Sometimes when you have written/ published something you need to remind yourself that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Even though you’ve completed your book, published it, and have a readership interested in it you’re not going to sell a million copies overnight. That is an unrealistic goal. You should be happy if your book is selling. You should be happy that people have taken interest in your work but instead you’re overwhelmed – dare I say… apathetic.
With hearing stories, reading blog posts, or articles on people going viral with their writing it’s hard to accept that what you’ve done is good. Actually, before you continue reading this give yourself a pat on the back because you deserve it. You’ve gotten this far and be proud of what you’ve achieved. Not many have gotten to the place you are. Writing isn’t as easy as everyone thinks.
Now let’s continue.
The reason you may be so apathetic to what you’ve done is due to how society perceives achievement. Like in middle school or high school popularity in writing is what we writers view as success. Maze Runner, Game of Thrones, Twilight, Harry Potter, Divergent, and Hunger Games have made wanting to be a writer popular and some part of us wouldn’t mind having our characters become the next Thomas or Katniss.
But, not every piece of writing is going to be popular right away. Some times the best things in the world take time. Shakespeare took a lifetime to become one of the greatest writers of history. Da Vinci took years… heck centuries for his talents to be recognized. Stoner, Kafka, Catch-22 and other now popular books took years to be recognized (more books listed HERE). Even the popular books mentioned in the paragraph above weren’t main stream until later one in their careers – I’m talking about you GoT (Book 1 published 1996).
So, why are you apathetic towards the hard work you’ve done? Why do you perceive the books you’ve sold as a failure?
Firstly, lets look at the word failure. To fail is to not be successful and so in that sense if your goal was to have people read your book and you have a person or people reading your book then you are not a failure. An epic book fail would mean not getting any interest in your book. In all manner of the word your book is not a failure. If your book made 10 sales it wouldn’t be a failure. If your book made 1 sale is wouldn’t be a failure because there is one person in this world reading your book. One person is reading a story that wouldn’t have existed if you hadn’t written it. Therefore as long as you have made more than zero sales your book is not a failure! And hey, if you haven’t gotten anyone reading your book you didn’t fail. You learned something and you take what you’ve learned to make something better or improve upon what you have already made. We all fail at one point but what we choose to do with that failure is what really shows what type of person you are. Take this experience and learn from it – don’t let it destroy your passion or your confidence.
Eventually your book will grow a larger readership – if you continue writing and bringing attention to it. We all have to start somewhere but in the world of social media where we get instant results it’s hard to remind yourself that what you’re doing may take time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Most books aren’t written in an afternoon. Most dreams do take a lifetime. Not everything is instant… not everything happens at once. This is what you’ll have to keep reminding yourself of when you look at your book. That in time its popularity may grow. That its message will be shared.
Honestly, as much as you may like the thought of your book becoming the next best-seller that shouldn’t be the reason and probably isn’t the reason you wrote this book in the first place. This is a story you wanted to share. These are topics, characters, ideas you wanted the world to read about. You should write for you and publish for you – not anyone else.
So, calm down and take a breath. Admire the work that you have done and the beautiful piece of writing you’ve created. You need to remember why you wrote that book and wanted to share it with the world. It’s a story you love and in time there will be like-minded people who will love it too.
But at the moment you have to remember – it takes time.