I’ve been wanting to write this post for some time. Not to air my dirty laundry, but because I’m a believer in the philosophy “in with the good, out with the bad.” Although I consider myself a positive person, I feel it’s important to acknowledge the bad stuff, get it out there, and move on. So this is me, getting it out there in the hopes of leaving it behind.
2015 was a disappointment for me, in terms of writing success and parts of my personal life. There. I’ve acknowledged it.
Surprised? After all, I had four releases in 2015. Count ’em. Four novels.
It was also a year in which my sales dropped considerably. When I do the math, it’s not encouraging. Of those four books, I was convinced three of them would have done well. These were books that spoke to my heart, perhaps more than others have done. They meant something to me.
As we enter a new year, I haven’t felt all that positive. Because we had a death in the family last year, I found it hard to write new stories and the ones I came up with did not speak to me. I floundered for a while. I cut myself some slack under the circumstances. Who could write under duress anyway? Not me, it seems.
I’ve been tickled to see some of my writer pals achieve some sort of bestseller status in recent months. Truly, how awesome is that? As much as I’ve been thrilled for them, the practical person in my head asks, “If this doesn’t happen for you, what’s next? Do you keep writing?”
It’s disappointing to check out my royalties and see a sale here, a sale there. Don’t get me wrong. I thank God and my readers for every one of those sales. I know money is tight, for everyone. I’m humbled knowing my faithful readers care enough about my work to spend money on it.
But authors, successful ones, need lots of sales, right? How do we write without them?
And yet, in a year in which my backlist increased by leaps and bounds, in a year in which my social networks grew, in a year in which I released my first print book ever, my sales dropped.
I won’t lie. It stings.
And now I find myself on another Monday morning, a writing day, in my robe and slippers. My coffee is at hand. My laptop is fired up before me. Do I continue writing or do I find something else to do?
I’ve decided to keep writing. Why? Well, I never got into this business to become a bestseller. I’m honored to be published. Sure, if massive sales come, I won’t turn them away but I can’t make them the focus of my endeavors.
I need to throw aside my bruised ego and remember it’s about the stories. I need to trust that it’s all unfolding as it should. There are lessons to be learned here, chief among those being humility and grace. Those four releases from last year? I’m extremely proud of them. I know people will find them eventually and I know I have other great books inside me, just waiting to find a home on your bookshelves.
It’s time to put out the bad and trust in myself once again. It’s time to regroup and get back to business.
Good books don’t write themselves.