Your Book Social Media Profile Awaits
Several things happened this past week that astounded the literary world. Harper Lee is finally to publish her first novel. Yes, her first. To Kill a Mockingbird was actually her second novel. Her publisher encouraged her to write an earlier story from the protagonist’s view, that of a young Scout who observed her father, Atticus Finch, at work on a rape case. Thus was born the seminal work, To Kill a Mockingbird. Evidently, the book was discovered among Lee’s publisher’s papers and they decided to move forward and publish.
The next thing I witnessed is the only interview ever filmed of Flann O’Brien, or more popularly known by his pseudonym, Brian O’Nolan. We see an extremely soused author, slurring his words, and an empty bottle of whiskey nearby. He was so introverted that he had to get stinking to be able to withstand the pain of an interview. It was only a snippet and some are still out there desperately searching for the entire interview.
As I watched the news from my computer screen, seated alone in my office at home, I understood these two private people more than all the extroverted newscasters and literary reviewers and academics combined. I’m an introvert. I test toward the extreme side, but I have learned to withstand the exposure to the marketplace, however painful it may be. It isn’t that I don’t like people that I too shun public places as much as I possibly can. In fact, I do. Undoubtedly, more than most. There are many people I care so deeply about I hurt. I find myself moved to tears when I think of them or their problems they must endure.
I didn’t mean to get so heavy on a Monday, but these two remarkable introverts, Harper Lee and Flann O’Brien, have surfaced this past week to remind me of who I am, of all those like us, the introverted authors. I like the idea that today we have author communities, that we have a Sisters In Crime and Mystery Writers of America, and the many other author communities that have sprung up over the past few years. We support each other. Encourage each other. And it shouldn’t just be with a communal organization that we pay to belong to where one author supports another. It should be every author supports the other. We may not all be introverts like I am or Flann O’Brien, but we can listen and find a way to be there for the other. Perhaps Mr. O’Brien would not have had to drink himself into oblivion just to give an interview, or Ernest Hemingway find release in suicide if we had paid more attention.
I realize I rag on the worst of us, the vanity press author wannabes, but I do care about those who are the diamonds in the rough, the voices lost in the sea of egomanical and yet terrible writers. They should be heard and need encouragement. Go out and buy a book today. Buy that story told by someone who truly has talent. Write a review that comes from your heart. And, if you can, connect with them, encourage them so they don’t lose heart like the Ernest Hemingways or Flann O’Briens.