So You Want To Write (& Publish) A Book? I’ve Got Some Advice For You

"mars trine pluto"
This is kind of an astrology post.

Every post I write is informed by the stars of course, but what’s really on my mind is how it FELT to receive a box of books in the mail – from my publisher, Weiser, and the fear I felt.

This is a Saturn story. 

Wait. Was it fear? It was a series of questions.

Would I still like it? The parts I knew I did like?
Would I disown it? Would I see all the things I wished I could fix (hello Virgo Moon!) but there wasn’t time?
Would I fall in love with certain passages and sentences and moments? Would I feel proud?

Yes to all. Stuff I wanted to fix. Stuff I loved.

Are we writers supposed to admit that? Are we allowed to be honest, transparent? Are we supposed to pretend it’s all perfect, that book publishing isn’t a collaborative art?

And yes there are parts of it, parts, that I deeply love and that I feel represent me, as a writer (and for me, writing is breathing).

So I opened the box right away but it took me a couple days to actually start to read the book. And not in order. I took a lot of pictures of her. Book selfies. Randomly. Posted on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. It felt good. Felt better than pictures of my face. The book IS my face. I was grateful. Grateful that my sense of humor was still in the writing. Grateful that my long sentences didn’t get chopped up (ya never know). Glad that I asked for certain things *not* to be changed.

Just like theatre, book publishing is collaboration and process. So you surrender to what is. You surrender to receiving feedback. To being a team player. To doing your best despite having to receive feedback and be a team player 😉

Halfway through the process, when my editor told me about the necessary rewrite (second draft), I burst into tears. All that work. All those words. For what? She reassured me that I could put that material elsewhere, in a different book, in blog posts. Just not in this book  I got a clearer idea of what they wanted. I really hadn’t understood at first. Now I did. And I had a job to do. To map exactly what was removed, what was left, what was needed. Had to chart it. How many words. It made my head spin.

I have my natal Neptune (dreamy seascape) in the Third House (writing and communications) TRINE THREE PLANETS IN CANCER including Mercury. I’m a poet. I’m at sea. Everything else needs Saturn’s help. Mentoring. Structure. Focus. My editor gave that to me.

There were times I wanted to quit. I didn’t quit. I kept writing under deadline for hours and hours at a time. And in the middle of the rewrite Hurricane Irma came to visit. During draft one, my beloved Cleo passed from body to spirit. This truly is a Saturn book.

And this: I wrote two books in a year and the published book is a marriage of the two. Maybe someday the “cutting room floor” material will see the light of day.

So you want to write and publish a book? Here are some keywords for you:
And maybe not in that order.

This is how you get a book from seed to tree.

To be continued…

To pre-order The Little Book of Saturn

"the little book of saturn"