Click the picture to find out what those three reasons are. 🙂
The Lesson You Learnt The Hard Way
Now, I’ve written about how hard it is to be a writer before in the past blog post Writing Is Hard… but today I am supposed to talk about a lesson that I learned the hard way.
Writing isn’t actually the hardest part of being a writer. Writing is a challenge. Writing makes you pull out your hair and scream to the sky asking for help from your ancestors to give you strength to continue on… but then you go back to writing because we’re all masochists and love causing ourselves pain…
Writing makes us over think, over analyze and lose sleep over the tiniest of pointless details but that is writing. Writing is hard.
I knew that from years of writing. I learnt that through writing and editing my book but that pain… that suffering doesn’t compare to publishing.
With writing you have control over your project. You know the outcome of the story. You understand your characters, setting, plot…
What you can’t predict is what will happen when you are finished with your work. You think – at least this was what my previous naive self thought – I publish my work online and that’s that. It will take care of itself. People will see my work, love it or hate it and
HA! What a fool I was!
Publishing feels amazing at first because your story is done. What you don’t consider is the work that comes after your book is done. It doesn’t matter if you’re with a publisher or your work is self-published, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
You now have to build your brand, you readership, manage your sales, find places to sell your work, find ways to sell your work… get/register your ISBNs with your country and send your work to your country’s Legal Library (self-publishing legal stuff for a Canadian at least).
Instead of reading about sentence structure and character development you’ve replaced that with Marketing 101 and Guru Publishing Posts. You need to learn to talk to people and talk about your book… which is a nightmare for a introvert. But come hell or high water you do what you can to get your book out there. Not because you want to but because you owe your work the right to be read. You owe your potential readers the right to find your work.
AND when a reader tells you that they love the story or they can’t wait for the next book, you realize it’s all worth it. That those nights staring at the ceiling trying to figure out who you need to email, call, ‘run into’ the next morning was all worth it. That those hours you spent reading blogs on marketing and searching for sites to sell your work wasn’t a waste of time. One by one you’ll grow your readers and the more you write/publish – you hope it’ll get easier. 🙂
That’s the hard lesson I recently learnt… but after all this hard work I’m still wanting to be a writer. As much as it keeps me up at night and forces me to learn about something I was never quite good at (marketing) I still can’t see myself doing anything else. So, if that’s not a sign I’m doing what I love… I don’t know what is. 🙂
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.
Now some people may disagree with me, and that is fine because this is my opinion on the matter of paperbacks versus e-books.
Ten days ago I published an e-book on Kindle, which was a great accomplishment for me. I never published anything before and this was a big project that I put a lot of time and effort into. The issue I had was I didn’t feel like I had completed my long-term goal of publishing. In my mind putting my book on Kindle was just like posting a successful post on my blog. You edit it, upload it, and watch the reports come in regarding your readers.
Although that was a great feeling that people were finally reading my book, it didn’t feel like I had completed the task I set out to do.
Now ten days later I’m holding my paperback and I’m getting the feeling that I finally reached my goals. When I held my paperback in my hands, saw my words on physical paper pages and I couldn’t help the over-follow of emotions running through my mind.
But why did I feel so much happiness and pride when I got my paperback, and not when I published my e-book?
I started thinking about this and all I could come up with is the physical sensation.
When you publish online you don’t have the book in your hands. With e-books it is uploaded to the world, but it isn’t a physical thing. All your book becomes is more zeros and ones in the matrix that is the interwebs. Although this is a great accomplishment you don’t physically feel like you completed anything because you physically have nothing to show for it.
When you are holding your paperback, that is exactly what you are doing. You are holding a piece of work that wouldn’t have existed if you didn’t create it. That book now takes up space on someone’s shelf and has a physical place on our planets surface. Unlike e-books that take up space on your e-reader or other electronic device. You can’t hold zeros and ones… well not really… but you can hold a paper version of your book.
That got me into thinking why do I need a physical version to feel like I’ve completed my goal as an author. Maybe it’s instilled in us that writing in from books and if your book isn’t written on paper it isn’t real.
Most of my life I grew up with paper books. There are still store dedicated to the physical book and shelves filled with physical books in our houses. We’ve read famous authors from paper and learned most of the knowledge we know from paper. So, maybe it is something on a subconscious level that paper/ physical = real. That e-books aren’t real in our minds because we can’t physical hold them and they haven’t been around for long enough to consider them real… that I need to hold my words on paper and see my words in ink for me to feel like I accomplished something.
Does that mean as time goes on and technology is used more than paper books that those more use to e-readers will not need the physical book to feel accomplished? That I don’t have an answer to… but would be interested in finding out the answer one day.
In a way there are probably already people that don’t need the paperback like I do. People who fill like they succeeded in their goals by publishing online and don’t need to feel paper in their hands.
I – apparently – am not one of those people and I’m all right with that. 😛
I’ve written a lot about how I love to write. There is no doubt in my mind that this is what I want to do. I spent the last six months dedicating myself to my craft.There were countless months of editing… and countless more months of editing… I hate editing… yet here I am.
After all that writing, and editing (-.-) I can say that I completed my goal of writing a book. 78000 + words later, my work is published for the world to see; for them to judge and for me to hiding in the corner suffering from overwhelming panic at what others will think. (Anxiety attacks aren’t fun, people!)
Anyways, with all that hard work I know I want to be a writer. It’s in my core. It’s in my heart and blood to share my words with the world even with the massive anxiety it causes me.
I can easily write 78000+ words about characters of my own creation, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to market to the real world.
By market… I mean figure out a way to share what I’ve worked so hard for with the world. I’m introverted… I don’t like unfamiliar human interaction. I would rather sit alone on the couch writing, reading or playing video games than go out with a group of people.
So, my issue I’m now starting to realize is I have no idea how I’m supposed to promote this thing. I’ve written blog posts. I’ve tweeted, bookfaced, and pinterested. Yet… I feel like I could do more.
If any of you have suggestions on what I can do to possibly spread the word, or places that would review my works – any information would be helpful. I want to keep learning from writing this book and the best way to learn it through peers – that means you. So, let me know your suggestions/ideas in the comments below. You know I’ll reply back. XD
Twelve years ago I started on a journey that many take and few complete.
Twelve years ago, I opened a notebook and stared blankly at those lined pages unsure what to do or what to write. After putting my pencil to paper, and listing ideas down a story started to form and a world began to grow from my words. I created characters that made me laugh, cry, get angry… I learned how to write from writing.
When I put my pen to paper I couldn’t stop. The writing bug had bit me and every moment of every day was consumed by escaping into those lined pages. I spent nights writing to the light of my night-light. I was scolded by my teachers for working on my ‘project’ instead of their assignments.
Writing helped me find people who loved the written word as much as I. Writing gave me teachers that pushed me to do my best and taught me where I could improve. Some of the best advice about life I got from those who taught me to write.
And sure… I had my bad moments with writing as well. I had moments I wanted to give up. There were moments I believed I was never going to be good enough… or would ever have anyone read my story. I was convinced my writing was the worst in the world, and that I was a failure in my craft. There was even a moment in my life that the passion I had as a child died… leaving me staring blankly at the pages with long apathetic sighs. The longer I stared at the pages the more I withdrew… the more it became work…
But somehow in some way it returned to me and here I am writing again.
Twelve years of typos, scratched ideas, sleepless nights, and apathetic sighs. Twelve years of cramped hands, broken pens, spilt coffees, and missing notebooks. Years of lost files, computer crashes, and research…
Twelve years and I can say I did it. All that had work and time I spent writing has finally brought me to this part in my journey. This – of course – isn’t the end of my writing… it is only the beginning but at least I can say something that my 12-year-old self always dreamed of saying.
I – Deanna Wiltshire – have finally published a book.
There are two big milestones coming up, which I’m so excited about.
One is I am about to get 400 followers, which is absolutely amazing and I still can’t believe. You are what makes blogging so much fun and I love hearing from all of you about my different posts. XD
Two is in three days I will be releasing book 1 of P6 – Child of the Light. This has been a long 6 month journey of writing that all of you were around to experience with me, which I am so grateful for. I may have written this book, but it was your encouragement and support that pushed me to complete it.
So, with that said I will be posting something for all of you soon to hopefully enjoy to celebrate these two milestones with me. I will be posting another update within the next two hours that hopefully will be well received. 🙂
Talk to you soon,
Classy (Deanna) Canuck