Over at one of the writer’s boards I frequent, there’s been a lot of threads about people quitting. Don’t worry, I’m not going to quit any time soon. Those that know me know that quitting’s not in my nature.
Reading their threads, I started to wonder why they wanted to quit? They all complained about the same thing–their lack of sales. I’m sure that depressed them.
There’s a reason why I don’t pay attention to other people’s sales or even talk about my own. There’s no point to it. If I sell a lot more books then you, you’re going to question why. You’re going to compare yourself to me and you may even try to do the things I did. Now, if that doesn’t work, you’re going to be jealous and angry.
Conversely, if I tell you my numbers and you sell more than me, you’re not even going to listen to any of the points I make. You’re going to question why should you listen to me? Obviously, I don’t know what I’m talking about since I’m not selling gangbusters.
For a guy who does little marketing and promotion and puts out books every two years and sporadic short stories, I think I sell all right. I think people who are envious of others tend to forget one important fact . People that do well, tend to share their numbers far more than people that don’t. It makes sense. People don’t tell other people how bad they’re doing in life when they ask, “How are you doing?”
I’ve never understood writers. Why do so many worry about the numbers? Because every successful author seems to say that it’s nothing that we have direct control over. Yet they’ll try to control it with everything from ads, freebies, covers, blurbs, etc.
However, my most poignant question is WHY do they care about sales? Because of that I question their motivations. Did they become authors because of the money? There’s nothing wrong with that but at least be honest to others if not yourself. When it comes to myself, I became a writer because I have all these ideas percolating in my head. Writing’s the “easiest” and cheapest way to get them out. If I could get them out by other means, I totally would. I don’t know if others feel that way.
The more successful authors seem to pump out books every other month. This part is what I believe separates a lot of writers. They seem to rush their work. I’ve read a lot of indie authors and I’m not impressed with a lot of their work. Sure, they sell way more than me, but is that the end all, be all of things? Numbers? Despite what they’ll tell, I believe they sacrifice quality for quantity. Of course, if money’s their goal then that’s perfectly acceptable.
I have entirely too much pride, but that pride does have its benefits. Because of it, I’ve always strive to put out the best possible work I could when it comes to something I deeply care about. Whether it takes 6 months, 1 year, or 15 years in the case of CATALYST, I don’t care how long it takes as long as I get it right. When I’m long gone, people aren’t going to remember a mediocre or terrible book I put out. I should put my best foot forward. I will keep working on it until I’M satisfied with it. That pride makes me have high standards so if I’m happy with it, it’s good. It doesn’t have to be perfect but it does have to be as close as I can get it and set out to do what I want it to do. I guess I just subscribe to the Jackie Chan way of thinking.
I don’t care what your reasoning and goals are. But you need to find and figure them out for yourself. In this lifetime, you don’t have to prove nothing to nobody except yourself. And after what you’ve gone through, if you haven’t done that by now, it ain’t gonna never happen.