#ROW80 Susan, what the hell are you doing?

Hell, I don’t know.

I think maybe I’m a recovering stats junkie. I used to right on top of all my stuff. Checking my sales everywhere and recording that in a spreadsheet used to be the first thing I did every morning. It used to be a bit of hobby for me to watch changes in rank and to get a sense of about how many sales per day meant about what rank and how that changed with the changes in the market as a whole. (For example, at one point getting into the top 100 might have meant selling at least 100 books in 24 hours. And then at another point 100 books in 24 hours might have gotten you into the top 700 as more books and customers entered the marketplace.)

But anyway, I pretty much walked away from all that. I learned a lot. I think I needed to learn stuff, and I don’t feel like it was totally time wasted, but… I can’t control things like rank and sales. When you see those things taking even a natural downturn, even when everyone around you is reporting decreased sales, still, just looking at something makes you want to affect it. And you can’t. Not really. Not directly, I guess.

So anyway, had to stop obsessing over that stuff, and I think that’s been good for me. I just realized that Hush Money is a year old. Like, today. A year ago today it went up on Smashwords. In a few days it will be a whole year it’s been up on Amazon. I’ve sold over 20,000 copies. I’ve gotten so much love and support from readers and other writers. It’s been awesome.

You know the question I get asked most? When are we going to get Heroes ‘Til Curfew? You have no idea how I’ve struggled with this question. Because the simple answer is: I don’t know. And the rest of the answer is complicated.

Books one and two of the Talent Chronicles are currently being shopped by my agent. We’re looking for a contract for both of them. To take this step, to even seriously consider selling the rights to these to someone else and put this much control of my world into someone else hands…it’s huge.

I often wonder what the hell I’m doing.

Every other week we hear about another known author self-publishing. This week it was Holly Lisle. People I respect and admire turning away from what I’m approaching and moving toward where I’ve been.

As though I’m moving backward.

But maybe it’s not linear. Maybe there is no backward. (Maybe there is no spoon.) I understand my own reasons for seeking this out. I know what I want out of it.

But the waiting is nerve-wracking. There’s wondering. There’s dreams I’m afraid of dreaming. There’s worrying. There’s this feeling of life on hold.

And if I would just give up this whole idea I could go back to what I know. To where I’ve been successful before and hope I can do half as well with Heroes ‘Til Curfew as I did with Hush Money. And then when people asked me when book 2 is coming out I have a better answer for them!

I just feel like Hush Money and I have done so well on our own, but does that mean we should just sit back and be satisfied with that or should we see if there’s more than can be done? Now that I’ve already had thousands of readers, what might happen if I had a publisher behind me who could get me wider distribution? Where I’m, like, a new author, but not quite brand new. Maybe it could be awesomer.

Look, I may never get a TV series or a comic or a video game. Okay, yeah, I probably won’t. I get that. But I think that even if a lot of readers no longer need a publishers’ stamp on book for them to give it a try, I think the world might still be at a point where that would make it slightly less impossible to be considered for the next level. The Talent Chronicles graphic novel level.

Do you get this sense that I’m deeply conflicted? I want this. I want to try this. I want to have these opportunities if I can. I want to learn shit. New shit. And I don’t want to wait. I feel so friggin’ guilty about the waiting to release this book that it’s eating me up. And I’m so worried about not having new material to release and having readers forget about me. And I’m so worried about not releasing and thence not having an income and thence not having a Christmas.

Do you know what I’ve done in this year since I released Hush Money? I’ve traded my size 14 pants for size 4. Sometimes I think it’s all from worrying.

This should be a happy birthday post. It should be chock full of awesome, and I’m sorry that it’s not. This is why I’m not around a lot. I’m just in this holding pattern that makes me crazy and crazy-angsty, and I feel like I don’t know what to say because I don’t KNOW anything anymore.

So, I don’t know what you think of that from a ROW80 standpoint. I guess it means that I’m still trying to get myself settled back in and back on track.

What the hell is up with Susan? To be continued…


Filed under ROW80, writing

7 responses to “#ROW80 Susan, what the hell are you doing?

  1. The key thing here is you’ve done your part. You wrote the awesome books. Now it’s up to your agent to find them a home and if you don’t like the first home, check out the next one. And if you don’t like any of them, release HTC on your own. People want it and will pay a more profitable price because you’ve proven you can deliver. You’re not a risk anymore.

    In the meantime, do what you’re best at. No, not worrying, write. Write book 3. You’re excited about it, so do it. When the times comes, you’ll know what to do. With 20k sold, I’d say your decision making is pretty good.

    • Andrew (and Susan):

      Ditto!! Just write your books – that is the part that only you can do. The rest of this biz will drive you out of your mind if you let it.

      Oh, and congrats on the shrinking jeans! I think I was a size 5 in the fifth grade so i am in awe of tiny ladies like you. 🙂

  2. Waiting can be worrisome, but the important thing, like Andrew said is to keep writing. Write what makes you happy. The good part of this is knowing that if the books aren’t picked up, you can self publish and we will read your books. You have an audience and we like you and your writing. *hugs*

  3. Hiya Susan. I’m bathing in angst right now. Which is good or there’d be no bathing at all! Sometimes stalling is it’s own penance. Follow your excitement. It has something better in mind for you than your angst. Well, certainly something better than Mine, anyway! Cheers to you, and yes, tomorrow is….different.

    Promise 🙂


  4. Sounds like you’re having a heck of a time! Congrats on losing weight, that is awesome! I wish I could lose weight without even trying. I loved Hush Money, and I really liked the short story that you wrote. Sure, I check periodically for your next book, but I’m willing to wait! No matter when or how it comes out…self published, or in a contract, I’ll get it 🙂

    You are a great writer! Like Andrew says, enjoy what your doing…you are only human and people understand that! Good things come to those who wait…and I for one am definitely willing to wait. I bet thousands of your fans are too. Good luck with enjoying life and pre-congrats on getting a contract, I know it’ll happen!

  5. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. I know you’re very conflicted about this whole thing. There are so many authors who have no idea what they would do if approached by an agent or a publishing company. And how much would a publisher have to offer you for you to take the deal? I’ll probably never have to worry about that since I’m off their radar, I’m sure, but I do have a friend who was approached by a small publishing company and she doesn’t know what to do. No wonder you’ve changed pants sizes! Unfortunately, when I’m stressed, I eat. 😦 I know whatever decision you make, it’s going to be the right one. Maybe your agent will get you an awesome deal. I know one of your major concerns is that you don’t know when HTC will be out, and you feel like your readers are getting impatient. But you have to do what’s best for you. And eventually we’ll all get to read it; we may just have to wait a little longer. I feel like I’m rambling, but I just hate to see you stressing like this.

    We most definitely need to get together and talk. Let me know when you might be available and we’ll talk about where to meet. 🙂

  6. Size 14 to size 4??? That’s an amazing accomplishment! It can’t be all from stress 🙂 I wish you and your agent good luck in finding a publisher! I’d say don’t worry, there are always readers around. Or at least I hope so – I’m hoping to start querying in September!
    Does it help at all that your path and Kait’s are inspirational for those of us coming up behind?

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