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What have I been up to lately?

Here is one way I'm different than a lot of people: I'm pretty reserved. For example, I've had some heavy duty health concerns weighing on me for over a month. I have a feeling that if I blurted them out there might be a lot of concern and sympathy, and that might even light a fire under my book sales. But, I have no plans to blurt them out. Look at it this way, I haven't even shared the news with most of my own personal friends.

Suffice to say, the process with releasing Red Sunset has been daunting because of these extenuating circumstances. The lackluster response, and very down sales, have just devastated me more than they should have. I realize in this modern, digital age it is my responsibility to market the book, and get the interest going. But in my frozen state it has been difficult for me to do it. Instead, I just sit here and mourn the fact that the book is now my lowest rated book, and people seem to delight in bashing the hell out of it.

Put in perspective, view it this way. My passion is historical romance (flawed of course, because it's medieval and it ignores actual history). My first contemporary romance, Promises and Lies, was not well received at all. My faulty "market research" is to blame for that one. I thought it was the kind of story people wanted, but....apparently it's so "poorly written" that people didn't want it after all. My next contemporary was Blue Moon. I expected...well, I really didn't know what to expect. Part of me thought it would flop like Promises and Lies did, but part of me was hopeful because it was a more solidly written offering (in my own opinion of course). Shock of shocks, when Blue Moon came out there was a raft of fantastic reviews from the review sites. I was blown away, and humbled by the glowing praise. Ecstatic is a word that comes to mind. After the bloom was off the rose, the actual readers piped in with their shouts of "Boring! Nothing Happens!" and I was knocked down a peg or two emotionally.

Now that Red Sunset is out, there's nothing. It doesn't make any bestseller lists, and has no reviews from review sites. There's one great review on GoodReads (and those kind words went a long way last week) and I received at least one nod from a fellow author that was a boost to my sagging spirits. Other GoodReads reviewers are delighting in bashing it in ways that suggest they haven't read Blue Moon first. I guess this is always an inevitability with a sequel, but the two-year-old inside me screams, "It's not fair!"

At this moment in time I'm not writing anything. I'm not working on anything. I have a whole sequel for Red Sunset lined out in notes. I'm afraid to spend six months working on it. I've also begun to revisit my sketchy notes for making Depth Perception into a full fledged story. Oddly enough, it's the cover that the wonderful Anne Cain made for Red Sunset that kick-started that project. And of course, there's always the final book in The King's Tale series to write, that one is also completely outlined.

I say this not to get sympathy, frankly I doubt anyone has continued to read this far, but there are days when I realize I'm not really cut out to be a writer. This past year my day job has taken all my energy to the point where when I get home at the end of the day my brain is mush. In all the little downtime pockets I've given up writing time for wine-tasting trips. My high sensitivity stands between me and my goals. I think about getting out there to promote myself, but then I don't end up doing it.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 27th, 2013 04:18 pm (UTC)
Hi Rowena! I just stumbled across the link to your post on Facebook. I don't know if this will help or not, but I can really relate to what you're saying on so many levels. I've suffered a lot of burn out over the past year, and I find myself constantly thinking, "I am just not cut out for this shit!" I haven't written anything since December. Sometimes it weighs on me and I feel like a failure, but other times it feels so good to just NOT worry about it, you know?

I know everybody says this, and it's easier said than done, but don't let those reviews get to you. Don't even read them, if you can help it. No matter how many good ones we get, the bad ones always seem to carry more weight in our minds, but in the end, you have accomplished something many people only dream of. (I know in our world, it often feels like *everybody* is an author. I try to remind myself that it's still only a small percentage of folks who manage to sit down and *finish* a novel, let alone go on to publish it.) I think we should both try to be proud of what we've done while trying not to let all the "shoulds" get us down.

Anyway... again, not sure that helps at all, but I wanted to say something. Hang in there! :-)
Apr. 27th, 2013 05:12 pm (UTC)
Oh...it helps a lot!

I know it's true that I shouldn't read reviews, and I'm positive that the authors who don't read them are a lot happier than I am. I feel as though my "review reactions" have evolved over time. In the beginning I let all the negative reviews defeat me. At this point in my career, I read them and shrug them off. I think they bother me for this particular release because a) they're pretty much all bad, and b) the unknown nature of my personal situation. It never hurts to have someone tell me to ignore the reviews, particularly when it's someone I trust and admire.

While I know other writers feel this way, I'm really thankful to the ones like you who can show solidarity by admitting that it happens to all of us. In that twisted way, it does make me feel better. So, yes, your response helps quite a lot!

Thank you!
Apr. 27th, 2013 06:57 pm (UTC)
I can only write from the readers' perspective, because my attempts at publishing my poetry have come to naught (perhaps they never will. . .)

I consider you a dear friend, even though we have only met & chatted online. I really enjoy your works, but since I'm a lowly reader without a promoted review site, I know what I write/say/whatever doesn't come across at all on a noticeable level. I cannot stand GoodReads AT ALL, but it is one place where I can list my books and link them to my personal blog on my own. With my limited time with 'life', I don't really take the time to promote myself, and with the discouragement of publishing my poetry, I haven't written anything new in over 9 months.

I know with your personal situation you alluded to, the reviews that seem to be coming up recently have seemed to hit you hard. HUGS HUGS HUGS!!! I don't read book reviews hardly at all, ESPECIALLY on GoodReads---otherwise, I'm afraid I would abscond from the GLBTQ/M/M community all together. There are people who are just, well, asinine and ugly, who have nothing else to do in their lives than tear others down, and seek out how many people they can devour to make themselves look important/learned/whatever. I can understand why you don't want to talk about your personal situation---please know that I'm keeping you in my thoughts and prayers, everyday, and that's no joke or lame promise!

I am proud to know you as a friend, and equally as proud that my friend is an AUTHOR :) That makes me smile! As Marie Sexton said above, please hang in there! (easier said than done, since I'm not in the line of fire)

Please excuse my poor rambling words & HUGS again,

Apr. 27th, 2013 11:22 pm (UTC)
Hi...I'm glad to call you friend too!

I don't hold my finger on the pulse of whether my books are good or bad by reading GoodReads reviews of course. I guess because it's an easy site to access I do tend to look at it every now and then, especially when I have a new book out. I don't try to apologize for the desire to look at GR, or explain why I do it. It's just that I've gotten to the point where I'm more amused by the bad reviews instead of angry about them. I'm annoyed that the bad reviews for this new book are from people who haven't read the first one, because really Red Sunset relies a lot on the story line laid out in Blue Moon. So, it's aggravating to see people dismiss the book because storylines aren't fleshed out...I didn't want to beat the readers who read them in the correct order over the head with certain facets of what make Brad and Scott what they are.

Oh well...I try not to say "never"...who knows maybe one day you will be published! And regardless of whether you are or not, your opinion means a lot to me, so your reviews would mean a lot to me too.

Thanks for your vote of support! *hugs*
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )