Post-Publishing Depression

I wrote a novel last year, and last month I published it. Some authors fill in this space with details of euphoria, the wonder of seeing their name in written print, and the blissful ease of spouting off 85,000 words that needed no refining or editing.

I feel those things. It's great (besides the editing thing—every writer needs an editor, whether they think so or not). 

It was also hard. Very hard.

It was Saturday after Saturday crouching over my keyboard, watching the blue sky darken and imagining it was the last sunny day of fall that would happen in my lifetime. It was night after night of frustration, pre-occupation, and contemplation, as I lived in two worlds—one that I can do nothing to control, and the other that is subject to my every whim. Balancing the two realities is like trying to paint a landscape while holding a seat atop a bucking mustang (the horse, not the car). It was person after person coming back with my manuscript and telling me to "change this," "re-write this section," and "make this part better because it's not good enough," subjecting my already fragile ego to the whims of critics who, I worked to convince myself, actually knew what they were talking about. 

It really wasn't easy.

In the sweetness of post-published, it's easy to forget the hard parts in the delight of my name on the cover of a book. 

In the uphill trudge of self-marketing, I remember it again. Having published, I'm now marketing. Yesterday I emailed almost a dozen influential people, introducing myself, asking to guest post on their blogs, asking them to read and perhaps review my book. 

So far, everyone has said no. Although to my practical mind, this makes sense (influential people are busy, or something like that), to my ego it's a gentle reminder that none of them need any favors from me. 

Mine is the small platform, the new book, the person that no one has heard of.

Mine is also the vision, the goals, the desire to work hard to do what I believe in, to make a difference, to foster and help my novel grow, because I wrote it and I stand behind it.

It's not easy. But I think someday I'll look back and acknowledge that it was all worth it. At least, that's what I'm hoping.

Here's a link to my book.

Check it out, maybe buy it, and write a review on amazon! 

And thanks for reading what I have to say so faithfully.

Making it Matter—P4

6 steps to creating something that matters: Create carefully: This is the internet age, the time that means you can write something, and less than 5 minutes later, publicize it so that anyone in the world can see it.This may seem like a dream come true to the masses, but is it really? It used to be a rigorous process to publish (and not only in the writing sense) anything at all. You couldn't record music in your home, you didn't just walk into the museum and hang your painting on the wall next to Van Gogh's (of course you can't do that today either), you couldn't bind together pages by hand, call them a book, and start selling it to the entire country. The standards were high. Creating took time, patience, and lots of hard work. Getting published by a publishing house meant months of revisions, discussion, communication, and sometimes scrapping your entire piece and starting over (this is a great article about that process with someone famous.).

Now, getting published is as easy as making something and posting it for the world to see—and before long, you're a sensation. The standards seem to be considerably lower now; but are they really?

Years ago, consuming art was a commitment. If you wanted to read a book, you had to buy it from a bookstore, or at the very least, request it from the library. Sometimes you had to wait, while they ordered it and it came in. In almost every case, there were less books (pun *relatively* intended), making the ones that you did acquire highly valuable. Getting a book was like finding an oasis in the desert.

Now, the commitment level for art intake is minimal, at most. I have access to most books or articles (or as many other written works as you can think of) on my computer. I can read them whenever I want, pull them up and comment on them, expressing my opinions. It is instant gratification, instant satisfaction. I don't have to wait for anything—if I want a hard copy of a book, Amazon will ship it to me, guaranteed delivery in two days. I have whatever I want.

This may seem nice, but underneath the cream cheese frosting, the carrot cake has a bitter twist. The old fashioned high standards were set by experts in the field, as they moderated content and searched for good value. Now the standards are set by... Me. And you. And your uncle, and my neighbor, and the man who cleans the gum off the sidewalk. We decide what we want (we always did that), we decide if it's good or not (we always did that), and we decide that it's not worth it to keep reading (we didn't exactly always do that). People used to read books even if they weren't the best, because it was all they could get their hands on. Now, we can get our hands on whatever we want. There is no limit to the literature that we can access, and so if we don't like you, or we think someone else wrote a better book about it, we're done with you. We have rocketed the standards to out of the atmosphere, because in becoming more eclectic, and having access to whatever we want, we've become literary snobs.

So create carefully; make your writing good, make it the best. Do your research, your homework, edit carefully, ask intelligent opinions and experts in the field. Because we're a tough crowd to please, and we want the best. And if you don't deliver, we're clicking the next link we see, and moving on.



As a self-published author, ideas for marketing and advertising are always welcome. Self-marketing is a struggle; networking is hard in a small circle. Continuing the effort to publicize, I stumbled across this page. The ideas are fresh, creative, and intriguing—exactly what I want my advertising work to look like. As the contest to promote continues, I am reminded continually of how key consistency is. It's about doing, doing, and re-doing something. We're creatures of habit; finally, after multiple repetitions (seeing the same add four dozen times), we may remember it.

Don't lose heart in your marketing and advertising. The struggle is real, but it is worth it. At least, that's what they tell me.

What if it Rains

Setting up the full sound equipment for a choir and band to perform outside, for instance in a park, takes an extensive amount of effort. Between speakers, wires, and every small technical detail, by completion it's been several hours of labor, lots of sweating, and a good amount of tactician's effort—how things need to be positioned to sound the best, where they'll be out of the line of vision (but still effective), and the wires that need to be set and draped to avoid a rats nest of tangle. All of this, and what if it rains? You have to pack up and clear out quickly, to save the equipment. Even if the band only played for five minutes, rain doesn't make the process worthless—but it certainly feels that way.

Sometimes you spend a long time on a piece, working very hard and putting your best into it.  Then something goes wrong; someone doesn't like it and 'they' only have negative things to say about it.

That doesn't invalidate it. It is always worth it to write.

What Makes A Bestseller

According to yesterday's post, people are looking for one of two kinds of books: books that help and teach, or books that entertain.

Eat This, Not That (now faded from popularity, like most fads) was an overnight sensation, because everyone wanted a book that would tell them how to lose weight easily.

The Help gained popularity so fast, it was a movie before some people had finished reading the book; a moving, compelling account of the hardships of being African American house help in the south in the 60's.

One helps, the other entertains. If you can figure out what people want to learn, or how they want to divert their minds, it's very likely that you can write something that thousands of people will buy.

Study your audience, then appeal to them. After all, they're the ones who are buying your book.

Predicting a Bestseller

This weekend, we went to a conference done by New York Times bestselling author of The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman. Since his first book was first published more than 20 years ago, he has written more than two dozen books. Some have done well, but none have done as well as his first book. Why? Certainly everyone has a different theory, and maybe there are as many reasons as there are theories. But, after all the guesses and conclusions, it boils down to one thing: Gary Chapman figured out what people cared about (i.e., marriage), and he did studies to figure out how to help them. Then he wrote a book that condensed everything he'd learned into simple language that was easy to understand and apply.

On Digital Book World today, Daniel Berkowitz wrote an intriguing article about predicting a bestseller. He analyzes data and gives examples, drawing from his review on the upcoming book, The Bestseller Code, which seems to claim that an algorithm may be able to predict if a book will be a bestseller. Berkowitz marks that this process may be perfected someday, but will never be %100 accurate, simply because of the unpredictably of human taste and fashion.

This is true—what people want to buy and read will always be changing, based on fad, trend, even season of the year. It's impossible to predict what people will buy, but based on past and present best-sellers, people usually want one of two things. Come back tomorrow to see what they are.


It's easy to spend a lot of time wasting time to justify being too busy to do the things that matter; focusing on the bells and whistles instead of the engine and the brakes. And when the time comes, excuses, even though they don't satisfy anyone, are still always allowed. But, at the end of the day, having a real product to show for your work is better than a pocketful of accessories that you spent time putting in order. Like this blog. It's easy to choose a hundred different templates, fonts, colors. The look is an easy way to avoid focusing on the content. But, when it boils down, what's valuable is what it's all about and what it does, rather than what it looks like.

Introducing: A blog about what it's like to be a self-published and always publishing author, striving for success, but working towards significance.

Join me on the challenging journey of creating something that matters.