There are times when I completely understand why some writers quit after their first book. They sweat and fret and stress over the book until it is perfect. They are excited about sharing their book or short story or whatever and wait anxiously for the publishing date to arrive. They talk it up and on that glorious day…nothing happens.
Maybe their mom and a few others who know the writer pick up a copy (pity purchase?) but beyond that the book sits unwanted. Dreams of glory and riches are crushed and the writer throws down (writing instrument of choice) and proclaims they will never write again.
Dreams can build you up and they can tear you down.
The thing is, getting your work published is rarely about instant gratification. Writing and getting your work out there is a long-term sort of exercise. Yes, there are those occasional situations where the stars align and a person hits the jackpot the first time, but those are few and far between.
I remember when Mik Murdoch, Boy Superhero first came out. My publisher loved (and still does, I think) the book. I talked about it to everyone I knew. Then it was available for pre-order and…you guessed it, nothing happened. I watched the Amazon rankings and the book did virtually nothing.
Discouraging would be an understatement.
But I have had enough people read the book and love it that I know I have something special. That helps…a little.
The second book, Mik Murdock: The Power Within did better. Pre-orders this time and better sales. Still far from stellar. I had people asking for the third one before it had been out 48 hours.
My third book, co-written with JR Murdock is doing better still. Exact numbers are still unknown but they are trending better. I’m still a long way from quitting my day job.
But the fact is, things continue to improve. I am becoming better known as a writer (hopefully as a writer of quality stories) and people are starting to read more of my books. I now have three series (partially) in print and lots of projects on the horizon. I expect that one day I will be able to pay a major monthly bill with my royalties.
That day will only happen if I persevere. The minute I throw away my (writing instrument of choice) and declare I’m done with writing is the day the dream ends. And perhaps dream is even the wrong word to use now. It isn’t a dream any more. It is a reality that I am building up to.
So my advice to all you fledgling writers out there? Have a plan. Stick to it. Don’t get off the roller-coaster voluntarily. Make your dreams a reality.