Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The. Worst. Book. Ever. (and ROW80 Check-in)

I wanted to spend some time this check-in examining a little place I like to call Planet Worst Book Ever in the interest of (hopefully) not getting stuck there as I work on my current WIP and deal with a book that's already out in the wild. I used to think this was a shameful place known only to me, but I've come to find out a lot of writers spend time there. That doesn't make it any more fun, but I've since discovered that these writers who've been there before me have coping skills that sometimes help if I remember to use them. This is especially important since this week I'm struggling with two things: feeling like I haven't made much progress and feeling like I don't know what I'm doing. In other words, feeling like a noob, which, with a three week old ebook, I am. 

It's easy to get sucked into an Internet whirlpool of marketing and promotion and competitive insanity that runs in tandem with the ebook revolution of the 21st Century. Sell! Tweet/Facebook/Promote all the time! It's 2 am! Do you know what your ebook is doing in Sweden right now???? No? You are going to sink into a pit of anonymous hacks and lie dying on an ash heap of self-published fools. You should have stuck with that job as an insurance rep or bank teller or con artist instead of playing make-believe in frou-frou land. Maybe there's still time. Turn back now! 

I don't spend as much time on Planet Worst Book Ever as I once did. But as mega-blockbuster bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert points out in this little talk of hers, it's a place all writers visit. This 19 min. clip is  something I watch again and again. I make my students watch it. I haven't even read her book (and don't plan to- another post, perhaps) but this is a must-see for everyone who's ever attempted a creative venture in the modern age.  (My actual check-in stats follow if you want to skip it, but it's worth the watch!)

Goals? I have less word count to report than I would like, but there is still time and I will make it, by God. I did get in about 800-1000 handwritten words on Monday, but since I set the bar at 1500, I can't count it. Nope. Four days of 1500 words each. Partial counts don't cut it. Harsh maybe but that's how I roll.

My marketing goal? I'm trying to take an educational approach. As in, watch and learn, grasshopper. There seem to be as many ways to market a book as there are to write one. Some of them seem pretty wrong for me- like the person who keeps spamming my inbox with twenty messages a day about a book I've never heard of and might have read- two hundred spam emails ago. Then there are some authors who seem really cool, with books I like, who have their own unique spins, platforms, blog tours, etc. A balance between attraction and promotion, I suppose. And nice. Be nice to people. This is important to me. I don't see how people who spread unhappiness can be happy themselves, and then what's the point?

I do have two interviews with book blogs of around 1,000 followers next week. The biggest blog contacted me out of the blue, for goodness sake. Did I mention I sometimes feel like I have no idea what I'm doing? But that's ok. 3 weeks. Baby steps. 

My other goals? Writing-related blog post? Check. Book in my genre read? Check (One Night with the Fae was awesome, Claire Farrell! Review to follow!) (So was Thirst!) Getting to know fellow ROW80ers? Check. So really, not so bad.

I generally do a lot better when I remind myself of a few things:
1. I am not my work. 
2. My work is three weeks old.
3. Chill out and watch this video. 
4. Still not convinced? Proceed as normal and check back in a few months, or better, years, before giving myself the coveted Worst. Book. Ever. Award.


  1. Oh, wow, thanks for saying that. You have officially made my day. :D

    *Pops ego with a needle and gets back to business*

    I think we all have that doubt. It's kind of crippling really, I honestly believe a lot more books would be written if people didn't doubt themselves. A lot more books might get written if there weren't instant sales reports and places for writers to hang out for weeks on end wondering if they priced their book right. ;)

    IMO, you have the best idea there regarding marketing. Learn from the mistakes of others and you'll do fine. I think too many people jump in with both feet and accidentally offend the world including people with super-long memories and it's hard to make up for that sometimes. It's not all about Twitter and being everywhere at once. Some part of it has to be enjoyable and easy-going. Okay, this isn't my blog - must shut up now.

    Congrats on the interviews btw! Going to watch that video as soon as the kids go to bed and I can actually hear. :/

  2. That's right- I forget you are several time zones back from the US Deep South. Which is really cool, because I have this thing about all "real" faeries being Irish in origin. Or rather, that Irish mythology/folk tales should serve as the starting point for my Faerie research. Yes, that sounded slightly more grown-up. Maybe.

  3. Heck, every time I open up a word processing document, the "Worst. Book. Ever." is being written. ;)

    I really enjoyed that video, too. Thanks for sharing it!

  4. I think all writers have that "worst book ever" place they go to from time to time. But we can't stay there! LOL You're doing a great job, I'm sure, so just keep going.

    One thing you mentioned, the part about being nice? That's so important. And I've met so many wonderful authors since I've been doing this indie thing. And I've had a blast!

  5. Worst book ever. LOL! My idea begins as the greatest book ever, not really :p , but I do think it's great, and then something happens. Doubt sets in. I push on anyway.

    Congrats on your 3 week old! I'm so happy for you.
    Carry on with your writing, and have a wonderful night!

  6. I just watched the video, and wow! Thank you so much for sharing it with us.