In January my new novel, An Unexpected Grace, will be available on Amazon and in bookstores. Since last summer, I’ve been preparing for the launch. I set up a website and author pages on Amazon, Goodreads, LibraryThing, Google+, and Pinterest. I’ve learned to tweet and have coaxed everyone I’ve ever met in my entire life to be my friend on Facebook.
When I look up from my computer screen, I shake my head with wonder that a writer’s life could change so drastically in a few years. Before, I wrote a book and then promoted it in bookstores and on radio and TV — a month, and that was it. Now promotion has become a permanent part of my lifestyle. For hours every day I search online for pictures to pin on Pinterest boards and for interesting information to tweet. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed, as if social media is swallowing me in one big technological gulp.
Social media is fascinating, often mesmerizing, and I love my Internet connections with people. But I’ve asked myself, When am I supposed to write more books? Have I left behind my sacred mission of showing animals’ importance? Am I lost in a forest of demands that will keep me forever from my life’s work?
Not long ago while mulling these questions, I went to my garden, which is my greatest place of solace, and began weeding my chard and kale patch. A storm gathered, lightning flashed across the sky, and thunder rolled like kettle drums. With a shiver, I thought, It’s not safe here. Suddenly it occurred to me that I wasn’t just thinking about a lightning strike. It also wasn’t safe for me to have strayed so far from my vocation as an animal writer. I was in danger of the Internet tugging me from my purpose. A worthy insight.
I didn’t shake a carrot at the heavens like Scarlet O’Hara, but I did vow to keep writing my books. Last week I sent my agent a proposal for another novel – of course, about an animal. Today I tweeted all morning. I’m determined to keep all balls in the air because I’m grateful for my readers and my work.