Actually, there’s a lot more than just five, but in the interest of keeping this short I’ve narrowed it down.
First, I learned that everybody and their aunt thinks it’s the coolest thing that you wrote a book. Friends and acquaintances treat you like a local celebrity. I almost started to believe it! I was like “Do you know who I am?” And the mail lady was like, “Yeah, I’ve been delivering your mail for about ten years.” You’re inundated with emails from strangers who loved your book and can’t wait for you to write your next novel. When you write the second one, people are still fascinated by it. Mostly people who don’t know you very well. Your friends are getting sick of hearing how cool people think you are when they know you for the nerd you actually are. By the third one, everyone calms down and they realize you’re not really a celebrity and resume treating you like the everyday, normal person that you are. In the end, you’re left with a small base of loyal fans who you will love forever.
Second, I learned that marketing is not easy and people who choose to go into that profession must be a glutton for punishment. The big wigs don’t pay trillions of dollars in marketing research for nothing! There’s a science to it that I’m struggling to understand. I thought, “Great, I wrote a book, got great reviews, and now people are talking about it. I’ll just sit back and let my novel be read by thousands!” It turns out that’s not how it works! Who knew? There’s nothing that makes you feel so small and insignificant as tooting your own horn to the sound of silence. It’s very awkward, and I think I’m doing it wrong. I’ve read marketing books, I’ve joined support groups for indie authors, and I’ve had some success. But it’s two steps forward, and one step back.
Third, I learned this is an emotional roller coaster ride unlike any I’ve ever taken! And I have three children! One day, things are in a slump and I’m telling my family that I’m going to take a year off and re-evaluate my choices. I’m going to try to improve my writing and give it a go another time. Then someone tags their friend on Facebook in the comments of one of my promotional posts saying “Jane Doe, this is that incredible book I was telling you about!” After I read that, I’m in my kitchen like “KIDS! Momma’s back on!” Then sales slow down and post interaction on Facebook comes to a halt, and I’m back to “I don’t know guys, maybe I’m going down the wrong path.” Then a friend does me a solid and promotes my book on her page, and someone I’ve never met comments “Oh! I’ve heard of her book. They were talking about it in a Facebook book group. They said good things.” I got that wide, toothy, creepy-clown grin on my face, turned to my kids and I’m like “People are talking about me!” Can you believe it? People were talking about my book! Then I wondered if she maybe mixed me up with somebody else. Then I was back to doubting myself. Today I’m good though. For now.
Fourth, I learned that you absolutely must have a Facebook account. Zuckerberg basically owns me. He’s got what I need, and I can’t shake that soul-less eyed, twerpy kid. I’m pretty sure his cocky-ass knows it, too. After a long love/hate relationship with Facebook, I spontaneously and quietly deleted my account. I felt free of my chains. I wanted to make a shirt that said: “Suck it Zuck.” I walked away and never looked back, for six months. I had no regrets over the deletion. I spent my newfound free time with my kids, enjoyed my summer, and continued writing novels and other short stories. Then it came time to tell everyone about my upcoming book. Do you know where everyone is? Freaking Facebook. Yeah. I tried to release the book without being on the social platform, but sales were pretty much non-existent. After rejoining the social media monster again, sales rapidly picked up. It was bittersweet. But what is the point of putting all of myself into writing a novel if nobody knows it exists?
Fifth, I’ve learned what it means to truly find your passion. Books have made such a difference in my life. The temporary escape and emotional distraction they offer literally saved my life once. It is a blessing to be able to provide this beneficial opportunity to others through the creation of my novels. I enjoy helping people relax and unwind. I love knowing that for a moment in time, I was able to entertain someone by taking them into their imagination. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do!