The Cicadas are coming, the Cicadas are coming. That's all I hear about these days. The invasion is expected any minute, any day. Once these sleeping insects awake and rise from their burrows, the noise will be horrific.
At first, they'll go through the nymph phase, finding their way around. After that, they'll break free of their shells and soar. It won't last long - only a few months. Their presence will be a nuisance, but they'll be harmless. I've been told they make great eating for pets – even humans who dare to experiment.
I can't resist an analogy to my life as an author. In my underground stage, I learned my craft, writing and rewriting stories, hoping some day someone would appreciate them. During that time, I attended mystery conferences, religiously went to Chicago-North RWA meetings where I participated in critiques and served on the Board. I pitched, I submitted, I did whatever I could to get published.
Then it happened. After an interview at the Love is Murder Mystery Conference, Janice Strand from Hard Shell Word Factory accepted my Two Wrongs manuscript. Within a year, I was no longer I wannabe, but a published author.
Everything took on a new perspective as I adjusted to my new role. I was like a nymph Cicada, up from the ground, finding my way around, asking other published authors what to do. I learned how to set up a website. I learned where to go for bookmarks, author labels and other paraphernalia indicating I was a real author. I scurried around finding websites to post on, setting up booksignings, reviews, anything that would get my book noticed.
Now I'm an adult author. It's been over a year since Two Wrongs first came out in February, 2006. My book will still be available for at least another year from the original publication date and that's good. I've learned a lot, but the more I know, the more I need to know. I've laid the groundwork and it's time to break out.
I'm up and running. I schedule at least one booksigning a month. I participate in panels. I network with other authors. I work the Internet, joining e-groups and contributing in their discussions, commenting on and doing blogs in every conceivable place – Amazon.com, my individual blog at http://morganmandel.blogspot.com/, my group blog at http://acmeauthorslink.blogspot.com and other sites. I make friends on MySpace and post bulletins there. I join Ning networks and make more friends.
I also set up my own Ning network, Book Place, at http://bookplace.ning.com/ to share and promote books of all genres. I've got videos and a book trailer on my website and YouTube and numbers of other places. I hand out business cards whereever I go.
I'm an adult author. I've broken free and I'm flying. I will make my name known and I intend for my career to last a lot longer than the Cicada's few months!