You may have seen my post on Love Exactly a few weeks ago, where I disclosed that I will no longer be pursuing the series, Sticks and Stones that was proposed after the novel was originally published. There hasn’t been much feedback on the subject, but the novel continues to sell, so I guess that means that there was no negative reaction to the announcement. This year has been a rough road in publishing for me. To be honest with you, I have sat around doubting myself for most of the year–wondering exactly why I spend so much of my life involved in a world that seems to have rejected me. My entire life I’ve wanted this dream–to be published–but I never imagined it would be this hard. I found my eighth grade yearbook, and my goals where “To be published and known for my writing. To be successful and purse a career in equine affairs.” Some things haven’t changed–I still want to be known for my writing. I actually am successful–in a job I never ever considered being a career, but somehow it ended up being one–and I am very good at my job. I didn’t purse a career in equine affairs, and I haven’t ridden a horse in seven years (yes, I’m counting, because I want to ride again–badly. It’s just expensive, and a luxury to have lessons or drive to MA to ride). I made some bad decisions this year, where I put my writing first, and my college second. I was supposed to graduate by the end of the year, but when I started writing Flawed Perfection, I was still lost in the haze of success that Love Exactly created. So I put aside my college, and wrote, and edited, and promoted more than I ever had, and the results were devastating to me–to my college education–to my self-esteem, and to my writing career. Since then I’ve felt lost. I feel as if I’m pursuing something that will go absolutely no where, and my husband warned me when I entered that fatal level of determination that I would ruin it for myself–that I would end up hating writing like he hated music. Writing has been my passion since only God knows when. It’s been an established part of me that I’m proud of. I do technical writing every day at my job– I write procedures, proposals, analysis’ and manuals, and I love my day job. Coming home and working more has done exactly what my husband warned me it would, it killed my passion. The fog of success Love Exactly created made me want more of that, but now I realize, there was no magical recipe that made that novel successful, and I will write novels that sell like duds. I put my heart and soul into Flawed Perfection, but once it flopped, I had trouble sitting down and writing more of the series. I know exactly where it goes, but I don’t feel like I’m going there with the novel anymore. So I stopped, and edited In Between Seasons and re-released it. The re-release resulted in a lot of stress–of fighting with Amazon and Goodreads over reviews that shouldn’t have been posted on the brand new release. Then to top it off…that flopped even worse than Flawed Perfection. I have to say, a part of me wasn’t surprised, but I was sincerely disappointed. The novel is the way it should have been in the first place. Its cover is gorgeous, just like I believe it’s insides are. It should be selling, but it’s not…and I’m sitting and watching other authors who have done less advertising and marketing selling more. The key difference, they are enrolled in KDP select, so I gave in and enrolled both In Between Seasons and Walking in the Shadows in the program. Both novels barely sold any copies on any other platforms, so I figured it was worth a shot. Honestly, it didn’t really do anything to help. I ran a free promo for Walking in the Shadows, which seems to have helped sales, and I plan to do one for In Between Seasons (especially now that the review issue has been resolved). We will see if it helps. As I sit back and look at this year, I realize that I set expectations that were too high, and that by doing that, I ruined my passion for writing. Writing is a lifetime plan, it’s not something that happens overnight, despite what Stephanie Meyer, Abbi Glines, Tammara Weber, and Coleen Hoover give us hope of. The second I started looking at other writer’s successes, I lowered myself because everything in life is a competition to me. I feel like an epic failure right now. It took a few margaritas with my best friend for me to realize that I am extremely successful for someone my age, and I need to start making the write (right) decisions for myself, and that started with not pursuing Love Exactly as a series. I don’t know if I’m a serial writer–I’ve yet to actually complete a series, but I’ll start with the Beautifully Flawed series. Series are supposed to sell well–this one hasn’t, but I didn’t start this to sell novels. I started this because I write no matter if any one is reading it or not, so I might as well share it with the world. This life, the life of a writer, is hard–especially when you work 50 hours a week at a job you love, are trying to complete college, run a start-up photography business, and well, would like to have a life outside of working your butt off. The last thing I wanted to say to someone who wanted to be a writer was, just don’t expect it to pay the bills. The thing is, I have said that, because it’s the truth. I’m a published author. It doesn’t pay my bills, but the statement should have been, why do you write? Is it because you love it? Then keep doing it for that reason, NOT because it’s going to pay the bills. So I’m going to make some write (right) decisions for me:
- I’m not setting deadlines anymore– they kill me.
- Yes, Show n’ot Tell Publishing is MY publishing firm. Yes, I am publishing other authors on it–but I’m not accepting submissions. We are opening our first imprint – Hide N Seek in November, starting with Carley Lobacz’s Finding Freckles series.
- I will release covers only once a publication date has been set, and this will be two weeks prior to release. Tours will be promo and reviews only.
- I’m going to use stock photography for my covers.
- I’m closing my book marketing company, Gio Design Studios Marketing, until further notice. If you like our cover designs, still feel free to contact me. I will not be using my photography, but will use stock photography.
- I plan on beefing up my photography company as soon as I graduate from college–because I really do love doing engagement, newborn and maternity shots–and I’m good at it.
- I will not put my writing in front of my college any more. Balance is key here, and I need to graduate.
- I’m going to write what I want, when I want. That means things might get published in an odd order…like Rebel Cause, which I started last week might be published before the next Beautifully Flawed novel.
- I’m going to try to work on one thing at a time and complete it. Being all over the place isn’t helpful–once I get the Beautifully Flawed series done, I am going to try my best to abide by this.
- I will probably enroll more books in KDP–but only when they aren’t selling elsewhere. I still don’t support Amazon’s monopolization of the publishing industry, and this is a last resort.
- Spend less money on publishing, because now I realize that money probably wasn’t well spent (I spent very little money on Love Exactly and it sold like hot cakes. I can’t say the same for Flawed Perfection)
- Only buy the amount of paperbacks pre-ordered. If you’d like a book plate, I send those for free 🙂
- Get back into writing a post at least once a month that is valuable to the publishing community.
- Teasers will be posted on my Facebook at pretty much whenever the feeling strikes, and will not be published on my blog. My newsletter will continue to be the place to see exclusive teasers, giveaways and promotions of other authors
I should cut to the chase, though, the reason I’m saying this is because balance is something every author needs. When there is a lack of balance, and it all becomes about trying to make a career and some sum of money, the passion may be lost. The only person you should be competing against is yourself–looking at other author’s sales, reading advice on how to sell so many books in a short period of time will make you want to barf (because, you guessed it, it doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you) and write because you love it. Make it so every book you write is better and better, even if no one is reading it BECAUSE you would still be writing it anyways–wouldn’t you? Make the write (right) decisions for you as an author. You have the ability to do that, because no matter how out of your control your writing career feels, you have the ability to control how you feel about your writing career. It’s that simple.
Writing will set you free– if you let it.
It can also trap you.
Don’t let it.
Write because you love it.
Because you would still do it if no one read it.
And be happy when someone does.
Be who you want to be.