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Going Deeper: Feeling like a poser

maleteaserAs I write this, I’m coming off of a solid four weeks on multiple Amazon bestseller lists. Yep. A Shift in the Water spent a significant amount of time in Amazon’s top 400 of all (non-free) Kindle books and an additional ten days slowly dropping, but still in the top 1000. That’s a hell of an accomplishment. The day I got to work and saw a spike in my sales that started this whole thing, I nearly fell out of my chair. Seriously. I sat at my desk for a full five minutes slack-jawed and hyperventilating a little. At one point, my book was ranked HIGHER THAN ANNE RICE’s latest! Higher than Kim Harrison. Higher than Laurell K. Hamilton.

But as much as I am so very thankful for whatever happened to get me into that position (I still don’t really know), it brought up this whole host of emotions I wasn’t prepared to deal with. I’d like to talk about those today. Now, before I begin, please don’t in any way think that I would have changed a damn thing about the past four weeks’ worth of sales. I wouldn’t. Well, other than being able to trace them back to something tangible. Because I’d like to repeat that performance with some of my other books.

No, I am beyond thankful. But now I get to panic. For a long time. Why? Because there are more than three thousand people who are now reading (or have the opportunity to read) my work. Now, I know I do okay. And no, this isn’t situation where I’m fishing for compliments. Really. I’m a decent writer. I know how to craft a story, I have a good editor, and I think I know what my readers want. But that doesn’t mean that my books are the next Harry Potter or Game of Thrones or even Naked in Death. I have a following now, and fans, but I still worry that one day it’s all going to come crashing down and readers will realize that I really don’t know what I’m doing. Or rather, that they’ll decide I don’t know what I’m doing and I won’t be able to convince them otherwise.  I’m now panicked that some of these new readers (or all of them) bought my book without reading the sample or bought simply because it was on a bestseller list. Maybe they won’t like it. Maybe they’ll actively pan it. Sure, maybe they’ll love it, but writers are notoriously insecure creatures. We spend months and months on a novel and suddenly it’s in the hands of readers who have the power to make or break it.

So I feel like a poser. I feel like I don’t deserve to have this success. Like Cade and Mara, my werewolf and my elemental, could have chosen someone better to tell their story. Even though I know I was the only one who could. I know I did them justice. I know I gave them my all.

Before this happened, I’d largely weaned myself off of checking my reviews on a daily (or hourly) basis. I’d even stopped checking my sales all that often. This was huge for me. I feared this performance would put me over the edge again. It still might. I don’t know. There’s a lot I don’t know these days. I don’t know how long this is going to last. I’d love for it to last a very long time. I don’t know if I can repeat it with another book. I don’t know if this was organic and my book reached the right person at the right time, or if it was something I did (I’ve tried to trace things backwards, but that didn’t get me anywhere). I don’t know if I’ll go back to obsessing over reviews again or if I’ll be able to find some writer review-aholic program to talk me down.

No, I wouldn’t change anything. Every author wants their words to reach their readers. So I’ll take it. Every bit of the worry. Every bit of the posing and the obsession and the fear. I’ll take it because it keeps me writing.

 

 

 

 

5 Comments

  • Anna Posted October 27, 2014 9:32 am

    <3 <3 <3

  • Camela Thompson Posted October 27, 2014 10:26 am

    The book was wonderful! I loved it and you deserve every bit of success. It was really well done and I was so impressed with how well you captured the emotions that come with being ill. And there’s the romance… Bravo! Enjoy it!

  • jen Posted November 10, 2014 6:20 pm

    In so far as feeling like a poser… don’t feel like the lone ranger. I’ve been a paramedic for 8 years, and a nurse for five, but I still religiously cannot believe people actually trust me to know what I’m doing (what’s worse is, pretty much every professional I’ve ever talked to feels the same way). As you stated, I’m good at what I do. I have no functional doubts about my competency in my chosen profession.. and yet, I still feel sometimes like someone is just waiting to expose me as that kid playing dress up in a real professional’s clothing. Or maybe that “someone” is waiting to point out that I have no business trying to run with the big dogs.
    But I digress. We have a saying in medicine. Fake it till you make it. Some days it’s all you have. What I’ve come to realize is that EVERYONE is faking it and hoping to make it. I’ve not read any of your other books, but at least with A Shift in the Water, you faked it superbly. Cause it was damn good. Congrats!

  • Julie Valerie @Julie_Valerie Posted November 26, 2014 4:06 pm

    I’m so very happy for your success. That’s so wonderful! And I think your shock is so sweet. I love that you were one-part slack-jawed, one-part head scratching. How’d this happen? You probably asked. Will it continue? What next?

    I suspect (I haven’t read the book) that your success is because you sat down and wrote the best book you could. The challenge now becomes – can you write another? (I’m sure you can. I know you can!) The nice thing about building your reader base is their appetite for more books. You’re going to have to buckle down and get busy!

    What a nice problem to have. Open a bottle of wine and celebrate YOU and your success due to your talent. Most of all, enjoy it. We’re all celebrating with you. Cheers!

    Julie

    P.S. If anyone is needing to get back to the link list on the Hump Day Blog Hop – go here: http://www.julievalerie.com/nov-blog-hop/

  • Sandie Posted November 27, 2014 11:37 am

    A nice problem to have. Congrats on your success. Now you just need to keep believing in yourself.

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