Yesterday was a day of revelations. A day when I found myself questioning how I had become emotionally removed from my characters and at a loss to find any enjoyment in the process of writing. I have a friend, a published author who for some reason remains my friend and mentor despite being the recipient of my numerous phone calls to vent frustration. What came as a revelation to me was that my experience is not exclusive. In fact it appears to be quite common.
The books we write are all-consuming. But eventually the story is told and the “publish” button is pushed. A simple scan of the forums will confirm that for many this is the moment of self-doubt. The moment when the quality of our work is questioned and it becomes a reality that writing does not in any way guarantee one sale. Your creation languishes in a slightly sheltered harbour reserved for new releases. A few months later it is set free in to a deep blue ocean occupied by millions of books fighting for recognition.
Why isn’t my book selling? The question is echoed in the forums. A wealth of knowledge is offered and covers, descriptions, punctuation and pricing are adjusted. I have no doubt that this is the moment that many faint hearted and disillusioned authors turn away from the harsh reality of the crowded self publishing platform. Other’s including myself begin to explore the foreign world of promotion.
I return to my telephone call to my nameless friend and mentor. I have found myself immersed in my efforts to gain traction. To make The Quilt, Unravelled more visible while another book sits neglected on my computer. I have detached myself from the next story and the new characters and committed my limited time to writing interviews and reading the work of other authors, who like me are scrambling to swim in an ocean full of larger fish.
“Why isn’t my book selling?” The final piece of advice given by my patient friend is echoed in the forums. Your creation will sink or it will swim. Write another book. It is easy to get side tracked. To become immersed in talking rather than doing, and this is the pot holed road I find myself walking today. I opened my computer to find The Quilt, Unravelled is appearing in another cover wars this month. I closed my computer and watched the foals playing in the warm New Zealand sunshine. It is time to get back to writing. To stop pondering how I can turn the votes I received in to people reading my book. It is time for me to explore the life and times of Shona McGuire. But more about her soon.