Posted on August 1, 2011 by Flames
Thanks to Monica for letting me stop by Flames Rising. It’s always great to meet new people through different sites as I’m spreading the word about my debut novel. The Winds of Khalakovo came out this past April, and I thought it would be interesting to talk a little bit about the arc of emotions I’ve had along the way.
Any writer with a debut novel will tell you how exciting it is. (If they aren’t excited, they’re either lying or they’ve done something they’re not proud of.) It was wonderful to have The Winds of Khalakovo come out, and it was terribly gratifying seeing the kind of welcome it received. One of the most interesting things for me was how fun it was working with reviewers, not on the reviews themselves, of course, but on guest posts and interviews. It’s so nice to share beyond the bounds of the book. There are so many stories to tell. The book was three years in the making, and I learned a lot over that time, so it was fun to share my thoughts on writing. But it was also fun to share my thoughts on writing that particular book. In many ways I want the book to speak for itself, but there are other stories to tell—how the world was created, the cultures involved, the things I wanted to emphasize and deemphasize, the things I was most proud of, and so on.
There was also an interesting transition I went through over the months leading up to the debut and the months following. It didn’t really have anything to do with the release of the book, but rather the nature of publishing—publishing a trilogy, anyway. I’d signed up for three books, you see, and while I was throwing my hands up in the air with excitement over Winds coming out, the deadline for second book was looming. So this was a funny thing. Elation and dread mixed together in a not-altogether-pleasant mix. When you’re trying to break in, all you’re thinking about is getting the book out. The notoriety. The reviews. The fans and the movie deals (yeah, right). What you’re not thinking about—at least, not as much—is the life of a professional writer. But that life, the thing you’ve been shooting for forever?, is right there, breathing down your neck once you’re under contract.
I liken it to graduating high school or college. You can’t wait to get out there in the real world, but when you finally do, you suddenly have a lot of responsibilities on your place. Don’t get me wrong. I knew this was coming, but you never know what it’s really like until you live it. You really have to structure your time. And lest you think it’s simply a matter of putting your nose to the grindstone and writing, let me ring a bell for you. There’s this thing called promotion. And apparently it need to happen once the book comes out. In the nine months or so leading up to the release of Winds, I really didn’t have any promotion to do. I was gearing up for promotion, but the book wasn’t out and there wasn’t much to actually do other than emails to line up some reviews. I did some other things like preparing my website, working on a group blog, getting my book trailer done. But once the book hit the shelves, I got busy trying to get the word out. Now, this is fun work. It’s really fun work, but it takes time away from everything else. These are the harsh realities of the modern publishing world. You can’t expect the publisher to do it all.
As I write this, I’m putting the final touches on Book 2, The Straits of Galahesh, and I’m just starting to dive into Book 3. The marketing effort is starting to wane, and I’m going to go into full writing mode on the third book soon. It’s quite a rollercoaster ride already—fun and terrifying, in equal measure—but it’s one I wouldn’t trade for the world. I love the life of a writer. I only wish life would stop getting in the way so I could concentrate on it.
About Bradley Beaulieu
Bradley P. Beaulieu is the author of The Winds of Khalakovo, the first of three planned books in The Lays of Anuskaya series. In addition to being an L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Award winner, Brad’s stories have appeared in various other publications, including Realms of Fantasy Magazine, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Writers of the Future 20, and several anthologies from DAW Books. His story, “In the Eyes of the Empress’s Cat,” was voted a Notable Story of 2006 in the Million Writers Award.