Wednesday, May 1, 2013

IWSG: My Daily Addiction



It’s the first Wednesday of the month, time for

Hi, my name is Nancy and I am an addict…

I never wrote my novel with publishing in mind.  It was simply a lark, something I wanted to accomplish.  Once I got into it, though, I found I loved it.  Keep in mind, I knew nothing about writing fiction, but I did have a good education and was an avid reader.

I was fortunate enough to have all the critical plot points, so once I was finished and thought, “Hey, I might have something here,” all I needed to do was research what it takes to get published.  Trouble was, there was a lot on that list.  But I did it.  I jumped through most of the hoops.


I found querying to be an especially brutal one, demoralizing, really.  But I made it through, not the wholly traditional way—I bypassed the agent—yet I still managed to snag a book deal.  I thought, after edits are done, I’ll have all the hard parts behind me.  Yeah, not so much. 

I always thought publishing would bring me this huge sense of accomplishment, that I’d be nothing but happy, happy, happy.  But then I became obsessed.  Addicted.  It’s a daily struggle really.  They don’t tell you that once you’re published it’s all about selling.  But I didn’t know how to do that.  Marketing is not in my tool belt.  I’ve had to learn as I go, and I’ve learned I suck.  But still, I make progress, even though it is a struggle.

To gauge that war, I check my rankings on Amazon, constantly, both US and UK.  I hop on Goodreads to see how many people have added my book to their TBR list, how many new ratings, new reviews.  Same with Amazon.  I’m always worrying about where the next review will come from, will it suck, will it be amazing?  Will it spike my sales? 


So, as you can imagine, each day brings either a huge high of happiness or a face-planting low of failure.  One day, I’m up, the next, I’m down.  Some days, it’s up and down and up and down all within a few hours.  Oh cool, a great 5-star review on Amazon, YAY!  Let’s watch my book climb up Amazon’s Top-Rated in Romantic Suspense list, or Mysteries and Suspense, where it can really be seen.  Happy dance time!  Then I watch as my ranking gets higher and higher, which, of course, means no one has bought a copy that day.  When it goes above a certain threshold, I practically have a coronary. 

It’s driving me CRAZY!!!  I feel like an addict who craves the bottle or the needle or the pipe.  The information on Amazon and Goodreads is my drug.  I have to know.  I have to know!  Now, now, now! 


Well, I’ve reached my breaking point, I think.  I can’t do it any more.  I’ve had a lot of highs in the last week.  One of them was that my fans expect another book.  My readers message, email, text, and Facebook me, telling me this, yet I sit on my ass and obsess over numbers and rankings, and I’m getting nothing done.  I’ve been told, it’s easier to sell if you have multiple titles.  Well, that’s what I want to focus on, giving my readers another roller coaster to ride.


So I’m disconnecting, pulling back from the Internet.  Not completely.  But a lot.  I’ll still try to post to my blog on Mondays, but only if I have something important to say.  I won’t be around as much, to chat and comment, but I’ll be lurking.  I don’t want what I’ve been experiencing to be what publishing is all about for me.  I want that feeling I had way back in the beginning, when I sat at my desk, writing my book, living with my characters, creating a brand new world.

My name is Nancy, and I am a writer.  So watch me write.      




30 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Since I never intended to be an author, I know the feeling.
When my books hit the Amazon best seller chart, I did check every day. I think it eventually wears off though. I can't even remember the last time I looked.
So if you have to force yourself to pull back to make it work, then that's what you have to do.

JeffO said...

I was under the impression that Amazon's sales rankings are changeable because of how they're updated. So you can go from being ranked in the top 10 in your category to being #257,659 in a day or so. It's easy for me to tell you not to sweat it, to relax, but when I'm in your shoes, I will no doubt do the same.

Pulling back from the internet is probably a good idea. Give yourself a break and get back into writing, which will make you much happier. We'll be here when you come back.

Jessica Bell said...

Oh my goodness, I am EXACTLY like you. I took two weeks of social media completely during April. It was so refreshing. So hard at first. All I kept thinking was, just check your stats then log off. UGH! But you have to force yourself. It's pretty um ... unhealthy! LOL

Natalie Aguirre said...

Sounds like a good idea to step back from the daily checking and if you need to be off the Internet to do it, that's great. Hope you get writing done and some other fun things during your break.

Emma Adams said...

I know exactly how this feels - I've all but pulled back from actively marketing my debut novel because it was so demoralising watching it not sell. I'm concentrating on working on my next series instead - after all, writing is the most important thing! Best of luck! :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Do you have Amazon and Goodreads bookmarked? Delete those. Remove the temptation to look.

Miss Mae said...

Yes, it's tough. And it's hard when fans "demand" more out of us. Like you, I've had to reassess and I've pulled away too. And I've decided to write at my own speed. :)

With me I've discovered it's best when I don't look at the numbers or sales. I want to write when I WANT TO WRITE, and dang it, that's what I'm gonna do.

Great post. :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

My goal is NOT to check the ratings. I'll let someone else do that.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I took that addiction to the next level...checking your own stats is the gateway drug to something worse...comparing yourself to friends.

Talk about a case of crippling self-doubt. Now, when I feel compelled to check, I think, "Write, don't obsess."

Karen Jones Gowen said...

It really can be an addiction! Who needs it? Yeah, write that next book!

Callie Leuck said...

Wow it really IS the massive "I'm stepping back from the Internet" post day.

And yes, please DO write another book!!

Andrew Leon said...

Are you going to do one of those live feeds so that we -can- actually watch you write?

I don't think I could deal with anyone watching me write.
"Why are you playing solitaire? I thought you were writing."
"I'm thinking."
"It looks like you're playing solitaire."
"Don't mess with the process!"

Julie Luek said...

Nancy, I've taken a big step back from the internet-- social media particularly-- and I don't even have a published book. I find, however, there are too many voices offering opinions. So much so, sometimes, that I allow them to drown out my own voice, the one that really matters. Best to you as you find perspective, peace and joy in your writing and being a published author.

Carrie Butler said...

Rest assured in knowing this: Even those with business/marketing experience struggle. Readers want what they want, and that changes from day to day. Most of it is out of our hands.

Unless you sell your soul and pander to trends...

jamieayres.com said...

I feel the same exact way, Nancy! Go sit your butt in the chair :-)

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Oh do I understand! I'm feeling the same way, and I know I have to take the step. Part of me is afraid to because I rely on you all so much. But you're right, Nancy. We still have our work to do and we've not being doing it to our full capacity. I'm going to follow suit here very quickly and cut back. I have a house to sell and company for the entire month of May and June. We're not superwomen. Sadly.

Liza said...

You go girl! I haven't made it there yet, but I dread the marketing piece. Dread it. Can someone send me back twenty years ago where the publisher did a lot of it for you?

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Relax. I know; easy to say, hard to do. Your book is amazing, and lots of people loved it, including me. Know that, and go write something else.

LD Masterson said...

Go. Write. Enjoy. We'll still be here whenever you pop on.

(Andrew Leon, have you been watching me play solitaire...er...write?)

Livia Peterson said...

Continue writing, Nancy! Obsessing over something isn't the best thing to do, but it lets you KNOW and that's very IMPORTANT. But if you do it too much, step back and take a break. Incredible post!

Chuck said...

Now I will be tormented!! I will miss your daily visits and comments so it will be a disconnect for me. Yet I am excited you will be writing again as I will be first in line for the next Nancy-book.

Am I possibly co-dependent??

Rock on Nancy...we'll be here. Oh yeah...quit worrying so much, you did awesome on your first outing.

Your biggest fan...

Gina Gao said...

Its hard to get off of an addiction. Being a teenager, I know.

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

Annalisa Crawford said...

I completely relate to this. I'm pulling back for the next couple of weeks to get a project finished. Yes, commenting is my way of pulling back... I may need more practice.

Heather M. Gardner said...

CAN I GET AN AMEN!!! TESTIFY!!!

You are doing the right / write thing!!!

And, your words, though frightening to one about to be in similar shoes, are inspiring.

Writing is how this started.

Writing will get us through.

Heather

Martina at Adventures in YA Publishing said...

Hang in there, Nancy! It is always a roller coaster, and although when we are mired in the querying or submission trenches for a long time it seems awful, I think the one thing it gives us is a preparation for the reviews. In the social media age, this writing gig is not for the faint of heart. But ultimately, it's about connecting to readers and so I think the good reviews are far more precious than the negative ones. People forget a book they didn't connect with quickly, but a book they loved can stay with them a lifetime.

Misha Gericke said...

I'm starting to feel exactly what you're going through. My book got sold (sans agent) in a two book deal. For a series. So even though I'm still only editing, I'm starting to worry of book one is good enough to make people want to read book two.

:-/

Spacerguy said...

When you get to the top you won't stay there indefinitely but you do get a warm "trekkie" feeling.

Milo James Fowler said...

That's the stuff. Leave your book to your readers, and go write something new!

nutschell said...

I completely support you on this. It's so important to make time for writing, and breaking away from the net for a bit will give you that. Good luck! We'll be here whenever you return.
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Tammy Theriault said...

i will miss seeing you more on here...but...i can just talk to you anytime. about how cool you are with writing!!!