Ever since my post yesterday regarding rethinking my goals as a writer, I’ve felt a huge burden come off my shoulders. Part of the marketing aspect is a lot like a rat race, and it’s sad when I see a few authors who are willing to step on another author just to get to the top. Most authors don’t do this, but a couple do, and I’ve been the recipient on a couple of occassions. I don’t do well with competition because I like to sit back and cheer others on. Marketing, in a lot of ways, forces the author to cheer themselves on, and this feels unnatural to me.
It’s not that I’m not happy with my work or that I don’t believe in it. I do love writing what I do, and I believe it has value. But hopping from one guest blog to another, doing interviews, joining this or that network, etc are all time-consuming tasks that drags me away from God and my family (which should be my first priority). I wear other hats, and if I’m not marketing and worrying about selling my books, I have more time to spend in other areas. I honestly had no idea marketing was so intense when I started. So for the authors who make it ‘to the top’ (however the ‘top’ is defined), they’ve put in that time and effort and deserve it.
I think, for me, I’m not going to stress it anymore. I might place a few ads. Will they work? I’ve heard good and bad, but it’s something I can pay for and then walk away, and if it doesn’t prove fruitful, I just won’t do it again. At least an ad takes me all of a minute to place vs. hours doing the guerilla marketing.
I guess what every author has to think about, sooner or later, is how much they are willing to give up to meet their version of success. For me, I’ve already been a success because I’m writing stories that I feel honor God. That’s what my main goal was, and I don’t have to go out and kill myself marketing to attain it. I told Him in the beginning that I would write it and let Him deal with finding the right people. Sure, some of the wrong ones found my work, but that’s bound to happen.
And when I say ‘wrong ones’, I mean that my books are not a good fit for everyone. They are in a niche. I don’t believe my work appeals to the general public, but then, they were never intended to. They were to appeal to women like myself. I wrote the books I did because I couldn’t find any like them anywhere.
So I said, ‘Well, if I want to read it so badly, then I better get to writing it.’ And that’s how it all began. I didn’t start writing because I had this crazy urge to tell stories when I picked up my first crayon, nor did I entertain my family with my tales. In fact, my mom read a book I wrote when I was twelve, put it down, and told me she didn’t like any of the characters. My dad said I had potential but never read what I wrote. It was my eighth grade teacher who believed in me. But honestly, I never expected to go anywhere or do anything with my urge to see the stories in my head on paper. It was never a ‘I’m going to be a writer’ deal. I just fell into it when I couldn’t find a good book at the library.
I never had the desire to traditionally publish a book, but when I learned about self-publishing, I thought, ‘Hey, I can write something I want to read and have it in tangible form.’ So I started doing that. And I was happy.
What has not made me happy has been the running around marketing the books and trying to be nice to people who sent me rude emails telling me how much I suck. To be honest, I just want to ignore those emails, and I think that is what I’m going to do in the future. I know it’s a ‘marketing sin’ to ignore an email from someone who is being rude, but if my goal isn’t to make a sale, then the pressure is off, and I don’t have to feel like I somehow degraded myself for thanking someone who tells me I write like a fourth grader. Because no matter what those people say, you have to smile and say ‘thank you’. I’d rather just not say anything at all. What’s the worst that’s going to happen? They’ll leave 1 star reviews on my books? That happens anyway. They’ll tell their friends and relatives to never buy my books? Sales are dropping anyway. The world will not come to an end and the sky will not fall if I ignore rude people. Now, for nice people, yes, I will make it a point to respond to them.
There are some things money can’t buy, and peace and happiness are two of them. I might have made more money this year than ever before, but honestly, I’ve been miserable. Three times I’ve broken down and cried. I don’t feel like doing this. It doesn’t mean that much to me. The years I spent just sitting back and writing, I was happy.
So I guess what this means is that I don’t want to make a living as a writer that badly. Does this make me a hobby writer? I still consider myself professional because of the quality of my work, but I guess you could say I don’t think the career writer path is the right choice for me. And there’s nothing wrong with that decision. This is why I’m not investing a lot of money into any of these projects. This is why I do it dirt cheap. I typically spend $10 to make a book, and that is the cover. I do pay $150 or so for my website every year, and I know I can get cheaper sites but I love yahoo because it makes it so easy. I might even spend money to make book trailers (not because book trailers sell books but because I enjoy watching them). I haven’t made any recently because I’m on a ‘as I can afford it’ basis, which is perfect for self-publishing. No publisher is hounding me about getting something done.
So for now, writing is all I’m going to do. I’m not going to worry about the other stuff. If I feel so inclined in the future, I can always pick up marketing again, but for now, this is not the time.
I will keep my first draft blog but probably take a month break once I finish Brave Beginnings so I can rest up. I’m keeping this blog just because I enjoy it. I’d rather type a journal than handwrite one. As for Self-Published Author’s Lounge, I’ll throw in my two cents from time to time. I’m really excited we got some great authors over there who have wonderful posts. It really adds to the discussion.
I’m going to keep on Facebook because I enjoy it, and I’ll leave Twitter up, though I don’t plan to do anything major on it. I know this is a ‘no no’ according to marketing principles, but I’m not going to mingle around on 140 characters at time. I prefer Facebook because it gives me greater communication with others, and I get to know who my readers are. It’s nice to know them as people and see what they’re interested in.
Is this the worst writing decision I ever made? I guess we’ll see.