A few days ago I sat down and looked at how this whole self-publishing thing was going. And I decided to keep at it full-time through next June.
Which is stupid.
Oh, sure, there are those amazing success stories out there of people who made $3K their first year of self-publishing and then were making $700,000 by their fourth year. Or $9K their first year and were making $250K by their fourth year. Or even the one who went from $500 or so to $250K in a year.
But the majority of self-publishing stories are about selling five copies on launch and ten ever. Or maybe making $500 on a new release (which I would love to do some day) and then fading into obscurity until the next release.
So, if I know this, why am I continuing down this path? Why do I have a whiteboard in my office full of the next eleven novels I plan to write?
One, because the most dangerous thing of all happened. I had a little glimmer that maybe people actually like the stories I’m telling. A complete stranger bought my novel recently, wrote me an e-mail that they loved it, and asked when book 2 would be out.
That’s pretty cool. And pretty motivating.
Two, because I’ve come too far to quit just yet. I hit my million words of “practice” sometime this summer and now maybe the rubber will really meet the road. I also haven’t hit my goal of publishing 100 titles yet. (I’m at 86 right now.)
I’d hate to quit one title before things start to take off and never know it.
Three, because I like my life right now. If I were actually making a living wage at what I’m doing, life would be perfect. Or close to it. (There’s this thing called a love life that most people seem to manage having that I’ve yet to figure out in my many years on this planet.)
Four, because the thought of going back to what I was doing before makes me almost physically ill. It’s not that every day of my job was a misery. Far from it. But it didn’t let me be who I want to be on a daily basis.
I know if I go back I may be too scared to ever step away again. Which means I will never again get to be the best version of myself. (Even though I could still use some work on the rough edges here or there.)
So, better to fail spectacularly now, I figure. (Even if when I calculate how much this is costing me in real actual cash and potential earnings it makes me feel on the edge of a panic attack.)
I’m pretty sure I crossed the line from perseverance into sheer pig-headed stupidity about three months ago.
But that’s okay. Failure is good for you, right? Builds character and all?
(Good thing I have friends out there who stuck to the traditional path and now have pretty guest rooms I can crash in and large sprawling yards where the pup can run around…)