Indypub: Attitude is everything

Something new that I’m learning about being a freelancer:  Attitude is everything.

I’ve been having a series of bad days lately.  I’m having to retrench on finances (again); some submissions that I let myself get worked up over have been rejected; sales for my ebooks from Wonderland Press are okay, but certainly not taking off or anything (it’s really too early for that); I have edits hanging over my head that I don’t know how to do, and have told the client as much; I have other edits hanging over my head that may mean a major rewrite, and taking the time away from writing new material always makes me itchy.

And I’ve been letting it get me down.

On the writing side, this is almost a positive.  I’ve written some stuff for the current book (a piece of cozy mystery fluff called YOUR SOUFFLE MUST DIE) that might be a way to have it show  some depth (not much, but some).

On the business side, it’s making me think that I want to do more promotion of books, somehow, and widen my net.  I’m not sure the specifics, but going, “Why don’t I sell more?” needs to go in a more positive direction than whining, if it’s dragging me down.  Sure, I should be patient, but I’ll feel a lot more patient if I have some busywork of a positive nature to do.  I’m not ready to drop prices yet, though, because I have A Plan:  drop prices when I have something to promote, like another book in the series or a collection to which the story in question belongs.  Patience.

The funny thing is, I think this attitude is coming out of my new-found knowledge & faith that yes, I am a writer, and yes, I write well enough to be published, and yes, some of the stuff I write is pretty damned entertaining, when I can get it to the people that it’s meant to entertain.  My brain is like, “If you’re so hot, then why aren’t you selling?” and “Why is this taking so looooong?” where before, it was a matter of going, “Well, of course things aren’t going so well; you still have a long way to go as a writer.”  It’s easier to be patient about success if you don’t believe you deserve to succeed.

I still have a long way to go as a writer.  But I’ve passed some threshold, and I’m not smooth on how to handle this new world yet.  I feel like a three-year-old (or a thirteen-year-old) some days, where I have no idea how to handle my new powers but am arrogant in the knowledge that I have them and nobody can take them away.

On a microcosmic side, this morning I got another rejection, and I was feeling down about it, even though I’d only sent the story to the market because it pays well and rejects quickly, and I wouldn’t be upset if the story got accepted there while I waited to get other rejections back from the markets I really wanted to submit to.  I hadn’t expected to have a chance in hell with that story; I didn’t think it was a good fit.  And yet I’m all like, “Awww…” this morning.

Then I looked at my Amazon accounts; I had two stories purchased last night (three, but one was returned, must have been an oopsie).  Suddenly, everything was all better, over $.80.  [Snort.]

So I have to pass on…

1) Bad days can give you valuable insight.

2) Even when you know yourself to be at a pro writing level when you’re at the top of your game, you still haven’t mastered your craft by a LONG shot.  And being consistently good is a whole additional skill set.

3) Things “should” work in certain ways, but they don’t.  If you don’t run around thinking about the way things are different than they “should” be, it’s probably an easier way to get through life.  I “should” be less judgmental of reality…

4) Good days are easy to come by, when you need them.  Give yourself permission to have a good day, when you need one, by focusing on the one good thing that happens to you and filtering everything else out.  It’s not reality, but sometimes you need the fantasy, as a band-aid if nothing else.

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3 Comments

  1. Kate Jenkins

    I love this post. I love it because you are still confronting the same old, same old demon–you know the one you’ve aptly named “If you’re so hot, then why aren’t you selling?”–but from a new perspective. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t love that you’re having to confront that same demon, I’m just pleased and hopeful that you are in the truth that you have passed a threshold.

    K

  2. I had that arrogant moment for a while. I think it’s why I haven’t done much writing. I wrote a story last year and brought it to my writers’ group. They’re vicious, and I love them. I love that I can always bring in something to them, have them tear it apart, and then bring a better version back in, have them tear it apart again, and so on. When I brought this particular story in, they didn’t have much to say. They said, “This is really tight.” I was elated. I made some corrections, brought it back in, discussed more corrections with them, and am tweaking it again now. I am so, so proud of this story. I’m proud of the growth it demonstrates. I’m proud that it makes me a good writer, not just a novice. But, ever since I wrote this “really tight” story, I can’t seem to write anything else. In my eyes, nothing is as good. Nothing even comes close. It’s making me crazy! I know I have to push through it, and keep telling myself, “If I can write something this good, I can do better…” but it seems to have the opposite effect.

    We writers are so silly.

    Keep hanging in there, De. You’re my inspiration. If you can get published, so can I! That’s what I keep telling myself. I bet even seasoned pro writers — the ones who are always NYT Bestsellers — get nervous when they’re waiting to see if something sells. I know I would. It’s simultaneously wonderful and terrifying that being a writer is full of constant hurdles.

    • De

      Thanks, guys. It means a lot.

      I don’t think you ever get to be done with it; if you give in, you end up being one of those writers who’s mad about everything they missed out on in their writing lives. I don’t want to be that person.

      I want to be more like my daughter…every time she has a cognitive leap, she has a couple of days where she acts like an ass, a couple of days when she’s depressed about it, and then she learns how to use her powers for good and moves on.

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