Join Prism Book Alliance® as Brandon Witt goes Outside the Margins today.
It’s been over a decade since I wrote The Shattered Door, which was my first published novel. It was published three years ago, so if I use my fingers to do the math, I’m reminded that it was seven years of seeking publication. Seven years of rejection letters. In all those years, and the years before it, obviously, I dreamed about what it would be like to have a book published. What steps there would be. What things an author would do that I hadn’t even dreamed of. Like editing with an editor that you hate on your first book together because she dare question one of your brilliant words (she should know all of them were perfect) to longing for her feedback as you write your seventh book (because every word you write is shit and she’s the only one that makes you look like a real writer). THANK GOD FOR DESI! (Really, if she ever decides that she wants a career change and goes off to cure cancer or some bullshit, I’m gonna jump off a cliff.)
Honestly, after all those years of dreaming, every single bit of the publishing aspect has either been equal to what I hoped, or better. Of course, we all long for that blockbuster book that sets you up so that you can write and not be terrified of the royalty statements that come every three months. However, the only real thing that has been not the joy I dreamed are the negative reviews, or at least the gutting reviews. This isn’t a statement of readers not have every right to write any damn thing they want about the books they read. It’s just me saying that I am a grown man who truly, TRULY, doesn’t give a shit what anyone else thinks. Until I read reviews, then I am a sobbing middle school mess. Other than that, everything else is as good as you can imagine.
My favorite, although it’s hard to pick a favorite, is seeing the cover for the first time. It’s when you finally realize you wrote a real book. Shout out to Anne Cain who has done all my covers (and is the real reason Then the Stars Fall became my best seller, it’s not my writing, it’s the cover, and that’s okay, if you can’t have beauty and brains, at least have one. Anne has a lot a brains and provides me the beauty.
The other moment that’s a favorite? Getting the paperbacks (I’m dreaming of hardcovers one day, I am snob after all) in the mail. My hands have never touched anything as wonderful as those. Even penises. And I’ve touched a lot of penises. Wait…. Can sluts be snobs?
My other favorite (quit counting how many things I say are my favorite [and though I didn’t list penises as a favorite, I’m assuming that is was implied]) is listening to the audiobooks. I am a huge audiobook fan. I have them on all day long, literally. While I love music, its audiobooks that I listen to in the car, at the gym, when I cook, sometimes in my bubble baths. I’m a ridiculously slow reader. While I love to read an actual book in paper and such, if that’s all I had, I’d only get through five or six books a year. My first two audibooks have come out in the past couple of months, The Shattered Door arriving earlier this week. The narrator of both, Andrew McFerrin, is my favorite reader I’ve ever heard (save for Jim Dale who reads Harry Potter—it’s okay if I like Jim Dale’s reading better because I like J.K. Rowling’s writing better than my own, let’s just be honest, if you have to choose a Brandon Witt book or a Harry Potter book, there’s only one choice, and it will make my royalty checks truly scary, Dolores Umbridge scary). When I listen to Andrew read my books, I forget that I’m the one who wrote them. I kinda can’t believe I did. It’s crazy and awesome!
The whole point of this blog is what I’m getting ready to say next. None of that above crap was supposed to show up, but I’m in a mood tonight, and since Desi isn’t here to edit out the shit, or my repulsive love of commas,,,,,,, it all stays. ,
As stated before I wrote The Shattered Door a decade ago. I was twenty-seven, maybe twenty-six. I’d only been away from reparative therapy for two years. In many ways, romance wise, at least, I truly was a middle schooler. I’d just gone through my first real heartbreak (Matt). I never dreamed I could hurt worse. I did, years later as I wrote Submerging Inferno and the man I thought I’d marry up and left (Chad). But, I digress. Despite that first heartbreak, I was still a complete romantic. I’d forgotten that until listening to this audio book. And though I’d read The Shattered Door once since publication, in getting ready to write Stars, I didn’t notice. But as I’m listening to Andrew read, I’m blown away by the romance in the first part of Shattered. Honestly, it kinda grosses me out and is embarrassing. If I read someone else’s book and the romance was that sweeping and pure and perfect, I’d burn the fucker and say the person had no idea what real romance was, much less a gay man. But, you know what, that truly was how I saw the world. It’s how I thought life and love would be. I was wrong, and though I’m in the best relationship I’ve ever been in currently, it’s nothing, NOTHING, like the one between Brooke and Jed in Shattered. And, I don’t want it to be. Truly. Still, it was nice to be reminded of that man-child I was a decade ago. Definitely wasn’t a slut back then, though probably a still a snob, but I was a romantic. I loved movies like Fools Rush In and Ever After. Sobbed at them no matter how many times I watched. Now? I can’t stand them. In all honesty, and I know I shouldn’t say this as I’m a MM Romance writer, but I trust you’ll keep it between you and me, I struggle being labeled a romance writer at all. It’s not how my brain works anymore. It’s not how I see the world, and maybe that’s why there has been some debate if my books are romance or not.
Remember when I said there was a point to all this. Well, I have no what idea what it was.
Was it penises?
Whatever it was, it’s been surreal and kinda nice to be reminded of the romantic I used to be. I think I need to do a better job of respecting my position as a MM romance writer. Even if the words and relationships I write now aren’t the Disney innocence of a decade ago, there can still be romance. And maybe, if I can make it real romance , how it really looks for a lot of us, with just a sprinkle of literary magic thrown in, that can be something I could be really, really proud of.
So, what is your take away with all of this if you’re not another writer and don’t want to be and you won’t ever experience getting a cover, paperback, or audio book of your writing? Well, as long as you remember to love commas and penises, I think you got the point. (Unless you’re a lesbian or ________________________ <– [insert inclusive label of other groups who don’t love penises there, please], then you don’t have to love penises, and I thank you. More for us. However, you can still love commas.
About Brandon Witt
Brandon Witt resides in Denver, Colorado. When not snuggled on the couch with his two Corgis, Dunkyn and Dolan, he is more than likely in front of his computer, nose inches from the screen, fingers pounding they keys. When he manages to tear himself away from his writing addiction, he passionately takes on the role of a special education teacher during the daylight hours.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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