So, you have a book coming out.
You mentioned it on Facebook and Twitter. You list it on GoodReads, maybe host a giveaway. You print up bookmarks, send press releases, and schedule a launch party. But—pffffft. Nothing.
You dig in. You’re no dummy. You already know the bulk of promo falls onto the author.
You watch successful authors raffle off pricey items in exchange for presales. You consider this but are caught thinking how much you would like to spend that same money on yourself. Especially because, for the past six months, the only money you’ve spent has been on deductible expenses, and even though you like conferences, and you think your swag is unique, and you love the cupcakes you served at your launch parties, you become selfish and want something—a token of appreciation—for yourself.
You think about the hours—weeks—months—years that went into writing your book. You even stop to add up the contest fees, the cost of edits, the dollars attached to every step that brought you to where you are today. You know it was an investment in your writing. You also know you should never, ever, expect to recoup that money.
You receive your first royalty check.
You watch writers who spend less time promoting climb the bestseller lists.
You start to weigh your own work against that of your peers. Sometimes you think you’re better. Sometimes you know you’re not.
You try to give back to those who haven’t yet learned what you have while still seeking the password/ the secret handshake/ the private catchphrase that will admit you entrance into the club where you finally feel like a success. Where you earn back enough to make you feel okay about what you’ve invested.
And then the emails come. “I loved your book.” –or–“When will the next one be out?”
You fight the urge to ask these fans to post online reviews. You try not to compare readers who get your book from the library to those who buy copies. You don your metaphorical tux and tails/gown and gloves and rise above everything you’ve learned/heard/thought. You say THANK YOU to anybody who acknowledges that you wrote a book.
Repeat: You. Wrote. A. Book.
You become the person who’s simply happy that some stranger read it and liked it.
You become a normal person who offer a bookmark to everybody you meet.
You become someone who answers emails when they come in and graciously accepts compliments.
You notice the odd behavior of the people who live a few doors away from you, and you take notes of said odd behavior in a notebook to be referenced for a future manuscript, because you know, no matter what, that there will be another book, because even though nothing has gone as planned, you can’t not write.
You are an author.
Diane Vallere | @dianevallere