Oh, if life was only like the movies. (Well, not like Alien or Nightmare on Elm Street, but like Field of Dreams or Grease or even Pirates of the Carribean, but I digress.)
Writers are constantly building "it". Some people's IT is a novel; others write a short story collection. Some write poetry or picture books. Others craft self-help or memoir. We build manuscripts and books and pieces of art all the time.
But this does not guarantee HE or rather, THEY, will come.
Where are the readers? Where are the reviewers? Where are the adoring fans?
In the case of being a writer, you have to add this to the Field of Dreams quote:
"If you build it, and work really hard on marketing and building your brand and creating a newsletter list and writing more books and learning advertising, he will come--maybe."
You think I'm joking.
A lot of times in my posts, I like to give tips or tricks to make a writer's life easier. But sometimes, I want to lament. I want to share my feelings, my frustrations, my joys, my sorrows, my failures, and my successes. I could easily turn this into a post about marketing:
Here are the three main things you need to do to find your readers.
But I don't want to!! We are in the middle of a pandemic. (That's now my excuse for a lot of things, such as eating an entire pecan pie before it's even Thanksgiving here in the U.S.) I have a huge case of sinusitis that I have been messing around with for months because I didn't take time to go to the doctor, and now I'm on some strong antiobiotic for 14 days with a headache and face pressure every single day. Ugh. So I can't reach deep down inside of me and give you marketing tips.
What I can do though is sympathize.
Damn, it's hard to find new readers, isn't it? It's hard to get people to review your books. Then when you find someone, they don't spend $50 on Amazon, or you have sent them a gift from Amazon, and so Amazon deletes their review from your page.
Querying and facing countless rejections or months of NO ANSWERS AT ALL is extremely heartbreaking after pouring out your heart and soul onto the page for months (sometimes years).
Watching someone shoot their way to success while you struggle and celebrate one book sale this week is difficult. Of course, you don't want to be jealous, but it's understandable that the green-eyed monster comes out.
Because it's who we are. Because when we do see our ranking move up on Amazon, it's thrilling. Because when we get a 5-star review from someone who is not a relative, we feel an energetic buzzing that makes us feel alive. Because writing and publishing and submitting give us hope for a brighter future, and sometimes, hope is really all we need. This reminds me of another movie that might be better for writers than the one I started with.
“Beginnings are scary; endings are usually sad, but it is the middle that counts the most. You need to remember that when you find yourself at the beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up.” ~Sandra Bullock, Hope Floats
Here's to hope!
Margo L. Dill is an author, publisher, editor, and writing instructor and coach, living in St. Louis, MO. She currently is the managing editor of WOW!, and she teaches two classes: Writing a Novel With a Writing Coach and Writing for Middle-Grade and Young Adult Readers. She also owns Editor-911 Books, a small, but growing, independent publishing company. Find out more here.