Friday, February 7, 2014

Press Releases and the Art of Beginning

So a debut novel is a lot of work. Yes, yes, I know that you know this. But as I struggle to do everything that I am "supposed to do"--I find that more and more items need to be done and as the list grows, I find myself more and more frustrated with the limitations of being a beginner. For example, I created this press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                        CONTACT: Kory M. Shrum


Local author and poet Kory M. Shrum of East Lansing, MI, will debut her urban fantasy novel Dying for a Living on March 4, 2014.
Shrum, a writing instructor for Lansing Community College and Davenport University has been working with her agent Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown, LTD. and other professionals to bring this book to completion after four long years.
Set in Nashville, TN the protagonist Jesse Sullivan dies for a living, literally. Serving as a death replacement agent, she can die so others don’t have to. Although each death is different, the result is the same: a life is saved, and Jesse resurrects days later with sore muscles, new scars, and another hole in her memory. But when Jesse is murdered and becomes the sole suspect in a federal investigation, more than her freedom and sanity are at stake. She must catch the killer herself—or die trying.

The novel has received positive pre-release praise, garnering a 4.83 out of 5 stars on the book-lovers site, Goodreads. Most reviewers comment on Dying for a Living’s examination of religious intolerance, discrimination, and the political power struggles caused by the darkest of human motivations—all through the eyes of a humorous and quirky protagonist.
Kory M. Shrum lives in Michigan with her partner and a ferocious guard pug. When not writing, she can be found teaching, traveling, and wearing a gi. Her poetry has appeared in North American Review, Bateau and elsewhere. Dying for a Living is her first fantasy novel. Read more at:

To book the author for appearances, interviews, or signings, please contact the author at:

First of all, it took me a long time to draft this. I had to read a lot of examples and peruse a lot of useless and confusing sites. Worse, now that it is done, I have no idea what to do with it. So naturally I'm questioning (like usual) my ability to manage my resources (time, money, etc.) properly.  But now that I've taken a step back, ingested a great deal of sugar and caffeine, I've had a sort of epiphany.

This sugar-caffeine induced epiphany helped me to realize the importance of embracing the learning curve. Of course, I can give you many examples of when I failed to do this (when I was learning to ski, when learning French, when learning anything really)--the impulse (at least for me) is to get really angry. I don't like the vulnerability of beginnings. I don't like the embarrassment that accompanies mistakes. I have never experienced this magical b*&^sh*t called beginner's luck. 

As most of you know I'm in Italy right now. Every day I walk from the apartment I rent into the city. On the first day, I got lost and it took me 40 minutes to reach the city center. On the second day, it took me only 30. One the third, I found a tiny side street on the map that looked far more "direct" than the path I'd been taking on larger roads and I arrived in a brisk 18 minutes in front of the  Duomo's white-and-green marble facade--

--which is to say, this will get easier with practice. If I can just keep in mind that this is my first book, then perhaps I can be more patient with the learning process. And I think this is true for putting out your first book as well as any number of "firsts".

And I can imagine that there will never come a time when I feel that I've learned all there is to know, which is a good thing (or so the caffeine tells me). And because life is full of them, it is better to get comfortable here in the role of beginner than to always be mad about the uncertainty and scariness of such a position. If I can just focus on all the fun and limitless possibility that a beginning offers--I might improve the quality of my life by 1000000%

At least I feel this way now, as I eat my 10th biscotti of the day. Perhaps I will feel differently in a couple of hours, when the Earl Grey is gone and I am still looking at this press release thinking my forehead looks huge in this picture and why was I having such a crappy hair day on the ONE day that I just needed to take an author photo...and what the hell am I supposed to do with this anyway-- I could have watched half a season of Supernatural in the time it took me to make this... and... so on and so forth.

And if that happens? Well, maybe I'll just begin another round of tea and biscotti. ;) How does that sound?


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