Reflection and Rest by J.D. Peterson

My tank is on empty. I am absolutely out of ideas, although I know the world around me is swirling with inspiration. Ideas flit by like clouds through the summer sky, morphing and dissolving into new
shapes. I jot some ideas down on an cluttered notepad, hoping for cohesion to arrive and knit said concepts together into a tapestry of words.

Social media posts are returning very little results in the way of sales. In these modern days of the world wide web, it is repeatedly pounded into me the importance of keeping a ‘presence’. So I post, take photos and design new posts, and post again. My posts are scattered among political comments and sensational headlines competing for a view. Yet, ‘likes’ and ‘hearts’ are not determining any
improvement in sales, and it feels like a waste of energy. I see many of you have been very successful with your social media platforms. So I persist.

My email inbox is full of online classes, lectures and promotions for the indie writer. “Free online class – How to increase sales…” Of course, the ‘free’ class is a promotion for a paid class promising the juiciest bits of information on a dangled thread – along with a price tag of varying amounts of money, touted as an ‘investment’ in my career. I’ve opted in on a few, along with other ‘twitter’ type promotions, studied the instructions and followed through. The only one getting sales is the seller of said workshops. They seem to have created a thriving business out of our hopes and dreams for gaining a wider audience.                

The quest for reviews continues, especially with, the goal: a better ranking among millions of novels. Although the reviews remain very good, the ratio of readers to those who take a moment to post a review is sadly, small. Goodreads, Net Galley and other outlets result in more positive reviews. Kindle Fire contests and free book giveaways also bear limited results, but maintain the ever important online existence.

The bottom line in the quest for exposure and sales has certainly delivered one end result. I’m exhausted. The focus on marketing, while delivering the required online clout, has distracted me from the creative spark that led me down this path in the first place. Perhaps ‘distracted’ is too gentle a word. The continued focus on marketing has extinguished my creativity. For someone as creative as I am, that’s saying a lot.

Inspiration seems to come from my readers and their excitement over my novels. When sales are low, I begin to wonder why I’m working so hard. No one wants to work for months – or years, in my case, on a story that fails to gain a substantial audience. Local bookstore owners roll their eyes when they hear you are ‘self-published’ and local book clubs are cliquish and dismissive. Well-meaning friends advise a movie, or television series. Their faith and support is much appreciated, but they are clearly naïve in the enormity of getting such focus or attention out of the film industry.

Clearly, I am not alone in this situation. I’ve read many posts from fellow writers asking these same questions. In a world where people insist on having their $4 latte every morning, but aren’t willing to
invest in a book for more than $0.99, it becomes disheartening. It is only the soul begging to express itself that persists on to writing the next page.

Today, I will rest and regroup. Let the dust settle around me into quiet reflection. Tomorrow I will continue on, as I have for many years, living my life as an ultra creative person living in a materialistic world. The story changes, and yet the tale remains the same.
“Once upon a time, there was a writer trying to pay the rent…”


Chris Longmuir said…
You sound quite dispirited, JD, and the fluctuations in sales on Amazon don't help to keep the spirits up. You mention the plethora of political comments and headlines and I have a theory about that. whether it's right or wrong I don't know. But, I have noticed that ebook sales on Amazon always keep pace with the fluctuations of the exchange rate. Politics and what is happening in the world affects the exchange rate so I reckon it also affects the frame of mind of buyers. There is a lot of negativity around just now and perhaps people have become wary of spending, or just don't feel positive enough to do it. I'm hoping that when the political furore dies down (if I live that long) then things will even out. As it is, readers are maybe spending too much time on Facebook reading the rants. I hate to think that produces a better plot than the ones we can devise. Chin up. It can only get better.
Griselda Heppel said…
Well put. I too seem to be on the mailing list for lots of organisations eager to sign me up for workshops. Some of them - especially the more creative ones - are probably good. Not so sure about the 'I worked out how to reach a million sales through online marketing and I'll show you how, it's easy' ones. All of them can easily distract from actually writing stuff in the first place. And the tyranny of social media ... argh.

Your creativity will return. Sounds like you need a holiday. And lots of fun reading.

Can't believe that this of all posts has attracted spam (see second comment)! Just underlines how tawdry and all-devouring the internet can be.
Enid Richemont said…
Someone in admin should zap that spam comment asap! Otherwise,the place you describe is so depressingly familiar, but it will pass, leaving a clear space for your glittering Muse.
Umberto Tosi said…
I know the feeling. Hang in there. Trust me, the sun comes out again, whether or not you believe in it. Bottom line, we write because we must, and the devil with the consequences, even when the world doesn't seem to care. I figure if one person reads my work, it's worth it. As Tim Mathisen, a long departed fellow author and respected acquaintance once told me in response to a rant about the duplicitousness of some publishers and agents: "Keep writing. It's the best revenge."

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