I read a post the other day, over at The Passive Voice, about a writer who self-published five years ago, and has sold over 3,000,000 copies of her books since, most of those of her self-published books. While I rejoice at her success, it’s hard to read that and think “Why not me?” Very bad, I know, to compare oneself to another writer. She says her first break-through came without any publicity effort on her part, though actually her publisher (some of her books are with trade publishers) had a promo of one of her books that happened to coincide with her self-publishing release. Hence, she did have what turned out to be an effective publicity campaign.
In another post, a writer who went from trade publishing to self-publishing in a similar, or perhaps later, time frame, made a post about how dangerous it is to check your sales numbers. Dangerous in the sense that it’s useless, doesn’t get you to writing more, and in fact can turn you away from writing. Well, it’s true that I check my sales numbers every day, and it’s also true that seeing those zeroes pile up discourages me from wanting to write.
I was going to write Monday night, but came home and was diverted. My mother-in-law, who now lives with us, needed help with her finances. My wife was helping, but it was a situation where it was better if one person searched through check registers and another wrote. So I helped with that. After we had the data concisely on paper, I went to The Dungeon to put it in a spreadsheet in order to compute the magic number. I had to do a work-around for a couple of missing statements. Sometime close to 10 p.m. I had the number, went upstairs, and gave it to her.
That was too late to go back downstairs and try to shift my brain’s focus from numbers to words, so I wasted the hour before going to bed with mindless Facebook reading.
Yesterday evening was filled with going through a week’s worth of accumulated mail, then watching two television programs and some news. Tuesday is the only evening that has programs on that I want to watch.
So here it is Wednesday morning. This is the first bit of writing I’ve done all week, except for my blog post on Sunday. I realize that, should any fan happen to drop by this page, or even should a casual visitor somehow surf here, or—heaven forbid—a family member come upon this, this will seem like whining. I suppose it is.
Perhaps life will turn around. Or perhaps I’ll learn to be productive in 15 minute chunks of writing time, or learn how to write in manuscript with significant distractions. And then, perhaps someday, I’ll have a reason to check sales numbers.