and literary culture (with the occasional digression into coffee and the care and feeding of giant robots).