Invisible every step of the way, thanks.
Yeah, you know, so here’s the thing: I do not like visibility. You might have noticed it’s been a while since the last time I’ve posted; that’s not due to a lack of interest in posting, but to an extreme aversion to posting as myself, with my bare identity hanging out in the breeze.
This journal gets a few readers whether I’m posting or not, somehow. It’s humbling and a little alarming, because I have no idea how they’re finding me or why they come back. From the other side of the world, even. It’s not like there’s a whole lot here, or even out there with my name on it at this point, but I’m grateful for the visits, even if they also make me want to hide in a hole. When I was publishing short fiction, I did pick up some readers who wrote to me and visited and hung around for a number of years, so it’s not inconceivable that some of them are still out there, finding me here. If that’s the case, I welcome them back with open arms. That would seriously make my day.
But I’m a hermit. And that’s understating it. I mean, comically understating it… as in, an obscene understatement, if one can conceive of such a thing; if there can exist such a thing, if it’s possible to profane a relatively harmless concept like hermititude.
I don’t answer the phone. I don’t have an online presence other than what I’m now establishing for professional purposes. I don’t socialize much. I just want to be here, mostly, in my house, left alone to do my thing… which, ha ha, requires an audience, wtf.
My family says I’m agoraphobic, which is utterly not the case. I have no problem going anywhere when the situation calls for it. If I want something, I go get it. I’m out working with the rescue four or more days a week, in the company of actual other humans, and on the weekends I work with other volunteers to host adoption events, which requires, you know, being seen, interacting with the public, and talking to people. I’m not afraid of people. I’m not afraid of open places or public spaces. I just need serious motivation before I’ll subject myself to any of it. Seeing to the well-being of strays and waifs and taking care of them and evaluating prospective pet parents — THAT I’ll do. I want to do it. I have no problem scooping litter boxes in one of the store habitats where we have animals, or evaluating applications, or interviewing prospective pet parents, or talking to vets or any number of other things. This stuff is ok; I don’t have to work up to it.
But an authentic online presence? Where people might want to actually know who I am and talk to me?
Yeah. So maybe publishing is a bad idea, then, for me. I mean, honestly. Publishers rightly want you to be visible and to market your work and to provide an engaging online presence. And really, you know, if I can do it from behind the screen, like this, I’m ok with doing it. I like posting. I don’t mind taking an active part in marketing my own work, or establishing and keeping up a regular online presence. I used to keep blogs. I had a couple, one for years and years. What I don’t like — and I’m aware of the disconnection and paradox here — is the idea that there’s even a smidgen of a chance that one day, eventually, someone I do not know out in the world will see me and know who I am.
Is that weird? It’s weird, right? It’s totally weird. All the writers and musicians I have known want that kind of attention, can’t wait to do book signings and performances and pose for author photos and get interviewed and talk about themselves. (Well… there is *one* exception. But he’s as weird as I am.)
The novel has been finished for some time. Revisions are done, editing is done, the synopsis is just about done and this week I began the process of querying agents. And an agent is going to want the novel to sell. Which means an editor will be required, and an editor is going to want the novel to sell, which means a readership will be required. An online presence gives you visibility during waiting periods between books, so people don’t forget about you. I know from my own experience with the writers I love that online accounts are the first place even *I* go to find the people I’m interested in, because their books just aren’t enough, and I love seeing them regularly. So it has to be done, and this is not an option. The world of publishing is a different animal altogether from the first time I was represented by an agent because of Facebook, Twitter, and so on, which didn’t exist then. My first agent, M, has since gone on to the Rainbow Bridge in the sky where non-practicing agents go when they abandon the life and go straight. I don’t know whatever happened to her.
I have to do what the job requires. So, back at it. And now that actually peddling my stuff is in progress, there’s no more putting it off. Updates here and on Facebook and on Twitter (and, soon, Instagram) are resuming now.