One of the things I struggle with the most is also one of the most common questions people ask when I tell them I'm a self-published author: "How are your sales?" I instantly become Mrs. White from that infamous scene in Clue:
It began to make me think that my work would only be legitimate to other people if I could say "Oh, it's in the top whatever, on Amazon", or "I made enough money on my books last week to pay one of my bills", or something similar. I started thinking I needed to market better. Then I had to job hunt, and took a position that at first seemed ideal for an author. Unfortunately, all it turned out to be was demoralizing and draining, and on top of that - as you may recall - a number of stressful and unfortunate things happened over the course of late 2017 and the first half of 2018. Then the summer of 2018 became another struggle similar to the last job hunt. I found a position which is supporting me rather well, though it has its flaws, and I find myself once again thinking about What I Really Want. Which brings me back to Amanda Palmer.
As a "We Survived" sort of thank-you present to my wife and two close friends, I bought us tickets to Amanda's upcoming There Will Be No Intermission tour. One of these friends is only passingly familiar with her music, so I curated a YouTube playlist for her. When I did, I found myself listening to one particular song over and over, because of how much it resonates with me:
Don't get me wrong: this isn't me making an excuse to not try as hard, or to work as hard. I still intend to work at consistently improving my writing, at getting this self-marketing thing down, at building a decent Etsy store for Hazel's Moving Cottage, and whatever else may come along with all of that. But I'm reminding myself that I don't have to be that super-woman who holds a 40-hour job (with frequent overtime), helps keep an apartment in shape, spends quality time with her wife and friends, still has hobbies, AND somehow manages to crank out a novel a year and market it with panache, precision, and a constant stream of brilliant and witty social media across multiple platforms.
Maybe every other year. Maybe I'll become the next George R. R. Martin - no, who am I kidding, I wouldn't be able to stand waiting that long between books, myself. I don't know when Adjustments is going to be ready. All I know is, I'm still working on it as often as I can, along with a lot of other things, and I will always let you know where I'm at. You'll have plenty of advance notice. And I'm going to fill this blog with lots of other fun stuff in the meantime - like more What A Character entries, and things about the background of the books, the places, and other neat things - so that you have plenty of reasons to stick around.
In short, the next time someone asks me how well my books are selling, I'll respond, "You know, I haven't looked at my metrics in a while. I'm just happy that they're out there." And that'll be the truth. Because that's the kind of author I want to be.
What kind of You do you want to be? Is it the same answer now as it would have been a few years ago? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Drop me a comment below.
Until next week, I remain your hostess,