I haven’t posted about something personal in a while, but I’ve been thinking about it. I’m just not sure how to talk about this. How to talk about how it feels to put all your hopes and dreams and needs and wants into your little book baby and have them come back to you with nothing but an empty echo.
For a mid-list author, which I’m not even sure I can call myself, this is sometimes how a new book release can feel.
You think, this book is the one. The one that will make people see how awesome I am. That will make me a “name”. Well, you hope it anyway and when it’s not, what are you left with?
That’s what I’m struggling with right now. When a book gets great reviews, great blurbs, has a great cover and concept, but hasn’t reached your expectations, who is to blame?
Here’s what I’m left with: A niggling worm at the base of my skull that is trying to tell me that maybe this isn’t what I’m supposed to be doing. A cloud over everything that seeps in and says maybe I’m good, but not great. A cackling voice that repeats that maybe whatever faith my agent, editor and publisher have in me is misguided.
This all just makes me wonder if I will never reach the expectations I have for myself.
See, releasing a new book feels a hell of a lot like watching a baby bird take it’s first flight. Everything hinges on whether it soars, or falls to the ground in a heap because it wasn’t strong enough to fly. It can wobble in the air for a while and you can fool yourself into thinking yes, maybe this one will fly, but two months after a book has been out you can’t fool yourself anymore. Even if it’s still in the air, it isn’t going anywhere.
None of what I’m sharing should make anyone think I’m ungrateful for what I’ve achieved thus far. I know how hard it is to even have one person like your book, let alone enough people to publish it, but there is a truth that a lot of authors don’t talk about.
How do you keep writing when your career doesn’t necessarily feel like one?
They tell you not to worry about the business side. That you should focus only on what you can control– the work– but when you have a few books under your belt and you aren’t much further than where you were when the first one came out, it gives you pause.
I feel paused.
I wish I had some answers because I know that some of you reading this are looking for them, but I don’t. All I have is that little light inside me struggling hard against the negativity and darkness that still believes I can do this.
I hope it never goes out.