Devan Sipher's Blog - Posts Tagged "book-publishing"

Yesterday was the pub date for my book, The Wedding Beat: A Novel. So it has now officially been released. But it's not like it's been previously held in captivity.

It's been available for pre-order, given away on blogs, reviewed -- and on B&N, you can already buy used copies in Kentucky. Still figuring that one out.

When a play opens, there are rehearsals, last minute-rewrites, torrid affairs with the leading actors (oh wait, I'm confusing real life with the television show "Smash," but still...)

There's also an actual opening, where people come and see your work. And even if you spend the entire time nervously pacing the lobby, you have evidence they were there, because there are umbrellas left behind in the theater and an empty bottle of Jack Daniels in the men's restroom (which you suspect was left by the director).

But a book opening is much more existential. My book signing and party in New York isn't until the 19th, and that was my choice. But even if I had done it yesterday, it would just be one store in one city, and, theoretically, my book made an appearance across the country yesterday. Well, more than theoretically. Friends sent pictures. The cover looks very nice on the bookstore shelves. Adds a bit of color, if I say so myself.

So I guess that proves that my book does in fact now exist in the world. But it's existed from the day I typed "The End." I remember that summer day vividly. It was a warm and sunny, and I took a long walk through the streets of New York with no particular destination. After a year of working six days a week for 12 to 15 hours a day at my computer, I felt like a caterpillar emerging from its cocoon, someone and something different from who I had been before. I felt exhilarated and fulfilled. And hopeful that one day the book would be published so that others could see what I had shed blood, sweat and tears for. Well, at least sweat and tears. And joy. Much joy.
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Published on April 04, 2012 07:19 • 307 views • Tags: author, book-publishing, pub-date, the-wedding-beat, writing
Is it only me, or does this quote make you picture marble shelves overloaded with remaindered books in ancient Rome?

There were almost 300,000 books published in 2011. In the United States. Add the rest of the literate world, and the number jumps to nearly two million. And that’s just in one year. That means there must be at least five million authors on the planet. More likely the total is closer to ten or twenty million.

So what is the point of writing a book? What are the odds of coming up with a manuscript that’s uniquely compelling if there are so many people endeavoring to do the same? It’s enough to make me almost pity publishers. Almost.

When I was young I thought my writing could change the world. (I was very young.) Yet I still yearn to contribute to society and wonder if I should have chosen a more directly useful profession: like doctor, carpenter, or cable repairman.

Instead, I have written The Wedding Beat: A Novel, a romantic comedy loosely based on my experience as a single guy writing the wedding column at The New York Times. It’s a lighthearted beach read. Yet there was nothing lighthearted about my approach. I slaved at my computer 12 to 15 hours a day, 6 days a weeks, working through back injuries, power failures and a rotating cast of Presidential candidates.

I was determined to write the best book possible. More than that, I wanted to provide readers with the best experience possible. Because that’s what I consider my primary obligation. I believe there’s an unwritten contract between writer and reader. A sacred oath, if you will, that I, as author, do solemnly swear not to bore you or insult your intelligence.

But if I’m being honest, there was another motivating factor. And it had nothing to do with other people’s enjoyment reading my book and everything to do with my own enjoyment writing it. In the past, I’ve been disdainful of people writing merely because it made them happy. I mean, that’s lovely for them, but what about the poor sap who has to read what they disgorge?

I clung to the notion that writing required selflessness, and a fair amount of suffering, before it was worthy of being bestowed on readers. But writing isn’t something bestowed, it’s something that’s shared. And what I’m sharing is the joy and pride I take in crafting a story and conjuring a world in the rhythm of words.

I still remember the lightheaded euphoria I felt on the day I finished my manuscript. If there are ten million people who derive similar pleasure, then so be it. After all, it was Cicero who also said “A room without books is like a body without a soul.”
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Published on May 30, 2012 11:20 • 1,076 views • Tags: authors, book-publishing, books, cicero, writing