Pop goes my heart.
Yesterday, I did a Twitter poll asking if I should be honest in this blog–showing my highs with my lows–or if I should keep things positive. Here are the results so far…
I didn’t get a ton of replies, but it seems that I should share everything and that’s what I feel is best. I want to show my entire journey with you. The good and the bad. I know there are others out there trying to reach their goals and dreams and I don’t think it would be fair if I put on a show and presented myself winning and never failing. I fail a lot, and I’m going to keep on doing it. I’ll feel down and low, and I’m going to want to quit. But it’s helps to hear that I’m not alone and I’m sure it will help others to know they aren’t alone either.
As some of you know, I spent a few months preparing for the book launch of Aster The Spirit Talker. It was a tough time for me. I find my joy in writing stories but not so much in round after round of editing, hiring an editor, hiring a cover artist, formatting, advertising, marketing, and trying to build my book launch team.
Sometimes I feel like I should go back to doing what I’d done for years and write only for the people in my close circle. I frequently question why I decided it mattered to share my stories with a larger audience. Was the right choice? I’m doubting it because I feel like my heart is getting battered and will soon be nothing but a pile of unrepairable dust.
I care about writing and telling stories. I absolutely love it. When I write a story, and I see someone reading (or they tell me about it later) and they laugh or cry, the feeling I get from them connecting with my words is…indescribable, but I’ll try. I’m not an adrenaline junkie. Rollercoasters scare the crap out of me, and the thought of sky diving makes me sick to my stomach and wanting to hide under my bed. But seeing someone connect with my work gives me a rush, the kind I imagine those jumping out of planes seek. I’ve been feeling, however, that I just thudded face first into the ground, and all the way down I was fully expecting my parachute to open. Boom. Thud. But I lived through it. Crushed. Face smashed in the dirt, broken, and wondering why I just did that.
I had 60 people sign up for my book launch team, and only 12 posted reviews on launch day. I know a few people had issues with Amazon not letting them post reviews, but they did try, and they posted reviews or ratings on Goodreads instead, and I greatly appreciated that.
So 14 out of 60 followed through.
I’d been warned not to expect much, and I learned from previous experience not to count on people, but it still hurt. I did so much more preparation than just asking people to leave a review if they read it after purchasing it. (Which previously yielded 17 reviews) I gave out free review copies, set up a drawing to win prizes, made the ebook available for free download on Amazon for 3 days, and sent out reminders. Did it do any good? Did it help me find new readers? Was it worth it? I’m not sure it was worth the effort at all. I appreciate the people who did help me so much, but I suspect that those wonderful people would have done it anyway. I probably won’t bother building a book launch team for my next book, A Night Game, which releases in October.
It feels like such a kick to the gut. Why do people say they will do things if they won’t. I can accept a simple no but why take the free book and say you’ll do it when you have no intention of following through? Why don’t I value myself and my work and if I don’t, why should I expect others to?
One time when I was living in Okinawa, this old man was begging for money. I felt bad and gave him some. He didn’t thank me, he just rudely insisted I give him more. It made me feel stupid and like dirt. Why should I care if someone is in need? I wish I could be predator for once and not prey.
And why do I have problems accepting money for my work or expecting people pay for it? Don’t I value myself or what I do? I feel horrible accepting money. I always feel like I need to give and not receive.
I’ve always wished I could change who I am. When I was little, I’d cry at movies and my sister would laugh at me. I still cry, and I still try to hide my tears before anyone notices. I’m still embarrassed of showing anyone too much of me. I hide who I am. I’ve only let a handful of people inside because they have to much access to cause real harm the closer they are.
See, Nora gets it…
I keep reading that to be in this business, you need to develop a thick skin, but I just don’t think that’s something I can do. I think that to be in this business, you need to be a business person who can formulaically write a book, regardless if there’s any art or heart involved. I don’t want to write something I’m not proud of. I don’t want to write whatever is being pushed on readers at the moment. And I feel everything so intensely that I can’t imagine enough time, rejection, or pretending that I don’t care will ever make me not care.
I had a close friend who seemed to support my journey, but he was never willing to read anything I wrote. There was always some excuse like, “I’m a slow reader,” but I know that I just didn’t matter enough. If I didn’t matter to one of the people who I let inside, why should I ever expect to matter to strangers? People want to read what’s on the NYT bestseller list, not read some unheard of writer that doesn’t have celebrity appeal. Kim Kardashian could put out a diary of her butt implants, and I bet she wouldn’t have to beg for reviews and give her book away for free.
I should give up. I’m at the point where I’m giving myself a “you should give up” pep talk every day, trying to get the courage to do it. But I can’t bring myself to quit. I guess one good thing about me is that although I get my heart broken regularly, I’m also stubborn as hell and I’m not sure I can live without storytelling–even if it’s only to myself.
Should it really matter how small the circle that gathers round to hear my story it is? Maybe that’s the real lesson I need to learn and what I need to focus on.
This was long and rambling and if you stuck with me through to the end, thank you. If you’re working towards your dreams and feeling like you’re destined to join me in Losertown…Welcome. We’ll make the best of things.