Thursday, July 24, 2014

Why Not Me?

Maybe it's summer, or maybe it's that everyone I know is getting tired of the wait.  What are they waiting for? Success of course. Waiting for their book to take off and make them thousands of dollars every month. After all, they can name at least 20 authors who are doing just that. Oh, and of course their book is soooooo much better than [famous author here]. The refrain from these crabby writers is "Why not me? I work just as hard (or harder). Why not me?"

I understand. Really, I do.  I've been there too with EVERY book.  Doesn't matter whether it was traditionally published or self-published, the wave action is similar. High expectations, huge disappointment. A small surge followed by a long lull. Money thrown about based on a hundred plus ideas from marketing gurus. Nothing seems to work--good reviews, advertising, social media pushes and boosts, handselling. It's hard not to fall into the whine of "Why not me?"

For me, the only thing that works consistently is putting out a new book. With each new book sales increase a little, the baseline becomes higher. So far, not thousands higher, more like 50 higher or a couple hundred higher. The only thing that improves my success is writing the next book, getting good covers, getting editing, putting it out to the world, announcing it--maybe a little push to get some reviews, and then writing the next book and repeating that again and again.

Today I saw the article by Nick Thacker, The Wake Up Call: What it means to be a self-published writer, that I think hit the nail on the head. Actually I think it is true for a traditional career or a self-publishing career. I wish I had been able to write those words back in emails for the past month as a bevy of writers have asked the "Why not me?" question. Now I can just send everyone to Nick's post. I like the tone--straightforward with no apologies.

If you get to the end of the article and have laughed a bit in recognizing yourself then it did its job.

If you get to the end and you want to strangle Nick, then you definitely need a reality check. If you really can't handle it, that's okay. Your fantasy world of muses that mysteriously visit and the writing gods randomly choosing a "lucky one" will still exist. Who knows maybe I just don't have enough faith in them.

Big Sigh. Trudge back to the computer. Superglue butt to chair. Return to writing the next book, paying my cover designer for something wonderful, paying an editor to tell me where I went wrong, revising, proofing, formatting, uploading, announcing availability, giving a few away to generate reviews. Then as Johnny B. Truant says Write, Publish, Repeat.

The only way I know for sure I will never be a writer who can make a decent living selling my books is if I don't keep plugging away.

click...type, type,,type, type, type, type...

1 comment:

  1. Maggie,

    Great post! So true, too.

    When I'm discouraged by the seemingly boundless success of a book I didn't like, I remind myself of the blogger who said 'Every successful book has SOMETHING that lifts it above other works--some energy, spark, ability to make readers feel something they want to feel. It may be badly written, poorly edited, etc ... but it has that magic.'

    And that's what I strive for with each book. I'll never be a perfect writer, nor a great one, and in some peoples' opinion probably not even a good one. But if I can capture that magic, just a little bit of it, I can keep readers coming back for more.

    And then I can keep doing my favorite thing!