book industry, books, hope, indie author, indie books, indie writer, journaling, Reviews, self publishing, stories, writing

The Holy Grail of Authors

1512303_805590249521973_5607612739990836441_nAs a child, I wrote on walls to learn the art of creating a word.  Later I wrote because words were fun. In the teenage years, I wrote in secret to express the mountain of emotions roiling inside of me. Then, as an adult, I wrote because a job demanded it. But there was always the reason I loved to write, and that was for the pure joy of it. When I retired, I finally could chase my dream of writing a book.

I discovered the new frontier of self-publishing and all those who blogged about making money selling their books. So, I learned to blog.  I followed all the lemmings into the sea of self-publishing, and then something changed.  It wasn’t about writing anymore. I perfected my writing style. Learned to kill off my darlings that were ineffectual to a story, doubled down on the grammar, began to figure out what made a good story, hired an editor and cover artist, then published. Before I just gleefully pounded out words to create scenes, imaginary characters, and involved plot structure. But along the way, I lost the joy of writing and became driven to seek the Holy Grail of Authors, book reviews.

I wanted the reader to enjoy the story, and I craved feedback for my effort. My family was great at this. Friends as well, but something was lacking.  I wanted the accreditation of the Reader, a stranger who didn’t know me or want to feed my struggling ego. I needed the Reader to give me an honest opinion to prove I wasn’t wasting my time. When creating books, this had been the carrot at the end of the stick for all those nights of tapping away at the computer, researching infinite details, getting every sentence right.

I gave away a zillion copies in hopes of a review. I bought high-powered write-ups through accredited sources like Clarion and Kirkus, but to no avail.  I spent hours learning about how to promote, advertise, and edit again. Tried keeping up with Amazon as they changed program after program on me, trying to grasp the secret language of the algorithm. I became obsessed with needing to check sales reports, seek out new contacts, to create mailing lists, and have a million ‘friends’ on places like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

No matter how good the book was, no matter how hard I tried to advertise, no matter all the elusive leads that I chased to find the Holy Grail, I failed — leaving me to ponder where the joy had gone.

But there is a happy ending.

What did I do? I went back to my first love, writing. I started blogging again and created more books. Most importantly, I reviewed other people’s books. Yup, I found the Holy Grail of Authors. Not for my books, but for others who are creating even better stories than me. I found peace in giving reviews, striving to help others find that validation I sought. I wrote words of encouragement, honesty, and gave back to people who provided me many hours of enjoyment in reading. I don’t do this on Amazon because I’m an author and can’t review other author’s books. But, on sites like Authors Den, Smashwords, Bookrix, Goodreads, and a myriad of other places where I find books for my enjoyment, I respond to people who ask for advice, input or a review.

How can we expect something from a self-consuming, greedy world, unless we, ourselves, are willing to give it? I have not seen reviews of my books magically appear because it is not about that. It’s the satisfaction in creating art from words. I find comfort in the words of support, direction and validation I give to others.

Of course, I still want the Holy Grail, but it’s not the focus of this journey anymore. Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway, being here for each other?

 

 

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “The Holy Grail of Authors”

    1. Hi there Jack! Thank you for sharing my post. You know, I never expected to become a famous author. I”m happy to sell a couple here and there. I just realized after this last book, I got ‘book sales’ fever and forgot why I even wrote in the first place. I needed to remind myself, it’s about the enjoyment of it all. I will keep promoting you too. I need to track you down on Goodreads and get some reviews out there for you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I know how that goes. When I checked in three years later, I was still there also. I succumbed and went ahead and put Norse Hearts there. But I did find I can leave reviews on Goodreads where I can’t on Amazon. So I figured it was a fair trade. Besides, it looks like they have cleaned up the troll thing big time. All the one-star reviews I got three years ago are gone, except for two legit ones. So I’m happy…..so far. 🙂 Maybe you should go check it out.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.