Sunday, April 17, 2011

Success is a Sackful of Angry Kittens

I feel as if I've been beaten with a sackful of angry kittens. I wasn't- I promise. No kittens were harmed in the writing of this post. Nor was I, for that matter. Just, wow. What a week. Thank goodness I got so much done earlier. This ROW80 update is a bit stream-of-consciousness for a variety of reasons that should become sadly obvious. Let me say at the start: Congrats to Susan for landing an agent! Happy dance and felicitations!
ROW80 goals, week 2:
Four writing intensive days (or editing as needed), book reviewed, blog, marketing, all check!
      Monday: something crazy like 4000+ words. My book has been climbing steadily in the rankings, something I try not to think about because it makes me feel alternately sick and a bit like a child playing dress-up. My daughter asks: "What are you going to do if it hits above the 1000 rank?" "Throw up and pass out," I tell her. "At the same time?" she wants to know. I do not respond because I fear the answer.
      Tuesday: 2000+ words. Sometime in here I got in a reading and review- Finding Sky by Joss Stirling. It's up on Goodreads. I'm not sure it was today but I'll put it down because I count these things in weeks anyway. Right now I'm working my way through Blue by Lou Aronica. It's slow going, thank goodness. I've got too much to do to be reading.
      Wednesday: another 2000ish words; then I did my backwards outline. Then I came back out late and wrote another 500 very tortured words. Should have quit when I was ahead- I do not do well writing when I'm tired. All I managed to do was frustrate myself and ensure a grumpy, sleep-deprived Thursday. Oh, and there's some marketing stuff in here somewhere too. Wrote @ that last blog.
      Thursday: see notes @ Wed. So I did some editing and tried to help a stressed-out Daniel however I could. Fri is the fancy dinner; Sat. is the big show. D goes to another festival meeting. I edit like a mad fool.
      Friday: I wake up to find my book has broken the Amazon top 1000 rank. It peaks in the 720s. It breaks into the top 20 categories in 3 of my favorite genres with some of my favorite authors, Indie or otherwise: Amanda Hocking, Susan Bischoff, Kait Nolan, Stacey W. Benefiel, Sherrilyn Kenyon, J.R. Ward. H.P. Mallory, Stephenie Meyer. These authors have been my definition of writerly success for a long time now: some because they're selling books, others because they're very skilled, some because they're happy with the choices they've made. No way do I count myself among their number. It is neat to see my little book on the same lists, in the top 20s, if only for a minute or two. But that's all it is: a lung-twisting moment of coolness. I put on a nice shirt and go to a fundraiser dinner in a very snazzy pickle factory.
      Saturday: Indie Music Fest. D, of course, is there at dawn. I pause in my child wrangling duties to check my email and rankings. I'm still in the top 20s. For no good reason at all, I start snapping at people to hurry up, we're keeping semi-famous musicians waiting. It's a bit of a ride to the festival. I remember a conversation I had with my husband, one of many: if my book continues to sell even remotely this well, I can write for a living. Soon. "Make writing your first priority," he's been telling me for weeks. At the festival, Daniel finds me hyperventilating and crying over the steering wheel. "What's wrong?" he asks. "Did your rankings go up?" He has been waiting for this, telling me to expect it. I've been brushing him off. I have one little 3 1/2 month old book. No way did I expect this. No way does this feel real. I spend the rest of Saturday throwing myself into the festival like it's Woodstock or something. I really don't want to think about it anymore.
      Except I do. I'm painfully shy, especially by performer's standards. So I wait until twilight to slip up to one of my favorites. Bingham Barnes reminds me of a darkly bearded, bass-playing buddha. He's famous for profound statements like, "I'm leaving for fifteen minutes, and I'm not coming back." He taunts me about my book and, to my surprise, I feel much better. First, he accuses me of writing "a Twilight book." Clearly he's not a writer and has no idea what grave sin he's just committed, but being Bingham he wouldn't care anyway so there's no point in either taking offense or forgiving him. Then he mocks me when I correct him by clarifying: "No, I wrote a YA Paranormal." His eyes take on a wicked Loki gleam. "Ooh, a para-normal." He makes it sound like a naughty carnival ride. I have only one come back: "Oh yeah? Well my main character listens to your band in chapter two of this Twilight para-normal book. So there." But he's relentless. Him: "So you must feel pretty good about your first book, huh?" Me: "I don't know, Bingham. It's not supposed to do this well. It's kinda scary." Him: "What are you gonna do when your second one sells even better?" Me: "I don't know. It probably won't happen." Him: "What are you gonna do when they make it into a movie?" Me: "Shut the hell up! You're not helping, so quit making fun of me, ok?" Bingham runs away like a creature of the night, but not before I feel better.
      He's reminded me: Don't take myself too damn seriously, and I usually do ok.
      Sunday: We're out of coffee. I'm feeling the effects of the (imaginary) sack of angry kittens attack. Plus pondering what "success" looks like for an Indie writer. Selling 1,000 books a month? Check. Being able to support myself writing? Pretty darn close. Having people write and tell me they like my book? Yep, that's pretty cool. But truthfully, I have no idea. Right now, success looks like, "Not imaginary." Whatever that means. I suspect taking things on a day by day basis is a good idea. Especially today.


  1. stacey wallace benefielApril 17, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    Awesome post, lady. Be proud of yourself! I've never gotten below 1000. Okay, I'll be proud of you for you.:) It is so surreal when things are going well. When the thing that you weren't going to let yourself think about happening does. Yeah, best to play it cool and take it day by day...with random spaz attacks. ;) Two days 'til Darkness?

  2. Woo hoo!! Congratulations, girl! That's fantastic!

  3. Thanks ladies who have been the bar of successful for a long time now! Hopefully I'm done spazzing for a while. Rankings come and go. And yes, there's always that next book to get out. Eeeek!

  4. Yahoo!! You're post makes me so happy! Even if I didn't have anything to do with it (well, I did buy a copy) I am thrilled that another indie success!

  5. Ha, I kind of know how you feel...last week Jenny Pox was fluctuating between #500 and #700, and I barely had any internet access because of lightning that destroyed my modem (along with my computer). It was probably a good time not to have internet access, or I wouldn't have gotten much else done..

  6. @ JL- I remember checking your ranking and seeing Jenny at #666. It was awesome! I felt so proud and devilish at the same time. I wish I had taken a screen shot. Sucks about the lightning though. The Southeast is getting slammed this spring.

  7. Sorry about the massively crap weather y'all are having down there. Since when do you get so much, er, Minnesota-ish (emphasis on ISH) weather???!

    Good stress is still stress, though - I'd have tipped over hyperventilating by now!! Right now, though, my definition of success would be getting my 3 yr. old daughter to eat actual food!

    Your progress is astonishing and fabulous - GO YOU!!!!