Author Doubt / Update
|July 8, 2016||Posted by Cambria under Uncategorized|
I haven’t written anything since #Swag released last month.
That sentence was easy to type, but I swear the earth shook beneath me when I wrote it. I had a “schedule” planned out, dates picked out for upcoming releases – I’ve blown that schedule all to hell because I haven’t written anything in several weeks.
The final book in the GearShark series, #BLUR (Arrow’s book) I planned to release later this month. I’m still on chapter one.
Actually, baring the Hashtag Series announcement I just made, my release schedule is shifted around even more, so Arrow might be frozen on Ch. 1 for a little longer yet.
I figured I would sit down and write out this post as an update/what’s coming from me soon… and honestly, as a person sitting down and talking to her readers/peers.
It seems like more than a “here’s what’s coming post”. It feels like maybe I owe an explanation for my “absence” even though really I haven’t been that absent.
I’ve still been sending out newsletters, posting on social media and working on a few new rebranding things (check out the new header for this website!) and adding some things to jazz up my fan club. I also traveled to Nashville for UtopiaCon where I signed books, had a photoshoot (for an upcoming book) and won some awards. Four awards to be exact (we’ll get to that).
#Swag released last month (June) so I’ve been promoting that as well.
But, I still feel absent.
So why, even in the midst of work, do I feel like I haven’t been around? Because in my heart I haven’t been.
I feel like sometimes it’s good to be “real”, sometimes getting online and posting banging promo’s and pretty words all the time sets a precedent. Actually I know it does. I saw/heard evidence of it at Utopia.
That’s not a complaint in the least, a precedent is good. A positive reputation is good. This is just something I noticed and have really been thinking about lately. I think it might be good to see the person behind the brand, behind the books, behind the “success”.
So if you want to see that, keep reading. If you don’t, you can stop here. Lol. OR you can skip down to my release order/plans for the year and then skedaddle.
2016 has been a hard year in publishing for me. From what I hear, it’s been a hard year in publishing for everyone. As I spoke to people at Utopia, I realized it really isn’t just me, it’s a whole lot of us and basically the industry as a whole.
A lot of people in our community (Not ALL people, but some authors and readers alike) view me as “on top” right now. I just won Author of the Year, Best contemporary book of the year (#Heart), Best Book Trailer of the Year (#Nerd) and Best contemporary series of the year (Hashtag series, 2nd year in a row).
Here’s the thing though, I haven’t felt like I am on top. I don’t consider myself some big name or brand. In fact, I’ve felt discouraged, beaten down, tired and worn out. While in Nashville, I spoke on a panel about Self Doubt. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t too keen on speaking on that panel. Know why? Because I felt like I was going to have to tell people how to overcome self-doubt, but I have no idea how. I struggle with it every day.
So I said that. I was honest about it. I was terrified I would sound whiny and negative. I was worried I would sound discouraging. I’m worried about sounding that way now. I’m not whining and trying to be negative, I’m just being honest about my state of mind in the business right now. It’s hard to be that honest about something when it almost makes you feel ashamed for feeling that way.
I won awards, I have great covers, a solid following on social media. I’m successful. I shouldn’t feel discouraged and tired. I should be grateful.
I am grateful. So much. But here’s the thing. Having “success” doesn’t make you confident. At least not me. If anything it puts on some added pressure.
When I won those awards I was so happy inside because 1) I feel like it’s some kind of acknowledgement for all the work I’ve done and to be frank, I feel like I haven’t gotten much of it (in the sense of rankings, lists, etc.). 2) If I can win awards then anyone can.
Also, at the same time, there is a voice in the back of my head telling me there are people who think I don’t deserve those awards. People who are mad I won them. (No one has said this to me, its just a voice in my head).
And also, people who feel bad about themselves because I won. People who feel discouraged, that maybe they will never get to my “level of success”. This bothers me more than anything because I know what it’s like to be discouraged, didn’t I just say I’m there now? I would never want to be the cause of that for someone else.
So let me just tell you:
I’m scared my best series is the Hashtag and Gearshark Series and I will never write anything as great again. I’m scared I will and no one will notice it. I’m scared my last book is my best book that will ever capture that “magic”. I’m scared all the marketing and work I’ve done for the last 5 years will be for nothing and somehow I will fade away into a forgotten author, my books will fade away into the shadows.
I feel at times no matter how hard I work; it will never be hard enough. Sometimes in all honesty I think the universe works against me.
If I’m “so successful” why don’t I have an agent? A big book deal? A movie? A TV series? Why haven’t I hit NYT or USA Today bestseller lists? Why can’t I make it into the top 100 on amazon?
Yeah, I have a lot of followers on Facebook, but that doesn’t always translate into sales.
As someone once said in response to the open letter I wrote to BN, no one cares about my opinion because I have no agent, no deals and no titles. I’m just whiny because I don’t get my way.
Side note: I don’t agree with that. Lol. But however, hateful comments sometimes DO prey on our own deepest fears about ourselves, right?
Then there’s been the copying. I’m not making this a thing right now. I’m not outing anyone and I’m not calling anyone out. But it’s there for me, so I’m mentioning it.
I’ve seen/read quite a few books that are basically copies of #Nerd. No, I’m not talking plagiarism. I’m talking straight up copying. Same plot, same characters, same style of chapter heading (BuzzBoss)… etc (it goes beyond a jock and nerd theme). I see some marketing being copied, etc. Again, not talking anyone specific or anything. That drags me down, because it’s hard to sometimes see something copied do well or get good response and me feel ripped off.
#Swag was super stressful to release, behind the scenes. I swear if it could go wrong it did.
Basically guys, I’ve gotten tired. Worn down, discouraged.
Sales are down for a lot of us right now. Lots of factors go in to it but I’ll skip that stuff and just tell you, sales are down now. This business is like a rollercoaster up and down, up and down.
The down has hit a lot of us hard these days because it’s hard to go from up to a steep down so fast. It makes you question yourself, your ability to write, to market, to sell.
It makes you question your confidence.
Around the time I released #Swag whenever I sat down at my laptop to work I would cry. I know, I’m ridiculous.
But really, it was a sign that I needed a break. I didn’t want to take one, because again, what if my absence means people forget? There are SO many books and authors out there, keeping any kind of place in this world of books is kind of like grasping onto a wobbly branch on the side of the mountain while you dangle off it over a bottomless pit.
Dramatic much? Well, I am a writer.
So I kind of called a truce with myself. Well, half truce, half bargain.
I cancelled two upcoming book signings. I didn’t want to do it and I still feel really bad about it. But I had too. I’m tired, overwhelmed and honestly I just want to stay home with my new puppy. (LOL)
I decided to take a break from writing instead of pushing myself to sit at my laptop a million hours a day and pound out my next book. But I still had to market some, I still had a book signing (Utopia), and I would still think plots, etc.
It’s been nice in a sense, to not be pounding at the keyboard so much. Nice to see my kids more, to be “clear-headed” and not trying to exist in two worlds (the real one and the one I’m writing).
Am I any less discouraged?
I think more than anything, I’m less exhausted.
And I realized I’d misplaced something that had gotten me to where I am today with my career.
I can’t (we can’t) let the thoughts that prey on our confidence stop us from doing something we love. Something we really want to do.
It’s so easy to look around the internet and see what other people are doing, the success they are achieving and feel like maybe our own success is lacking somehow.
Take it from me, most people (I said most, not all) think I am doing amazing right now. I won’t argue, things are good. My readers are no lie the BEST. My readers literally keep me going a lot of days. But I still struggle. I still wish I was doing better.
So I took a break. Tried to recharge. Blew a deadline.
I’m worried my career might take a hit because of it. But it won’t. You know why?
Because I didn’t quit. I don’t give up. I told the voices in my head to shut the hell up.
Well not all of them. I told the characters they could talk.
I might never hit a list, get an agent or see a movie deal. I might never see my paperbacks distributed on Barnes and Noble bookshelves. That doesn’t make me less than. And it doesn’t mean I should stop trying.
It will make every little victory even tastier.
At least I’ll know I’m stronger than any of the self-doubt that tries to take me down.
And hey, now I know I can still write something because I just wrote this hella long blog post. Which honestly, I hope if you are struggling right now (in this business or even just in life with work, family or the way you look and feel) that you got something out of it and something out of my transparency. You aren’t alone with your doubt, or your struggles. Everyone deals with it, knowing that is half the battle.
As I mentioned, I originally planned to release #Blur and then #Bae. I’ve known I’m doing #Bae for a while, I haven’t wanted to announce because it means making you guys wait. But since I did the photo shoot in Nashville – and if you follow me on snapchat you saw my snap- people there asked and I answered. So, YES. I am writing the baby book you all have wanted for so long. I literally get asked for this book every day. It’s quite intimidating because I want to live up to the first 7 books in this series and make it be great.
I always planned to have #Bae out by fall so since the photo shoot inspired me, because Good Lord, you guys. I was in the same room with Romeo and Rimmel (Nathan and Jeddah) at the same time. I cried. I cried and put on sunglasses to try and hide the fact I was crying. Then I went back to my room and cried. (no lie I swear I’m turning into a blubbering baby).
(behind the scenes of our Nashville photo shoot. photo cred: Nathan Weller)
They are so perfect and seeing them beside each other was like someone reaching into my head and pulling out my thoughts and plunking them in front of me. It was my favorite thing I did in Nashville.
Anyway, because of that inspiration and the fact I really want to have this book out this fall, I am writing #Bae before #Blur (#Blur is GearShark #4 – Arrow’s book).
I figured you might not get so mad that I am swapping them because I know you guys love Romeo. Lol.
However, I WILL still be doing Arrow’s book. I already have the cover and Oh My Word. That’s all I’ll say about that.
Arrow is in my head patiently waiting…. And I won’t let him wait for long.
So we are looking at #Bae, then #Blur.
I had another book planned for the end of the year (unannounced) and I will still try to get it out, if not it will be after the holidays.
I do apologize for cancelling 2 book signings this year. I feel bad about it, but I want to focus on the books. The writing and taking care of that business.
I do still have 2 events this year I will be attending. One in August in Michigan and one in California, the first weekend of October.
2017 my events are booked. I will be in NYC, New Orleans, Las Vegas, and Nashville. I have an invite back to California so I may add that. We’ll see. You can see all of my scheduled events on my event page HERE.
I get asked about overseas signings a lot. I’ve been invited to several, but at this time I cannot swing it. With two kids, a house, pets, it’s hard for me to travel that far right now. I do want to at some point, so it’s a possibility but at this time it’s not in my near future.
So yes, books are coming. Slower than I planned, but life happens I suppose. Until then I will share teasers, keep you updated and you can catch up on any books of mine you haven’t read (like what I did there? #ShamelessSelfPromotion).
Whew! We made it! If you’ve read to this point you deserve a medal.
Thank you for all the support, I truly do appreciate it.
If you have any other burning questions, feel free to leave them below and I will answer!