Am I balanced or coming apart at the seams? We whisper in hallways about what works and what doesn't. What the hot genres are and what is dead (like vampires) - except some are doing fabulously well. I've begun to worship outliers, people who do things differently. I'm a free thinker, so I thought this might be easy for me. It's exhausting.
I think I liked writing more when I didn't know what the heck I was doing. Someone told me that when you're new, you don't have to worry about fans, visibility (except on retail platforms). You begin your long slow climb to branding, unless you have a smash hit, and then you can hire that be done. Every day I see smart authors and extremely dumb ones. And you know what? I learn from both.
Now I get to worry about also-buys and re-covering previously loved book covers because they aren't "with it." I've grown my newsletter up to nearly 30k, which is great, except now I'm obsessed with the NL "heatmap" and how many clicks and conversions I make. We're installing evergreen links on my website to track ads I never used to run. We test the market. We sign up in droves to take seminars on FB marketing, and then jump in by the hundreds, all competing for the same dollar.
I never felt this much competition before. I thought competition was bad in real estate, when I did that. Whoa! Nellie! Just when I master something, something else comes along. I'm way behind deleting old emails and files I never want to look at. I want to stay relevant, get my new releases out there more effectively, along with the other two thousand romance authors who also have a new release the same week.
But as busy as I am as an author, the readers are just as busy. I find reviewers are full, ARC and Beta readers are harder to get and even harder to return the reviews in a timely manner. My reader group, Sharon Hamilton's Rockin Romance Readers is growing respectfully. But readers and bloggers I meet at signings are in some twenty "groups". I would imagine that a PA who worked for multiple authors would have their entire day taken up with facebook posts. I belong to nearly 50 groups and I probably need to delete all but about 20 of them.
I went through my fans page, because I was maxed out at 5000, searching for someone I could delete. After I made a mistake and deleted someone I shouldn't have, I scrolled down the page for another face I'd not seen for a long time. Of the 5000 people I scrolled through, I was shocked to learn by the time I got to 3000, I knew everyone and something about them.
I feel like one of those multiplex boxes with the in and out portals to give and receive energy, hopefully in equal proportions so I don't get fried. These portals tightly latch on to chargers of information, and yes, the dreaded drama occasionally. I've listened to people who have the secrets, and others who say they have the secrets but they'll only tell a select group of 1000 if they pay some $600. Be the first to sign up. Get connected and get going. I've paid thousands of dollars for advice, taken it and it worked some of the time, many times not working at all. I've guessed, begged for answers, stopped and started a new routine nearly every month. In the end, nothing works, but writing.
Maybe it's the election. Maybe it's the stars. Maybe we look for meaning in our over shares. There has to be a limit to how many likes we give and receive in a day. And I don't check my FB feed to find out what other people who are friends of mine have thought was interesting and shared or commented on. I have a label over my "Notifications" because I know how to stop the noise, but not the little orange box that tells me something urgent is going on in my world. Everyone is so busy, busy, busy connecting to as many other people as possible. Trying to find that gold mine of readers so we don't have to work so hard.
I'm reminded of what Mark Twain once said about writers. "The difference between a writer and a published writer is a published writer writes until he gets published."
Or maybe, just maybe, I should just shut up and go back to finishing my book. Oh darn! Could it really be that easy?
Here's to a new day! Make it your best ever. Only you are counting all the sparkly things, and you get to count your imagination too.