One sunny June morning, I googled my name. To be honest, I don’t know why I did it. But I did.
What I saw woke me faster than half a pot of coffee. At the top of the list, a web site offered free copies of my book. The one I launched six weeks prior. Sales of this book were slower than anything I’d ever experienced. I thought it was because people were out at the beach, hiking mountains, and spending the summer with their family.
Lo and behold two thousand copies had been downloaded. Apparently, there is a code of honor among pirates because it had 900 four and five-star reviews.
In despair, I toggled between the Amazon screen where I had eight reviews and this pirate site for several minutes…like the owner of the site would sense my despair and have a change of heart. No, they had a list of books that would be uploaded in the coming days. As if it would make me feel better to know in pirate libraries my book was beside USA Today bestsellers.
I handled it in the best way I knew how. I shut down. The storyteller may soften her voice, but she never fades completely. Story beginnings woke me in the middle of the night. For days, I stewed over a way a character responded to a situation. Eventually, the untold stories forced their way to the surface. Remember that video, I posted six months ago. It was because I was afraid of what would happen if I shared a print version of the story.
Six months later, my confidence has returned. What happened? I have a small group of amazing people on my reader team. Unbeknownst to them, their voices muffled the sense of defeat. Some came in the form of anger with what a character had done, other times it was to tell me that a comma was out of place. Most of the time it was to share their appreciation for a clean story. (Remind me to tell you about chesty book story that never got written) I wrote to please them. And, guess what, my writing improved. I know because they sent short notes commenting on the improvement of my style.
So this blog post is dedicated to you the reader; the person who sits beside me in the space between the cover image and the back page summary. Thank you for sharing the story experience with me. It means more than I can express.
Next weekend, I’ll write about the chesty book story that never got written.