Dealing With the Book Baby Blues

After months, or even years of incubating, brainstorming, plot forming, typing away your days, and sacrificing precious morsels of your life for the greater good of your project, you put the finishing touches to your book baby and sent it out through Amazon’s birth canal…

Now what?

If you’re like me, it goes a bit like this:

*Rides tsunami publishing high for 24-48 hours*

*Refreshes Amazon every 3-5 minutes to check ranking*

*Until that moment when the numbers start to get bigger again*

*rank plummets as if book baby were an anchor in the Mariana Trench*

*cue depression, self-loathing, heavy drinking perhaps, followed by tantrums, whining, tears, more drinking, etc*

Somewhere around a week postpartum, suddenly, that shiny and new, precious lil book cherub starts to keep you up at night. You feel inadequate, worried that you may have overestimated your abilities. You wonder what in f*ck’s name you were thinking when you decided to become a book-mom-or-dad in the first place, because you obviously aren’t fitting the bill. You aren’t rich yet. Your ARCs bailed on you, or a lot of them did. You let people down because your baby didn’t come out the way they wanted. They were hoping for curly locks, but yours came out with straight, black hair and a funny birthmark that looks like a middle finger. Who knew? You curse yourself, embarrassed because you should’ve seen it coming. You should’ve prepared better. Maybe you should’ve paid the extra bucks for one of those fancy genetics Docs to enhance its DNA with bells and whistles and curls and what-have-you, so that he and she and they would all be happy and love you and all your book babes for all eternity.

But alas, the realizations come.

a) You did the best you could do, and that’s all you could do,

OR

b) Maybe, you didn’t.

Both of these realizations are difficult to swallow. With the first, it’s both frustrating and empowering, because DAMN. There is nothing more you could’ve done. How your baby is received into the world is out of your control. But also–> DAMN! You did a hell of an amazing job, because you did everything you could do. You ate the right foods, you did water aerobics and took your prenatal vities. You read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting (a new book baby)” and you did your new-parent homework. You painted the room, got the crib, bought the clothes, purchased the toys, the whole shebang. Meaning, you had it professionally edited and formatted. You got a nice, professional-looking cover that was eye-catching and fit your genre. You had it correctly formatted, you set up your marketing and book promos ahead of time, you did your Thunderclap, HeadTalker campaigns, etc. You played nice with other authors and readers, treating them with kindness, and respect. You had every single base (that you knew of) covered. You should be proud of your amazing accomplishment. Take a moment to give yourself a pat on the back for all of this awesomeness, because you are an absolute rockstar.

Before we move on to the book baby blues, let’s address b: Maybe you didn’t.

I read a post the other day in a FB group I’m in, where the author was pleading for help. He was suffering from a big case of Book Baby Blues, and needed some direction. Upon reading the comments and checking out his books on Amazon, a few things clicked into place. This author had been so focused on quantitypublishing book after book after book as fast as humanly possible–that he had let quality slip, big time. His books were not edited; they were riddled with errors. His covers were not great. His characters were flat and lifeless, IMO, a byproduct of not enough incubation in the writer-womb. Oh, and he didn’t have a mailing list, which is a huge must-have for success as an indie author. (More on building your mailing list to come)

I’ve also witnessed talented authors with great books, or aspiring authors, be total asshats to others, not carrying themselves in a kind and professional manner, and I just cringe, inwardly, because that is not good for business. Would a store manager have repeat customers if he was a jerk to everyone who came in his store? That old adage,  “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar” is true. For the most part, people are attracted to others who are kind, thoughtful, honest, and don’t try to cheat them. I can’t express enough how utterly important integrity and respect are in building your brand, your network, and your fan base. If you want to be successful, you have to cultivate some gosh darn people skills, mmkay? Even if people are ugly to you, you have to conduct yourself in a professional manner, otherwise Karma will come back one day and bite you, and you will regret your a$$hole ways, I promise.  Here’s a good book to help with that. 😉

Being successful at anything is a delicate balance of light and dark. Patience and realistic expectations are key, as are willingness to see your faults and weaknesses, and learning from your mistakes. In order to improve your craft, these are vital. If something isn’t working for you the way you’d like for it to, then perhaps it’s time to try something different. SLOW Dooooooowwwwnnn. Take your time with your book babes to ensure you’re outputting the best possible product you can. YES, getting a book professionally edited, formatted, and covered is expensive. YES, it is worth every penny in the long run. You’re building a brand, and you want your readers to expect quality products from you with faith that that’s what you’ll deliver. The answer is not always ‘more books, faster.’ Sometimes the answer is ‘more patience,’ or ‘more time.’ Only when you are truly honest with yourself will you see what that ‘more’ is for you.

But for those of you who have done this, and have still arrived at the Book Baby Blues, my answer is this: Give yourself a break. Maybe take a day off–you deserve it. Give credit where credit is due. Keep your expectations reasonable and realistic. Building a successful business and brand takes time, sacrifice, patience, more time, money, tears, sometimes blood, perhaps therapy, more time, immense passion, determination, and SCREW YOU GUYSit-doesnt-matter-how-slowly-you-go-as-long-as-you-do-not-stop IMA DO THIS THANG  NO MATTER WHAT stick-to-itiveness.

You’ll get there.

One step at a time.

Progress, not perfection, is a reasonable expectation.

Most books do better when they are first released. Just because your rank is falling now, doesn’t mean it will stay that way. With each new book you publish (that is quality), your overall sales will increase. Books do sell books, yes. But not if they aren’t quality books, which is why that is so important. Your rank will ebb and flow, but as long as you continue to put your best foot forward, you’ll continue to build a business and brand–and publish book babies–that you’re proud to put your name on. Enjoy this journey, even the hard parts, because one day you’ll look back and see that it was in those darkest moments that you were pushed to grow, to believe, to persevere, and to perhaps, choose a better path. It’s in those times that we are driven to search for the light, to move toward it, and to shine in this world in a way that only we can. And THAT . . . is what’s most important.

 

Do you have experience on this topic? Spill your thoughts in the comments below.

***

Check out my new website!!

And you can check out my books on Amazon here:

 The Treemakers (Book 1 in the Treemakers Trilogy) (Mature YA Dystopian Scifi Horror)

The Soultakers (Book 2 in the Treemakers Trilogy)

The Seeker’s Keys (Book 3 in the Treemakers Trilogy)

The Truth About Mud (YA Fantasy Adventure novelette)

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21 Reasons Why Life without Facebook is Totally Awesome

flower girl

So many things fall to the wayside when chained to Facebook for endless hours days months years. Some time away allows you to see the many ways it negatively impacts your life.

For the past two weeks, I’ve spent a total of fifteen minutes on Facebook, which is no easy feat. As you can see >HERE<, getting off for even an hour was once a near-impossibility.

If you are anything like me, you too, may be unhappy with the amount of time you waste in the vice-grip of status-updates, friend requests, and all the jingly bells and screeching whistles that go along with a life glued together at the seams with good old Facebook. Because I’ve enjoyed my break so much–I wanted to entice you to give it a try.

Here are 21 Reasons why life without Facebook is totally awesome, and why I’ll be limiting my time there to fifteen minutes, one day a week from now, until further notice. 🙂

21. Less chair ass

If you’ve experienced the torturous hell that is hours of writing, whilst fighting Facebook distraction (and losing), followed by the darkest moments of a writer’s existence–chair ass–you understand. Often times, this is accompanied by mouse-wrist and/or typing-elbow. (Yes, I am aware I just made these up, but these writer ailments should have names, shouldn’t they?)

20. More exercise

19. More time outside

18. More time with children/friends/family

First on any list of dietary restrictions should be Facebook: Serving size I’LL SLURP OUT YOUR SOUL AND SAUTEE THAT MOTHER WITH TWITTER BALLS AND PINTEREST NUTS SO JUST SIGN YOUR LIFE SAVINGS OVER TO CANDY CRUSH NOW AND CALL IT A DAY.

Last week, I walked a total of four miles. On purpose. And not just to get to the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot, either. I did it because, hello, I opened my eyes to the wide world around me and decided, what the hell, I’ll go for a stroll. Destination? Starbucks. There was a venti nonfat carmel iced coffee calling my name. Funny, I didn’t hear it when I had my Facebook earmuffs on. Who knew those things were soundproof? Distance: two miles. It was a beautiful, sunny, relatively warm, late-spring Dallas, Texas afternoon. There were bugs. And noise. I perspired. I pushed my son in his stroller as he experienced the wide world around us from little toddler eyes. It was beautiful. 

It’s common sense; less time playing kissy-face with Facebook leaves room for endless possibilities of fuzzy-feeling real life stuff like being active and spending time with family and whatnot.

17. More time to write

Okay, raise your hand if you’re guilty of using “platform” as an excuse to insert Facebook into your body intravenously?

Uh-huh. *gives you evil eye*

I don’t wanna hear it. Platform shmatform. You don’t exactly need platform if you don’t have a book to sell, right? And even if you do have a book to market, think of how many more you could have if you didn’t spend so much time stroking the Zuckerburg…. I have a lot of writer friends, and not a one of them has ever gushed about how Facebook sells tons of books. If you’ll check out your top NYT bestselling authors, you will rarely find them spending hours–if any time at all–on Facebook. They do what writers are supposed to do. They write.

16. More time to do housework and other things you’ve been procrastinating

I get it, I really do. Hunting down the perfect meme-of-the-hour is way more appealing than doing the dishes. But your significant other is tired of doing them while you harvest friends on Facebook. Or your kids are tired of wearing dirty and/or wrinkled clothes because surfing meaningless status updates and filling your little brainy with mindless chatter that means ultimately jack to you and your life–seems more important to you than doing their laundry.

And shower, cuz… damn. *pinches nose*

15. More time to do other (than writing) things you love

Facebook is a drug that should come with dosage information and a warning label. And certain people should really cut it out mostly, or entirely from their life. Being a recovered drug addict/alcoholic, I have an addictive personality. I get “stuck” on stuff if I’m not careful, and then hours days months years go by and I look up and realize EVERYONE IS DEAD AND THE WORLD HAS BECOME A DESOLATE WASTELAND IN WHICH THE UNDEAD HAVE TAKEN OVER AND I MUST NOW LEARN HOW TO SHOOT A CROSSBOW LIKE DARYL DIXON AND TELL TIME BY THE SUN’S POSITION IN THE SKY AND LEARN THAT MOSS GROWS ON THE NORTH SIDE OF TREES OR WHATEVER AND ALL THAT’S LEFT TO EAT THAT HASN’T BEEN LOOTED ARE THOSE LITTLE DRIED CRAWFISH THINGYS WITH EYES THAT YOU FIND AT MEXICAN SUPERMARCADOS…

Not a good scene.

Would I rather spend my pre-apocalypse moments on Facebook, stalking Daryl Dixon (well, actually…), or doing fulfilling things that make me happy, like making cool stuff with my hands?

Tough call.

*sighs*

*stomps foot*

I guess I’ll take the art. (As long as I can watch reruns of “The Walking Dead” after.) 😀

14. You see who your true friends are

I’ve made a lot of good friends on Facebook. Almost 3,000 as of last Sunday, actually. And every other Tuesday, we get together and go bowling and then go to the spa afterwards and I catch the tab on a few rounds of those little umbrella drinkys…

Yeah.

I can count the true friends I’ve made on Facebook on two hands. From what I can tell, most of them out there are looking out for numero uno. I am but a drop in the bucket, of which may as well be a toilet. Taking a step back, I was able to see who I miss, which is a surefire way to tell who you really care about. And most of those people have my email address and some of them have even acquired the much sought-after 10 digits of happiness, and I don’t mean fingers. Some of them even call me on the… phone. *GASP!*

13. You can address your festering narcissism and get some effing humility

If no one has told you today, you are a precious little snowflake and everyone on Facebook–all of the internet and the world even–should stare at the exquisite uniqueness that is your Facebook profile. They should soak up every single status update from now, until the beginning of time, memorizing the luscious deets and “liking” every post, every comment, every picture, and every single little marvel that is your totally real, unfiltered, un-photo-shopped real life. Really.

And if they don’t…

Gah, how dare they. The nerve.

12. No Facebook drama

Does this really need explanation?

11. No Facebook trolls

*please hold while I squeeze into my ranty-panties*

There is nothing that pisses me off more than those still-living-with-momma social outcasts that have never seen the sun rise nor fall, that tell me what sort of sunscreen to put on my poochy. And worse yet, even blatantly judge me for putting the stuff on his furry be-hind in the first place. Hey, buddy, if I wanna put a gosh-dern t-back and tap shoes on my dog, that’s my own damn business and I don’t need you or anyone else to tell me how to–or not to–do it.

*tosses ranty-panties to neighbor’s poochy*

*snickers*

10. No more constant marketing

If I see your book cover one more time I’m going to hang you upside down by your toenails from the ceiling fan in my mind and flip the switch to the “on” position. Then I shall pop popcorn and set my demon puppy loose to chase you around, snapping at your hair or ears or what-have-you. And I shall laugh.

9. No more creepers/perves

In case you weren’t aware, Facebook just recently became a free dating site for the uber creeps and perves and still-living-at-home trolls. If you have never seen troll genitalia, be warned… the sight of this in an unsolicited private message has been known to cause vomiting, insomnia, loss of appetite, and in serious cases, blindness.

(NOTE: If you experience an erection that lasts for four hours or longer, well… you may be part of the problem. Seek professional help immediately. And in the meantime, please, stay the bejeezus away from Facebook.)

8. No more game requests

Do you hear that? It’s the sound of every harp in Heaven simultaneously playing Queen’s “We are the Champions,” because we have done it. We’ve won. People, ONE. Facebook game-requests, ZIP-O-ROOONIE.

7. No more clogging your mind space with unimportant crap

No, I was not aware that the African spotted muskrat is endangered. Please, post that Upworthy video all about it so that I can lose four minutes of my life learning all about them, and what I can do to ensure their future safety.

6. No more depressing selfie sessions to find that “perfect” profile pic

Of course, I have no personal experience with this one… but I had a friend once that, um…

yeah.

Next.

5. You no longer have to pretend to care about things you don’t care about

Hear that? (Isn’t it amazing how much you can hear without your Facebook earmuffs on?)

It’s the sound of 2,500 people clicking the “unfriend” button as they learn that I wish (I really do) I had enough mind-space, time, and heart, to give two squishy turds about what you ate for dinner, or how your husband wants you to get a bikini wax, or how your new Ferrari unfortunately had to go to the shop today to get the problem with the vibrating seats fixed. Because you paid extra for those  damn vibrating seats and by-God, they better vibrate on “GO.”

4. You no longer have to bite your tongue to keep from being an asshat to other asshats

If you hang out in a barber shop long enough, you’ll either get a haircut, become a barber, or try to eat that thing that looks like a candy cane because you’re hungry and you can’t take the curiosity any longer…

(Note: It does not taste like a candy cane.)

In the same manner, if you hang out on Facebook around asshats for too long, you too may start to present symptoms of asshatedness. You must ask yourself: Is it worth the risk?

3. You get a new perspective on life

This isn’t my first Facebook-free stint. I actually deleted my account three or so years ago, for a whole year. My finger hovered over the “deactivate account” button for–I shit you not–a whole hour. I sweated profusely. I pulled my hair out and I cried. I banged my fists on things and broke many pencils. Facebook had taken over my soul, and was eating my family, my life, and my sanity away at the seams like greedy little blue termites. When I finally pushed that button, I literally grieved the loss of my intangible, fabricated cyber-life, and all of the “friends” who would no longer “get to” be a part of my life.

Notice the self-righteous asshatedness (above) than soon became apparent. Once I stepped back, a week went by and I realized the sun was shining… “Whoa, when did the snow melt? What day is it? June? When the hell did summer get here? Where is my family?”

I had to integrate myself, not only back into the lives of my family–relearn their ways, their schedules, their habits, likes, dislikes–but I also had to be integrated back into society. It was serious culture shock. When you spend five or six hours a day on Facebook, you may as well be spending five or six hours a day at a dope house. Some of you may not have it this bad, but some of you can drink alcohol without it ruining your life, too. Others of you, like me, may hit a wall, where you have lost control. We are powerless over our Facebook addiction and our lives have become unmanageable. Stepping away removes a dark shroud that you didn’t even realize was there. You will experience life anew.

2.  Live life in the ever-mysterious and spontaneously beautiful now

Without the distraction of Facebook, I remember to enjoy life right now. Instead of “building that platform,” “marketing that book,” “cultivating that following,” all of which are future-oriented visions and aspirations, I can just enjoy the awesomeness that is my life right now. I can sit on my back porch and look at the sky and quiz my third-grader about what type of clouds are out today. I can play. I can breathe in deep the official first day of summer because I am experiencing it firsthand, not because I saw someone’s status update reminding me of it. I can be present in my life.

1. Freedom

Facebook is designed to hold you hostage. It is a prison without walls or bars. Sure, there are some good things therein… there are bible scriptures scrawled on prison walls, too, but that doesn’t make me want to go to prison any time soon. You?

Without Facebook to tie you down, you walk a free human. Free from ego, from narcissism, free from garbage-in garbage-out, free from the poisons there, disguised as profit, prosperity, popularity…

Without Facebook, you are free to just be. And live.

Until next time, fellow humans…

Just be. ❤

 

You can check out my books on Amazon here:

 The Treemakers (Book 1 in the Treemakers Trilogy) (Mature YA Dystopian Scifi Horror)

The Soultakers (Book 2 in the Treemakers Trilogy)

The Seeker’s Keys (Book 3 in the Treemakers Trilogy)

The Truth About Mud (YA Fantasy Adventure novelette)