We picked our platforms, created covers, marketed the crap out of the books, and watched with glee as the numbers sold kept rising. But then I discovered something that most of those blogs and self-help publishing books out there don't tell you about: Patience. Is. Maddening.
I think, in some part of all of our psyches, as writers, artists, entertainers, we thrive on the applause. (Lady Gaga notwithstanding.) We may deny it, scoff in polite company, say, "Oh no. I'm just writing because I love to write." But deep down? How many of us go absolutely squee-crazy with excitement when we hear something about our work? A review, particularly a positive one, has the ability to put me, personally, on cloud nine.
We write to tell our stories, absolutely! To unburden our souls. To share with others the magnificence in our minds. To captivate and enrapture our readers, and to make them see through our eyes what wonders we wish to share.
As an indie publisher...not hearing anything is, I think, sometimes worse than getting a negative review. At least with a negative review, you get an idea of what may not have worked. Criticism, for the most part, can be infinitely constructive if you look at it right. (Blatant Trolls aside.) But it's the silence that really gets me.
To watch the numbers tick, knowing that people are buying the book, that they're (hopefully) reading it... and then to hear nothing at all. It's dispiriting. And it's tough to maintain a positive attitude sometimes when you pour yourself into something and get no recognition in return. Patience ain't a virtue, lol. It's an anxiety-beast sitting on your shoulder whispering how terrible you are as an author, and all manner of nasty comments. (Never mind that most of them are completely untrue!)
But do you know one of the best things to come out of the experience for me? Understanding. I totally get how important it is to hear feedback about something you've written. And I now go out of my way to make sure that the authors of those books I read hear something, anything, about their work. I'm coming from a different place of reading, since becoming a published author. It's not that I'm more critical, per se, but I read more... actively.
Because I know at the end of every book, between the pages, dancing around the prose... is an author waiting breathlessly for that tiny little spark of recognition. That fey-light that keeps the spark burning in their heart to continue honing their craft. And for me, knowing how important it is for morale, knowing that sometimes one kind word can make someone's heart soar and inspire them to greater things... it helps to refill my own reserves of patience when I feel they're running low.