Nature is giving me another writing lesson.
She’s behind this year, or so everyone says. Daffodils, normally in bloom weeks ago, are only now starting to open. The buds on the fruit trees surrounding our house are still, with the exception of a few keeners, tightly furled. We live on old orchard land and normally by the end of February we’re cocooned in a frothy haze of sweetly scented blooms that last, if we’re lucky, for three or four weeks. Instead, here it is the middle of March and we’re still waiting. It’s been a rough winter; the wait feels long; people are complaining about Mother Nature.
In fact, Mother Nature is dancing to her own particular tune and her timing isn’t always our timing. Timing in the publishing world doesn’t always fit what we want or expect either.
Last November I launched a Laura Tobias title (Million Dollar Blues if you care to look it up) on Amazon. I knew enough to avoid a December release – holiday sales can be notoriously slow unless you catch a wave between Christmas and New Year’s when people are off work. What I hadn’t counted on was the fallout from the American election negatively impacting ebook sales. It did, across the board, and writers are only now starting to recover. It was a timing issue I didn’t expect, though apparently it’s not the first time book sales have plummeted during election months so it’s something to keep in mind for next time.
In December I submitted a YA novel to a publisher I’ve worked with before, hoping for a sale (obviously) and expecting a quickish turnaround. Not quick (I knew better than to expect that) but quickish since this particular publisher has always been good that way. However, due to a combination of circumstances beyond anyone’s control, things are backed up there too and it’s going to be a while yet before I hear one way or another. It’s not the timeline I had in mind but there’s nothing I can do about that either.
We were at a memorial for a friend last weekend. One of his favorite sayings was some days you get chickens, some days only feathers. To that I would add some days you get silence, other days you get feedback. Some days you get rejections, other days you get acceptance.
And some days you get blossoms, other days only buds.
Buds, however, hold promise. And promises can keep you going when you’re waiting for the timing to turn.