I mean, I started my day today with my feet up and a cup of tea watching a re-run on Sky Sports of the World Grand Prix Darts tournament that I'd missed last night due to a rather good Philip Glenister drama that had been on BBC1 at the same time. I spent a very pleasant hour or so watching the lovely Paul Nicholson (darts eye candy, read this earlier post of mine - Darts Eye-Candy - It does exist. Believe me - to see why) play Phil Taylor, although the 'pleasant' bit ended when Taylor finally won, thus ending my quota of darts eye candy for this tournament. Anyway, I'm digressing somewhat here, let's get back on track... what I'm trying to say here is that, how many people can start their working day drinking tea and watching darts until 10am? That has to be a perk. Well, in my book it is.
|Paul Nicholson - official darts "eye candy"! And not a bad way to start a morning either...|
So, is being an independent author a tough job, or a pretty cushy one? Neither, really. Like I said, it all depends on how you look at it. You see, I've had a bit of a week. Oh yes. One hell of a week! And it's all my doing, nobody elses. Because I have a habit of overthinking everything, to the point where, on Tuesday, I had a bit of meltdown. Ok, maybe 'meltdown' is an exaggeration, but I'm a luvvie, remember. Trained in the Performing Arts, so the drama queen in me likes to come out and play now and again.
And why was I having this mini-crisis? I looked at my sales figures, that's why. And usually it doesn't bother me whether I'm selling bucket-loads (I wish!) or none at all (those days are more common!) but this week, it did bother me. I don't know why, I have no idea what made me suddenly decide to throw my toys out of the pram and go all Krystle Carrington in 'Dynasty' (over acting, for those of you young enough to have no idea what the acting in Dynasty was like!) but just after breakfast on Tuesday I was ready to give it all up and take up knitting as a hobby because I just felt despondent.
Until I went onto a page on Facebook called Indie Writers Unite. They gave me the virtual kick up the backside I needed to stand in the corner, have a word with myself, and remember why I'm doing all of this in the first place - because I love to write. That's the reason. I'm not saying I wouldn't love to sell bucket-loads of books, I'd be lying if I said I didn't. Who doesn't want their books to sell? But getting hung up on sales can be really detrimental, in my opinion.
You read about others writer's and how their books are selling good amounts every day, and you begin fretting that you aren't managing to do that yet, and that's what happened to me this week. I got too hung up, too obsessed with sales and, for a day or so, totally forgot my focus, my real reason for becoming a writer in the first place. And after a day of chatting to other indie authors on Facebook I realised that I wasn't alone in having bad days, everyone has them! But with a few words of encouragement and a little bit of support, I rediscovered my focus, put the obsession with sales to the back of my mind, and got back to what I'm here to do - write!
You see, if you come into the business of writing - especially as an independent author - with a view to making loads of money, you're living in cloud cuckoo land. It ain't ever going to happen, not unless you're that one in a million that's managed to make a good living out of it. And they're not exactly thick on the ground! If you rely on writing as a source of income, then you're going to put so much stress on yourself that it'll become something you dread doing rather than something you love. I'm lucky, I don't have to rely on my writing to bring in an income, I can just sit back and write, get my books out there, and anything that I make out of them is nothing more than a bonus to me because, now I've put the drama queen back in her box and my toys back in the pram, I know that if I can sell even just a few books to people who actually enjoy reading them, then that's my dream achieved. All I ever wanted was for my books to be read, and my stories to be enjoyed, be that by 50 people or 5,000.
Every kind word I get with regard to my books, every great review, every time someone says they can't wait for my next novel, that makes me so happy, and I need to remember that feeling - all of us indie authors do - we need to remember that feeling, because that's what pushes us forward, that's what makes us want to write, knowing that people enjoy what we put out there.
So, yes, in terms of the marketing we have to do and the promoting we have to spend time doing - not to mention that fine line we indie authors walk between letting people know about our books and ramming them down their throats, that can be hard. It's not easy to get used to, and it's a learning curve I shall forever be on.
However, in terms of being able to get up every day, sit down at my desk and create a new and wonderful world within the pages of a book, that's not very hard at all. That's what I love doing, that's what makes me happy. And if my work can make just one other person happy too then, surely, I've done my job to the very best of my ability. Haven't I?