This Autumn I will be indie publishing my third novel, The Art of Breathing, as well as re-launching The Art of the Imperfect and The Art of Survival with new covers. The three form the beginning of a crime series set in Scarborough which (among other things) explores themes around mental wellbeing and surviving childhood trauma.
To be honest, this is not my favourite part of the process. The manuscript being sent off to the proofreader, I am in the middle of: formatting for createspace, kindle and a local print run; liaising with cover designer and printer; ‘organising’ (begging for) reviews, guest blog posts and events; and re-vamping my website. I’m not saying none of it is fun or enthralling, but a lot of it is a bit of a grind, especially the marketing side. Having now indie published two novels, I know effort does not equal outcome when it comes to promotion. There is a whole lot of luck and who you know involved. I am trying to be more targeted and canny about it this time around, even so it is tough to remain motivated.
I read recently an article about mental resilience. This suggested that people with a good balance of optimism and realism are more likely to be mentally resilient. It also said that mentally resilient people do not feel an entitlement. On the other hand, it seems to me that there is a strong societal script out there which goes something like: ‘If you try hard enough, you can achieve anything.’ It appears to me, this narrative is undermining of what are apparently factors in building mental resilience. In reality, the vast majority of us will be ‘also ran’s and, even if we work hard and throw our whole heart into a project, this does not entitle us to any particular result.
I have begun to volunteer a couple of hours a week at my local library and I was also asked by a friend to vote for her book on The Guardian’s ‘not the booker list’. Well done to Anna Chilvers Tainted Love for getting on there and look out for an interview with her on this blog on the 22nd of August. What I have come to realise (even more than I did before) is that there are an awful lot of books out there, a lot published by traditional publishers and a lot I haven’t heard of, despite being an avid reader. It is, perhaps, hardly surprising that my books have hardly made an impression.
Why should I want sales? It’s not about the selling/money as such, it is about reaching readers. And I love to talk about my writing with those who have read it… so if you have, please feel free to get in touch. The stories told in my three novels are very important to me, yes I want them ‘heard’ but I also hope they may help others have a greater understanding and/or feel more ‘normal’.
I have written three books I am proud of and by the October they will all have gorgeous covers. Celebrate that with me, but please don’t ever ask my about my sales.
How do you keep motivated? What is it about writing which makes it important for you to keep going?