I think it’s important to talk about disappointment. For about a year now, I’ve averaged about eight sales a month. One person may scoff at that, and I can’t really argue. Selling less than ten books a month isn’t impressive, is it? But I worked for that same year to bring that average up. About two years ago, I was pleasantly surprised when I sold a book at all.
So you see, that was an improvement. Sure, what author doesn’t want thousands of sales per week? But one has to start somewhere.
May started off slow, but then I had about three sales in two days. Surely I was going to meet my eight-sale quota! I might even do more! After all, Betrayed came out, so that should only increase my sales right?
Wrong! I sold those three books, and that was it.
This is not a post about how to complain. This is a post in how to handle disappointment.
Hopeful authors, take measure of your determination.
You don’t have to take my word for it. Brandon Sanderson, my favorite author, did a video about how hard it is to make it. The dream is easy enough to understand. We want to write stories and sell millions of books and have movie producers beat down our doors. Allow me to summarize what Sanderson said in the video: “Making it has nothing to do with talent.”
Writing a book is hard. It takes dedication and determination.
Getting an agent is hard. I don’t even try these days. It takes a force of will and many, many rejections. Just search authors who got turned down by agents and enjoy the reading.
Even assuming you get an agent, only about one percent of the authors out there reach the financial success every author dreams to attain.
Does the above depress you? Does it make you decide not to write? Should you give up?
Well who am I to tell you what to do?
By now you may be wondering how this does anything to help an aspiring author deal with disappointment. Some of you may even think this post is more likely to say I’m fed up, and I quit. I assure you, that’s not the case.
You see, the way to deal with disappointment is to remember why you started writing in the first place. If you started writing to make your millions, you probably made a mistake. Those who did make their millions did so through time, dedication, and effort filed by something far more powerful than the desire to amass wealth.
You have to love writing.
You have to love writing so much that you don’t even care if you ever sell a single book. You have to love writing so much that if an agent tells you (in very unkind words) that you have no business writing, you shrug and say, “Maybe not, but I’m going to keep doing it.”
Every time I even thought (if only for a moment) about giving up, one very simple thought came into my mind: “There’s no way on earth you’re going to stop writing.”
You see, I’m about 80% through my next book, and I’m already frustrated because I can’t wait to finish the one after that, and I. So excited to start Mercer my Urban Fantasy Police Procedural series. I have a mountain of stories in my head dying to get out, and I’m writing them because I want to read them.
Yes, I want to earn money. Yes, I want to be a best seller. Yes, I want tv shows and movies made from my books, but I write them because I love writing.
I love writing g so much that I market for two hours a day just to reach new readers. I love writing so much I sneak in about 1,000 words during my lunch break because that’s the best time for a follower of Christ, husband, father, and teacher to sneak in a bit of writing.
If you started a book to make millions, I wish you luck, but your odds are crap.
But this post is for you, that person whose mind is flooded with ideas and worlds and characters yearning to be unleashed on a page. You write because you love it, and that’s enough.
If you love writing that much, just keep at it. It’ll feed your heart with joy, and maybe, with effort, time, patience, work, a mountain of luck, and the will of God (without whom nothing is possible), you’ll find yourself successful. Indeed I hope one day to write a post where I can say, “Just look at me!” Clearly, today is not that day. But every day is a chance to write, and I love it.
So writers deal with disappointment by realizing that whatever happens, you can always write another book, and that’s enough. I hope it’s enough for you.
Thanks for reading,