Friday, October 4, 2013

#writing - Seven stages of book-flop grief

Hello everyone!

After a long hiatus this summer, I'm thrilled to be back at the keyboard. Just signed a spiffy new contract with Ellora's Cave for a book titled SHARING THE COURTESAN. Yay! With every new contract comes the hope that this book will go forth into the world and capture the imaginations of readers everywhere. Does that happen with every new release? Unfortunately not. In fact it doesn't happen with most published work.

Having pushed more than a twenty novels, novellas and short stories out into cyberspace, I'm no stranger to book-flop. What is book-flop, you ask? It's when all the months of writing, editing, crying, swearing and drinking (drinking coffee of course *wink, wink*) to produce a story net you very little sales. So what to do when the public doesn't love your baby as much as you do?

Step #1 - Cry. Yep, go ahead and let it out. Let's face it, no author puts out a manuscript hoping no one will like it. Well, maybe Ayn Rand, but for those of us who hope to entertain with our writing it can be a crushing blow to see that no one gave a crap about what we had to say. If you're not given to tears, then slam some doors, break some inexpensive glassware, whatever it is you do to let the frustration out.

Step #2 - Commiserate. Reach out to other authors. Writing can be lonely, isolating work. But when it comes to book-flop you are not alone. Sometimes it helps to know we've all been in the same boat.

Step #3 - Pamper yourself (or what I like to call the "wine stage"). Take a day to chill out (hence the wine), lick your wounds and do something nice for yourself.

Step #4 - Accentuate the positive. Okay, so no one showed much interest in your latest release, but don't dwell on that. Focus on the things about writing that make you feel good. Maybe it's awesome reviews from readers, maybe it's the success of past books, maybe it's the fact that you're a published author at all. I mean you DID write a book which is an accomplishment in and of itself.

Step #5 - Learn from the experience. Maybe zombie woodchuck shifters just aren't popular right now. Doesn't mean they never will be (okay, I know they never will be), so it might not be the right time to put out that sequel. Or maybe you need to shift your promo strategy and find the places that zombie woodchuck shifter fans hang out. We learn more from our failures than we do our successes.

Step #6 - Forget about it. Easier said than done, but if Babe Ruth focused on his last strikeout, he wouldn't have been in the frame of mind to hit 714 home runs.

Step #7 - Get back on the horse. Now that you've picked yourself up and dusted yourself off, get back to the keyboard and write another book. Maybe this will be the release that garners you fame and fortune...or at least a royalty check that isn't embarrassing to deposit. And if not--wash, rinse and repeat steps one through seven.

Happy writing!

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