What, Me Worry? An Author’s Nightmares.
I have a cushy job, right? I set my own hours, spend a huge percentage of them living in a fantasy world, stare unblinking into space for days without anyone calling the little men with the butterfly nets. I’m a writer.
So with so many pluses, what do writers worry about? In the interests of education, I thought today I’d list a few of mine. Clearly I have forgotten some of them, but I won’t worry about that. Not with so much better material to occupy me.
- A quick perusal of Amazon today shows that while Sunset Bridge received 27 reviews, so far One Mountain Away has received only 17. Does this mean fewer people are buying it? Does it mean they have read it, but they are too kind to review it poorly so they haven’t reviewed it at all? Does it mean they bought it, but it’s still sitting on a shelf because they haven’t yet forced themselves (for a variety of possible reasons) to open and read it?
- How can I gently request that my readers review it without sounding like a relentless self-promoter?
- While going through the first round of edits on Somewhere Between Luck and Trust I’ve been forced (!) to make some changes. Will the changes somehow contradict something else in the story that I’ve forgotten about? Will my readers toss the book across the room because my character eats pickles in one chapter and renounces them in another. (Full disclosure: There aren’t any real pickles in this story. I don’t think so, anyway. Darn, maybe I’d better check . . .)
- My colleagues are busily putting books up on line. I’ve been busy moving. Will the big e-book tidal wave pass right over me as I unpack boxes of sheets and towels? Will my readers forget who I am if I don’t put backlist online by tomorrow?
- I haven’t tweeted in days. Furthermore I have nothing relevant to tweet. (Not that I should be stopped by something that minor.)
- I would like to send a Christmas email to my readers. Do I have anything worth saying? Can I say anything in 300 words or less? It’s not likely.
- I would like to send my editor and agent citrus fruit for the holiday. How many of their other writers are doing exactly the same thing? Dare I ask and spoil the surprise? Better than boxes of spoiling fruit?
- When, exactly, will I have time to tackle the new books I want to put online? Perhaps another Shenandoah Album novel. Perhaps another Ministry is Murder mystery. Can I squeeze more writing time into my schedule when I’m now living in the land of perpetual sunshine and opportunity?
Clearly none of these concerns are earth-shaking. In fact, as I list them, I have to smile. In the long run what really matters? I love what I do, and somehow things always get done in time. I think sometimes I just liketo worry. How about you?Try making a list of your own worries. You might find it helpful. Of course, you might also find it makes things worse. But don’t worry about that until it happens. You’ll have enough to keep you busy without it.
More possible answers to #1…they’ve never written a review on Amazon before and aren’t sure how to do it. They share an Amazon account with their husband and he’s changed his password again because it was forgotten. Will husband wonder about the review in his name of a Goddesses Anonymous book? They intended to write a review but then the phone rang….
I’ve decided to tackle questions 1, 2, 3, and 4 because I have a hard enough time figuring out my own presents.
1. I have to say I was guilty of one of the readers who reviewed Sunset Bridge and not One Mountain Away, but in my defense I had an advanced reader copy of Sunset Bridge and not One Mountain Away and while I love all of your books I really loved One Mountain Away, it reminded me of the Shenandoah Album series. (Also your readers, could be starring them on GoodReads because they aren’t a fan of Amazon reviews)
2. I think it’s back to the GoodReads thing again…and although your readers fall in love with a book and give it 5 stars on GoodReads they don’t think to write a review (sheepishly looking to see if I wrote one now).
3. I know I forgive the small details if the story is good, and I’ll be very surprised if it isn’t 🙂
4. Your books are unforgettable, going online might attract new readers but so might taking them out of the library, or seeing them at the bookstore. While, I’ve recently been bit by the online bug I look for a good book… and leave the format up for grabs.
Great comments. And no one ever needs to feel guilty for not reviewing a book. I was just having fun with my own anxieties. A Woody Allen moment–back when I liked Woody Allen.
Trust me – your readers won’t forget you! What is involved in making a book an ebook anyway? I now get some books as ebooks to read on my Kindle app on my phone – mostly free or inexpensive ones, but I want to hold yours in my hands still!
What more appropriate gift to send someone than citrus from a FL resident? Surely there are multiple people in the agent’s and editor’s offices who could/would devour the fruit?? I’d go for it. One of the things I miss about VA was that there the local high school sold band fruit from FL – nobody that I know of does that here. Maybe they figure we could just drive down and get our own!
I think you’re right on the fruit. As for ebooks? It’s a process of formatting, choosing cover art, and loading them on to the appropriate websites, using their rules and processes. It takes time, but it’s worth it all. Truth is authors make much more money per book if they do this themselves instead of giving their publishers those rights. However publishers have publicists and distribution networks an individual author wouldn’t have access to. So it’s a balancing act.
You made me think though if me… a person who really loved One Mountain Away (and many of your other books), didn’t share, how are my friends going to know, while we don’t have to feel guilty, we are doing both our favorite authors and our friends a disservice to keep your books to ourselves.
The last thing any author wants is for her readers to feel guilty. Reading is a pleasure, and if along the way you feel motivated AND find the time to share a book in some way, that’s great. But reading and enjoying is plenty.