After watching Brene Brown’s Ted Talks, other videos, and reading her books, I’ve decided to just be vulnerable (which isn’t my strong suit) and say that I’m dealing with a bit of disappointment over here.
The world of being an independent author is not always kind, nor is it always fun.
My latest book, Little Milestones, a follow-up book to Inn Significant, is not faring well at all on Amazon. I have two reviews. I work hard busting my butt on Instagram and Facebook to try to ascertain readers and ask for help with reviews online, but it can be tiring. Exhausting. It can depress the soul, to be frank.
Researcher Brene Brown states the following: “There is nothing more vulnerable than creativity, and what is art if it’s not love? And there’s a difference between the perspiration from doing the work and the perspiration from fear.”
If you’ve never had to dig down deep inside of yourself to venture into that space that requires utter courage to put your work out there, you should try it sometime. The blinding, hard work that goes into making your art—fiction and nonfiction, paintings, sculptures, poetry, design, etc.—can wreak havoc on your soul, unless you are brave enough to withstand the potential outcome of failure, criticism, or mockery.
Clearly, I’m a glutton for punishment.
Little Milestones required hours of writing, rewriting, revamping, scrutinizing the characters, eliminating a character’s outcome at the last minute, and visits back and forth to St. Michaels to get the story right. I’m desperate not to let my readers down. And while the verbal feedback I’ve received has been positive, I’ve yet to see additional reviews on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
The reason the Amazon reviews are so important is because the more reviews you get, the higher your book goes in the cue to be seen and to be visible by other customers buying books on Amazon. If there are few reviews, you stay hidden, and the only hope of resurfacing your book in the vast cue of novels out there rests in the hands of your readers: the ones who can give you a quick review and move on with their lives. We, the authors, on the other hand, have trouble moving on with our lives when the work we poured our heart and soul into remains in the labyrinth of an overwhelming number of books.
Reading Brene Brown’s books (Dare to Lead and Braving the Wilderness) has offered me ways to cope with the disappointment I’m feeling at the moment and to look for ways to find the courage next time around (if I even go there another time around). That’s the hard part. Even though I’ve published five works of fiction, it never gets any easier to find the courage to do it again.
Tomorrow, I will meet with my newly established writing group—five people with whom I just met who are also fellow writers. I’m hoping that through the connection with them and working with them, I will be able to embrace the vulnerability and accept the role writing plays in my life, whether the outcomes of putting my work out there are fulfilling or disappointing.
For anyone feeling the same way, this video definitely helped me. Check it out here:
Stephanie Verni is Professor of Communication at Stevenson University. She has authored five works of fiction and one academic text on Event Planning. Her character-driven books are typically set in Maryland to showcase the beauty of her state. Connect with her on Instagram at stephanie.verni or on Twitter at @stephverni. Or, visit her Amazon page at Stephanie Verni, Author.