With the new year approaching, I decided I should get all negative feelings out of my mind and heart. I love new beginnings, whether it is starting a new project or a new school year when I was younger, it always motivated me and made me passionate. I guess I like change, but only sometimes, like, when changes are being sought after and beginnings being looked forward to as another chance at getting it right.
Some days, I think writing is a colossal waste of time. The way we tell that or come to that conclusion is that we are not selling any books. I guess I have not reached even a little bit of success when you count the few books I have sold since I became an author.
My first book was written in response to a need. We were training foster parents and I needed something in written form to help answer the thousands of questions we received. I wrote a non- fiction called It Begins and Ends with Family. It did not sell well, but I did give hundreds of books away. People said it was a limited market book, so I advertised it as parenting and sold a couple more. Still not setting the world on fire.
I decided to write about my passion, what really mattered to me, so Ultimate Betrayal was created. It focused on the problem of child sexual abuse and was told as a dystopia tale in the beginning of end times. I truly believed a fiction book would get a more emotional response from people and would sell much better than a non-fiction. Wrong again-since I was told many could not read such a heart- breaking tale. It disgusted many and even though I strived to make it less sensational and vulgar, people shied away from it.
However, the six people or so who read it wanted a sequel which I obliged. It was called Ultimate Obliteration and that was even less popular. Understand, the people who read my stuff usually give it 5 stars. But, there have been so few.
All this time, I was still writing short articles for many places and decided to put a collection of them into a book. A Collection of Jo Ann’s Thoughts was born and has also had little success.
I tried taking a good look at my writing, I never thought it was wonderful or grand or should be number one on anyone’s list, I thought it just may be interesting to many readers. After all, writing to me is not about making money or I would have left long ago. It is not even about the writing if I’m truthful, it is only about being read.
I thought okay, I must write something that will be happy, enjoyable and less objectional. I decided on a children’s book. This book is for little ones being read to or beginning readers just learning. I found a great illustrator and we whipped out Spitzel and the Spider. People read it and raved. Said it should fly off the shelves, but did it? You guessed it. No!!!
I realize writers and authors are much like gamblers. We put everything we have in it and place our bet that we will win. You would think my casino visits would have forewarned me, but being a dreamer carries over to all phases of your life. So, I placed the bet. As I said up front, I must get rid of these negative feelings before starting the new year or I may not feel encouraged enough to start again.
Seriously, where else can you do so much work to get so little return. We cultivate people ‘s friendship with the hope they may be readers. We post and post on book clubs to garner a few likes and feel eternally grateful when anyone shares our links. We hunt for reviews like half- starved wolves or even closer to Zombies. We do all that and then after viewing stats that would make most people suicidal, try to gather enough energy and interest to write something again. We really are a special kind of breed. I know many famous authors were rejected numerous times, but that knowledge is not enough.
So, I will plan a few more days of post- holiday season laziness and then with all the passion I can muster, I will write again. And yes, call me an author too. If you feel as I do, remember it is a new year. It is another chance to be discovered. Another possibility that we will gain readers. So, limber up your body. Meditate to a calm point and clear your mind. With a pot of hot tea and low-cal snacks (it is after Christmas after all) begin that novel or finish that project. Shake hands with some great characters you created and dive right in. It is said insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. So, what does that say about us? The only thing I can see is we must think quite differently about marketing and try something new. After all, “What do we have to lose?”