I'm most recently a writer. In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot. As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades. An unwilling transplant from the South, twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US. Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect. When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do. Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!
Monday, April 29, 2013
And then I remember that only a short time ago, no one, not one single soul, had ever read a word I'd written. As recently as last October, Stani and Emily's love story had never ignited anyone's imagination and Valley Rise was unheard of. While my readers may still be a somewhat select group, their ranks are growing each month. As I've said before here, I've given away several thousand copies of Hearts Unfold to date, which is exciting in a perverse sort of way. (I mean, no writer, not even a closeted one, ever spent grueling months at the keyboard with the intention of just giving her books away!) But the fact is, Entreat Me Not, the second book in the series, is my best and most consistent seller. And there is only one reason for anyone to buy it--they finished their free copy of Hearts Unfold and wanted more! There's the thrill, the prize, the reward for my efforts and the thing that keeps my spirits up regardless of the total at the bottom of the column.
There's one more thing that's happening with increasing regularity and believe me, it's the biggest thriller of all. Every so often, when I open up my sales report page on KDP, all the numbers (except for Hearts Unfold) have increased by one. When I check the ranking of each book--that's the number that reflects it's position in the Kindle Book Store--each of them changes in the same hour. This can only mean one thing--somewhere, someone finished reading Hearts Unfold and decided to download all of the other titles! I squeal, I bounce in my desk chair, I pump the air with a "Yes!" and I tell the first person I see, which is usually my husband/editor or my son/cover designer and we do a little mental happy dance around the room.
So what if I'm not a "Bestselling Author" or making enough money to quit my day job (which I probably wouldn't do anyway, because I like my job) or even pulling in a lot of reviews? For a woman who never planned for anyone to read her "scribbles," the knowledge that someone enjoyed the story enough to come back for more is about as good as it gets. Would I like to sell more? You bet! Do I constantly look for ways to promote the books and reach more readers? Oh yes! Do I worry that the numbers will go down instead of up and one day soon dry up completely? I'm afraid so. But at the end of each month, I'm so grateful for every one of those sales, for each one of those readers and for the possibility of reaching more in the month to come, that the numbers don't really matter. What matters is that out there somewhere, for a few hours, someone traveled to a place that doesn't exist, spent time with people who never lived and found something to enjoy in the process. That's what books do, after all, and that's what those of us who try to write them dream of accomplishing.