The business side of writing is a many-headed leviathan lurking deep beneath the sea. Far from any light source, it trolls the ocean’s floor where food and good hiding places abound. Newbs like myself struggle to learn the leviathan.
My journey begins at its side, just beyond its peripheral vision. Safe, I’m positioned to learn.
The first thing I notice is that the floor of the ocean is teeming with life. The beast networks within the sacred triumvirate: Writers/Agents/Publishers. Of course, there is blood in the water, those broken souls who risked too much on their journeys, and the leviathan snatches up those without mercy.
I survive my first observation and push off to the surface. The leviathan rarely feeds from here. Treading water, I reflect on what I’ve just seen. Beneath is a complex network of people pulsing with vibrant life. I fill my lungs again and go back for round two.
Neptunal shadows dance along the murky surface as I search for the beast.
I swim up along its hulking side for safety. This time I find outlets to plug into the network. My mind explodes with the accelerated brain drain process: Critique circles, book networking sites, social networking, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, blogs, Indie reviewers, interviewers/interviewees, link exchanges, author co-ops, press releases, electronic press kits, smoke-and-mirrors publishing companies, how-to webinars, writer’s conferences. I dodge an eddy of acronyms: MC, WIP, EPK, ARC, and PR’s….
Overwhelmed, I break the link and head for the surface. Gasping for breath, I tread water some more and reflect. All of these things have value, but I need to prioritize. I gulp air and head back for round three.
This time the leviathan’s Great Eye swirls in its socket and fixes on me. Desperate to escape, I kick lower — a rock! It is just out of reach, but I’m a strong swimmer, and the distances seem right; the leviathan is too far to catch me. On the under side of the rock is an alcove, just my size. I swim above and wrap my fingers along it’s sharp edge. I draw myself beneath in a one smooth motion, twisting my body against the drag of water.
The leviathan passes overhead. I’m safe. For now.
Suffused with the thrill that comes from surviving a fight for one’s life, I spy a leash trailing the beast. Dare I grab it?