That collective groan and gnashing of teeth you heard Wednesday was the sound of authors reacting to Amazon’s new Author Ranking System—oh joy!—yet one more tool for us to compare ourselves to others. And for any of us trying to separate our selves from our writing? Well, you can just forget about that.
So this seemed like a good time to talk about writers and disappointment. For while writing is one of the most rewarding pursuits in the world, publishing can be a long, slow, painful slog toward the pit of despair, and you can quickly find yourself in the soul sucking land of Major Disappointment. And guess what? This disappointment applies equally to pre-published, traditionally published, and indie published authors alike, so I guess that’s the upside: egalitarianism!
The thing is, we writers are so very good at telling stories—even (or especially) to ourselves. We knew that we were going to be different. We were not going to need 10,000 hours or ten years. We were absolutely positively certain our career was going to be one big meteoric trajectory.
We knew that we would immediately hear back from all fifty agents we queried, and when our manuscript went out for the first time, a hot bidding war would ensue. Oh, we knew we weren’t going to hit the #1 spot on the NY Times list first time out, but we also knew that we would never languish in the midlist, or have our book go OP after only thirteen months.
And not only was Hollywood going to come knocking, but Spielberg or J J Abrams would be making the call personally.
Also? We’d be the very first person to win the Newberry and the Prinz and the National Book Award, all for the very same book! (Talk about genre bending!)
But then, with a great big confidence-shattering crunch, we find ourselves back on Planet Reality, blinking in surprise as the dust of our rosy dreams floats ash-like all around us. [Read more…]