I just read Anne R. Allen’s blog post here, and I am feeling validated. I don’t envy people trying to write for a living. I applaud you and I am amazed by you every day, but I am content to carry the Olympic Torch with honor. Writing professionally as a career choice is admirable, but I cannot claim to be anything more than a professional amateur. My writing is good. I am proud of it, and would like my work to be read, but starting another professional career after 30 years of nursing would scare the hell out of me.
Well, sort of, but not exactly.
I have hobbies. I read and I write. I make jewelry. I go fishing. I go boating. I cook. I paint in water colors and oils. I garden. I am retired. I have a few philanthropic endeavors, and a couple of places I volunteer my time and resources. I also have children and grandchildren. I am doing what I am supposed to be doing, right?
Just because they are hobbies doesn’t mean that I don’t take them seriously, or that I, as a hobbyist, shouldn’t be taken seriously.
I sell a few paintings every year at art shows and galleries. A hotel offered me thousands of dollars for a couple of giant staghorn fern balls I have in the back yard (I couldn’t part with them though). I propagate Plumeria for profit. Many have commissioned me to make jewelry for friends and loved ones. I have paired my love for fishing and my talents in the kitchen to produce some fine meals. I have even sold a few books. And I feel appreciated.
For me, my hobbies will never have a financial ROI, because that’s not what it is about.
There is; however, a huge emotional ROI.
It’s true. I sell a book and I think, “Yay! I can tip the pizza delivery guy.” Sell a few, and I go out and buy a bottle of wine. Sell a lot, and it becomes an obsession. It has for me. Not to make money, because most of it goes right back into promotions/ads, or other hobbies. But it is like any of my other hobbies/endeavors, I want to excel at what I enjoy doing.
But it can fuck with your head.
More than anything, I want readers to enjoy my work. When you write nice reviews, tears come into my eyes and I feel a flood of emotion.
So, I sold a bunch of books, but I only have one new review since my successful promo. It was very nice, and yes, it made me cry…happy tears. I don’t know how long most readers keep books on their tablets before they get around to reading them. I have some books I bought last year that have been there for months, and I have yet to commit the time to read them, so I get it. But it can be hard to sit and wait for others to feed your soul. I’ll probably have a mental meltdown and have to increase my meds when I get my first bad review.
Here’s something else that will fuck with your head. Last night, I checked Amazon and saw my ranking was at #350,000 something. I thought, “Well, well, party is over.” I went to bed.
This morning, I get up and see that I am back in a Best seller’s Top 100 list at #98, my ranking has gone up to #100,000 something and I think I have sold some books. So I check KDP reports. Nada, not one, zero, 0. So how did that happen? I go back to Amazon and refresh the page…several times…still at #98. Stayed there all day. For what reason I do not know, but it will freak you out when stuff like that happens.
I spend a lot of money on all of my hobbies, art supplies are not cheap, the boat…never mind the payments…maintenance alone is literally tossing money into the water, just the metals for jewelry clasps will eat a hole in your pocket faster than acid, add nice stones and gems, it adds up pretty fast, groceries…please, rods and reels and lures…have you been inside a sporting goods store lately? So why not spend money on promoting my book? People are telling me not to. A) It isn’t necessary, and B) It is a bad thing to spend money on ads and feed the monsters. C) There should be a ROI or it is a bad investment. I want to sell more books.
I am like the marathon runner that has to make the last mile despite all the odds, the dieter who is on the verge of the last fifty pounds, yes, and the crack ho who needs a fix and a good lay!
Okay, maybe I am carrying this a bit far.
Seriously, I am thinking about another advertisement but one that uses the contemporary fiction genre instead of the historical fiction genre. The book barely made it into the historical fiction category based on the 50-60 years passed since the primary events. Yet, it deals with many contemporary issues, abortion, adoption, racial tensions…civil rights, women’s rights. I am thinking of trying a genre switch, what do you think about that? When I studied reviews a week ago, I saw many books about the 1950s listed in contemporary fiction. Also, the first third of the book (Part One) takes place in the present and 1992-93. It is Part Two that takes place in the 1950s.
For the thrill of it, would you spend money on yet another ad?
Should I try a genre switch?
Do I need to tweak my meds?