Monday, September 14, 2015

There’s a Light at the End of the Tunnel

This summer was terrible for my writing confidence. Sales were awful. One month I didn’t sell any books. NONE! How does that even happen? I got to the point where I would hesitate opening me email when I received a sales statement because I was terrified to see how horrible they were.

I received rejection after rejection for the biography I’m working on. It gave me heartburn to think about sending out more queries. It seemed like an exercise in futility.

I struggled getting answers out of people over the summer. I’m not going to go into details, but I was frustrated and irritated because email was the only way I had to communicate with these individuals, and they weren’t responding.

I wondered for the eight hundred billionth time why I was wasting my time writing. It obviously wasn’t getting me anywhere.

But then, there in the distance, was a beacon of hope; moments that reminded me writing and the publishing world wasn’t always so dark.

I read several blogs and posts from other authors that talked about how dismal their sales were this summer also. Some postulated that the reason for the summer slump was because people were outside enjoying the nice weather and spending time with family rather than sitting inside and reading. I know for a fact that was how most of my summer went. I had very little time for relaxing and reading—although I would squeeze it in whenever I got the chance. I’m sure others did the same, and I couldn’t blame them for wanting to enjoy life.

I released the third book in the Road to Salvation series, Good Intentions, in July, and for a few weeks, it had a low ranking on Amazon. It never made it to the best seller list or the top 100, but it had the highest ranking any of my books have ever had, and that made me incredibly happy—especially if you consider no one was buying books over the summer!

My proposals were accepted for THREE different conferences—two this year and one next year. And I have an outstanding one that I’m still awaiting a response for. In the last two years, I’ve only submitted one other proposal, and it was rejected, so to have the next THREE accepted, that was pretty amazing and incredibly exciting.

I scheduled multiple workshops/presentations later this fall around the state of Wyoming. I honestly can’t tell you how magical it is to get an email or a call from a librarian asking me to come visit their libraries. It gives me warm fuzzies just thinking about it!

And it seems like right when I need it the most, an amazingly wonderful reader will post a review about one of my books. And love it or hate it, they still took the time to read it and comment, and that makes me so very happy.

And that leads to the characters in my head trusting me to write their stories. Whenever my confidence takes a hit, I always think that I’ll never have another story idea—ever! The characters will grow silent and believe the other voices in my head—that I’m a hack and should just give up.

But they don’t. They talk over the naysayers and tell me about their adventures, and I’m compelled to write them down. I’m reminded that writing is fun and that no one can tell these stories but me. It makes me feel special.

When it comes to the rejections, sending out queries was an exercise in futility. I didn’t have to send them out; I already have a publisher that’s interested in the book and said they would publish it for me. For some reason, I thought I needed to shop it around. I thought someone else deserved a chance at publishing it. It didn’t work out. Oh, well.

My point is that there are always ups and downs for an author. There will always be doubt. There will always be irritations and frustrations. Hell, that’s life. But I can’t let them get me down. I can’t let those moments control my decisions. Times may get dark, but there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. There’s always those moments that will lift me back up, and those are what I need to hang onto.

Whenever I think about those things, this song from the Rocky Horror Picture Show comes into my mind and reminds me that everything is going to be all right.

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