Myths aren’t all bad. Sometimes they help us have a good time. (Birthday calories don’t count, right?) Other times they let us off the hook. (Since Say Yes to the Dress is on TLC–The Learning Channel!–it counts as educational programming. Duh.)
Ignorance, bliss, all that. When it comes to publishing, it can be true. Sometimes I’d rather buy into the myth.
For example, here’s a reality I’ve learned about book publishing over the last year: Unless you’re J.K. Rowling (and if you are, email me! I love you!) or James Patterson, your publishing house is probably not going to allocate their entire budget to flying you around the country for a book tour. You can pay your way wherever you want, but that dream of lounging in first class on the publisher’s dime is, almost definitely, just a dream. It’s not easy getting people into brick-and-mortar stores these days, so unless you can guarantee a good turnout, it’s probably not in a bookseller’s best interest to host a big hoopla.
And still, I hold onto the fabulous book tour myth. Just in case. Also, it helps justify the super-cute white-with-tuxedo-trim perfectly fitted blazer I bought two weeks ago because it looked “authorly.” (No it’s not a word. Whatever.)
Another myth: That anything that happened to Carrie Bradshaw when her book came out is reality. Remember when she spotted the French edition of her book in the window of a Parisian shop and the fabulous book sellers decided to throw her an impromptu dinner party? I can guarantee that will not happen to me.
Also, if I have a book launch party, I will not look like this. Yup, that feathered slip and spiral staircase is Carrie’s book party entrance.
And still. A girl can dream can’t she? Not about wearing this dress, because, frankly, I think it’s weird. But about making that entrance? Or jetting off to France to drink Pinot Noir with Parisian readers?
Listen, that’s not publishing reality. I get it. I’d be the first to tell you that if you’re in this business for the glamorous parties and travel, you’re S.O.L. But the fun of being a debut author is that I’ve never done this before. When I’m willing to let myself get carried away, I can daydream about the fabulous life of a writer because while I know better, I don’t know better.
There’s only one first time. A year from now, I’ll know the ropes. But right now, when it suits me, I can buy into the myths. Because it’s fun. And while we writers often get hung up on the craft and artistry and business of what we do, shouldn’t writing–above all else–be fun?