1. First of all: yes, use your experiences to help make you a better writer. It’s good to consider how you’d like to improve next time. But don’t start going down the path of thinking your slow sales are because your book isn’t good. Your book IS good. I know, because I read it, but the reviews back me up too. Kat was warning you that it might not sell well because your exposure is low and books are hard to sell–not because there’s anything wrong with it. If the exact same book came out with JK Rowling’s name on it, it would sell like hotcakes. So don’t be too hard on yourself.

    Second: don’t forget that getting this book out there is a good step toward getting the next one to do well, and the one after that.

    Third, and finally: asking for help is not weakness, it’s community. No one starts out with people flying at them begging them to take their money. Marketing isn’t whining or begging, it’s like a job interview… you’re there to showcase why what you have to offer is valuable. Humility is good, but don’t undervalue yourself. Don’t beg people to buy your book, share the great news that the perfect book for them is available for purchase. You see? Think about people you admire…say John Green. You think that dude doesn’t market himself? Heck yes he markets himself. And he doesn’t beg, and he doesn’t come across as cocky either. He says “look what I have to offer y’all.”

    You can do this!! You’re worth it girlfriend! 😉

    Oh and also blame Trump because he’s so awful no one wants to read books right now.

    • AbsentElemental

      Thanks very much for the kind words. I recognize that at least a portion of this post is me being down on myself, which is unfortunate. That said, I really do find it strange that people who are in the public spotlight yet show emotions beyond happy are characterized as being emotionally unstable. While I recognize that this stereotype is more commonly attributed to women, it comes up enough with any gender that it’s distressing. We even joke as a society about how the struggle is real — as if struggling is feigned in some way.

      I’m trying not to blame Trump for literally everything in the world right now. There are many, many things that he has encouraged and has done wrong far more heinous than me being down on myself. To blame him for something so minor takes away from the gravity of the actual batshit crazy stuff that’s happening because of him.

      I like how you compare marketing yourself to a job interview, especially because that’s an environment that I’m infinitely more comfortable in than marketing myself. Now I just have to figure out how to interview well in this realm. No idea how that’ll happen, but I’d love advice from you or others. I feel like that’s a post coming down the track.

  2. This is interesting on a lot of fronts for me.

    1) I read Anna Kendrick’s book (Scrappy Little Nobody) and she talked about even though she was getting lots of publicity and becoming well known, it doesn’t mean she had (or maybe has) a lot of money. She tried getting a production company to pay for a cheaper hotel and let her keep the difference while promoting a movie because she was low on funds (they wouldn’t). Or how she would go from a red carpet in borrowed clothes to an apartment with 2 roommates and stained carpet because it was cheaper to forgo the deposit than pay to have it replaced, so when people asked what it was like to be famous she would say “Well not a lot has changed, honestly” but they acted as if she was being only humble instead of honest.

    2) Self-promoting sounds awful…I’m so sorry. No advice, because that’s the kind of thing I hate…but I’m sorry.

    3) Obviously I haven’t written a book, but I wonder about similar things when it comes to family. Especially regarding this past election…is it worth pointing out ALL THE WAYS THEY’RE WRONG or should I just keep my mouth shut and take an imaginary shot each time they say something I disagree with (because, truthfully…while I don’t want to be passive, I have lost pretty much ALL faith that any Trump supporter can respectfully entertain an opposing idea without bursting into flames…not nice but it’s how I’m feeling atm).

    • AbsentElemental

      Fixed the typo and deleted your other comment.

      I kind of want to read her book. She seems like an incredibly down to earth and relatable person in spite of the fact that she’s famous. Perhaps I’ll get it as an ebook from the library.

      I full envision Thanksgiving being a very rough time to be home visiting my family. I hope so badly that I’m wrong, but I don’t think that I will be. I’m one of only a couple of liberal people in my entire family, so it may make for a long holiday season.

  3. I was preparing to type up some super encouraging, deep, and thoughtful response, but Brittany and Samantha kind of already said everything I would say.

    Whether it’s internet fame, becoming an author, joining Hollywood, any of it–these things are so much harder now than they ever have been. While there are people who still support the creative arts, that number has shrunk. People want everything, but don’t want to pay to get it, and I think that is where the biggest problem has come in.

    Trying to get my creative, graphic design, and photography business off the ground, I saw so many people undervalue my work–not because they felt it wasn’t good enough, but because they felt they shouldn’t have to pay for value. Websites like Fiverr help create this idea that content and creativity shouldn’t cost much.

    I realize this all doesn’t sound super encouraging, but bear with me. It’s hard as shit–but its nothing you’re doing wrong or not doing right. Your book is absolutely fantastic. I’m hardly one to sit down and read a collection of short stories these days, and I was pulled in to every single one of them. Especially the ones that made me uncomfortable.

    Asking for help isn’t whining or being weak. Trying to figure it all out isn’t either. The good news is, us creatives group together and work together to help one another along–anyone who isn’t willing to support others’ creativity has missed the whole point.

    • AbsentElemental

      I really appreciate the kind words you said and the confidence that you (and others) have had in me. It’s really nice to hear and I really do appreciate it.

      I do think that there is this perception that you can’t still be working out how to be a creative person and still be successful. It’s kind of like being an adult. You’re technically an adult at 18, viewed as being “responsible” somewhere shortly after, but most people don’t feel comfortable being an adult until much later. I get that differs person to person. The idea persists however.

      Between writing this post and a couple of other things I’ve done, I have realized I need to try to write something to get all this out of my head. So I’ve started writing something up — we’ll see how it goes.

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