Over the past several weeks I’ve been fighting this intense internal battle. Throughout my life, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to achieve certain amounts of success in life. I have a great wife, fantastic kids, a nice house, and make a decent living at my day job. No, my day job isn’t my dream job, and isn’t something I want to do for the rest of my life, but it pays the bills and gives me and the family some opportunities we might not otherwise have.
Back in 2013 I embarked on this new journey…this journey as a writer. The first novel came fast and furious, and about a year later I had an assembled, edited, and prepared manuscript. Something I was exceptionally proud of and something I wanted everyone to share in.
So began the agent query process. As I said, I feel very fortunate for the opportunities I’ve had, and all told, I have a good life. No complaints. But this was a new goal. Something new I desperately wanted to achieve.
And the rejections started coming in. In fact, those rejections haven’t stopped yet. Along with my novel, I’ve submitted several short stories to anthologies, all in the hopes of clinging to that mythical ledge of “published author”.
In August of this year, I gave up the agent queries (for the most part) and plunged head first into self publishing, creating my own publishing company and taking that manuscript I was so proud of to the world! And the world returned in kind.
My fortunate life extends to a very generous and gregarious circle of friends who I am exceptionally thankful for. To date, I’ve sold several copies of my novel, and I feel fairly certain 90% of them went to good friends who are supporting me through this, and I’m so thankful for that. But the widespread interest simply isn’t there. At this point I have four Kindle Worlds G.I. Joe themed novels (which interestingly are doing pretty darn well, sales wise) and my own novel, The Fog of Dreams, which is, well…kinda just dragging along there.
So the doubt begins to take hold, and the frustration rises. I am so certain that if folks would give my novel a chance they would enjoy it. I’m an avid reader as well as writer, of course, and no bullshit, I strongly believe my novel is good. Really good. The trick is, convincing others of that.
But I realized something. I realized that I didn’t pick up my virtual pen and start writing because I want to make money at it (though that would be nice, of course). I started writing because I had stories to tell, and I wanted to tell them. That has not changed. In fact, I wager that feeling is stronger than ever now, and I think part of my frustration lies in the fact that I’m trying to tell these stories and more people aren’t listening.
But the joy is in the telling. After taking a few weeks off, last night I dipped back into Book Two of Operation: Harvest, and rekindled some love. The first draft is done and I’m mostly in the second revision polish stages now before getting it off to the editor. And for those two hours last night while I was digging through my manuscript, I forgot all about the sales numbers of The Fog of Dreams, and the relative silence beyond my circle of incredible friends. I forgot it all and put the keys to the keyboard because I still have stories to tell, and even if nobody is hanging around to listen to them, I’m still going to tell them.
I am a writer, after all.