Last week, I tried a little experiment. I wanted to test out how many eBooks I could sell on a $0.99 promotion week with a different eBook Advertising site every day. The goals were simple–make back the cost of the ad–and it was a chance to see if I could make a paid bestseller list and get that little flag of approval from Amazon.
Yep, you read that right, I’ve never made the paid bestseller list of Amazon. Nor have I ever broken 100 eBooks sold in a month (well, now I did, but more on that later). To boot, last month was the first time I a) gave myself a paycheck and b) made over $100 in eBook sales (though those sales won’t get paid for another 45 days).
And when I go to celebrate these milestones, I find myself thinking “Oh lord, what will people think?”
Like they’ll say, “Why hasn’t she done this already?”
“She said she’s writing full-time, so why isn’t she making more?”
The Ugly Truth
The truth of the matter is, I’m writing full time because I have a lot of savings + very little monthly expenses. For me, it was more important to get out from under the stress of consulting and take a few months off. And despite all the evidence to the contrary, I’ve actually been taking it easy. I also wanted to try my hand a freelancing and have discovered that I do not like it.
As well, I kind of also thought that things would take off a little more than they have. Don’t get me wrong, there’s been a marked improvement in ebook sales since Conviction came out, and then Fusion, but these numbers aren’t enough to support even my low requirements.
BUT STILL – last month was the first time I ever broke $100 for eBook sales. And this month…
Celebrate, Even if I Don’t Want To
So that’s two major milestones hit in two months. I kind of hit the top 100 in the wrong genre (in what universe is Empath a kid’s book?), but it never got higher than the high 60’s. But hey, that’s higher than it’s ever been before, so I’m going to take that win.
I’ve always suffered from too-high expectations of myself and of what is feasible in reality. Publishing is a marathon, not a sprint. And I have to accept that I’m still at mile 10 and I’m running just as fast as my body and the universe will allow. The race isn’t over, and it doesn’t matter if I finish it in 4:40 or 5:37:40 (my fastest marathon pace). It doesn’t matter how quickly I meet the milestones, as long as I’m meeting them. The only person I’m competing with is the person I was yesterday.
I need to hang that on my wall…
EDIT: I hung it on my wall:
Congratulations! Celebrate away, dear, that’s a huge milestone for your brand and business. I was talking with a friend last week about self-publishing, and she’d said she heard that most self-published authors start seeing real, established sales once they have 4/5 books out in the wild, and it certainly looks like you’re on the right track to me. Your persistence is paying off, and it’s absolutely wonderful seeing you have the ability to discover what you want in a career, as well as what you don’t want.
I’m so proud of you!
Here’s the thing: I no longer measure myself by the “self-published” stick, which probably has something to do with my expectations being a bit too lofty. I want to do well, period. But again, there’s that “expectations vs. feasibility” part coming in 😉
Well, bottom line is: everyone has those secret lofty desires and expectations, but the ones who are likely to succeed are those who superimpose those with the kind of realistic expectations that they’re more likely to achieve; that way, there’s no crushing disappointment, because, hey, you’ll reach your goals a lot more quickly, which gives you the confidence boost and experience you need to keep going, and keep succeeding at those dreams.
Not to say those secret lofty desires won’t ever come true, but you know it’ll take time and effort to get there 😉
Absolutely! Agree on all counts.