At my library’s Local Authors Night last night, someone asked what my next book would be about. “One and done,” I replied. When I tell people there will be no next book, I don’t mean to sound churlish. Am I not grateful for the wonderful comments and kind emails I’ve been getting from readers all over the place? I am. Isn’t it wonderful to see my book in Barnes & Noble and on library shelves? It is. Aren’t I glad I pushed through the experience of writing the book, even though I had two part time jobs at the time and a four year old daughter? Oh yes. But being an author isn’t what I envisioned when I was just a voracious reader, just last year.
Even with the wonderful publisher I have, and the talented marketers I work with, spreading the word about Life After Law has largely been my responsibility. Writing this blog, writing guest posts for other blogs, helping reporters appreciate the huge range of non-legal careers ex-lawyers can succeed in, and speaking all over the place has been my privilege. But, to be honest, it isn’t always a pleasure. I’m half-way between Introvert and Extrovert on every Myers-Briggs test I’ve taken. And successful authoring requires a good deal of self-promotion, which rubs me the wrong way in terms of my nature and my acculturation. I know I “should” Lean In, and Take the Lead, and speak up for my work. This isn’t a new lesson; I realized half way through my Big Law career that this is not a meritocratic world, and that women especially should speak up for themselves – carefully – to get the credit they deserve. I can self-promote in some circumstances, but not on a sustained basis. Even now, 20 years into my professional life, I find it easier to advocate for someone else than for myself.
The whole point of writing Life After Law was to encourage people to find work they love, work that fits their talents and interests, and to dare to leave behind the safe misery that so many people – lawyers especially – experience in their careers. As I tried my best to follow the great advice I’ve been given about book promotion, I realized that I was ignoring my own advice about joy at work. While I love my new full time teaching job, my part-time self-promotion job is much harder because it goes against my nature. Now that I realize how integral this post-writing part of the process is, and how uncomfortable it is for me, I can think more critically about whether to do it again.
Readers, have you thought about writing a book? Have you done it? Was it what you expected? Please let us know below.