So here I am, a real breathing, living person who is terrified of exposing the inner thoughts and feelings I have experienced this past week, from the moment I pressed the "submit" button on the Kindle file (and realized I had pressed the wrong button so I wouldn't have a chance to review it before it was OUT THERE) to the elation I felt holding that proof copy of the book in my hands and loving it so much I was giddy and silly with excitement. I even took a picture of myself with it, no makeup, hair in stringy strands - just happy me and the book. The book was gorgeous. Me? not so much.
I wrote about that class act we all love, Elizabeth Bennet in my story, but this week, as I was "exposing myself to the world", I felt much more like Lydia! Were Mr. Bennet to have to defend me to my friends and family, he would have said something like this:
Do not make yourself uneasy, you will not appear to less advantage for having a very silly friend. We shall have no peace if Diana does not attempt to publish. Let her do it then. The readers of the world are generally sensible, and will keep her out of any real mischief; and she is luckily too unknown to be an object of much interest to any body. At Amazon, she will be of less importance, as a common self-published novelist, than she has even been here on her blog. The readers will undoubtedly find authors better worth their notice. Let us hope, therefore, that her being there may teach her her own insignificance. At any rate, she cannot grow many degrees worse without authorizing us to lock her up for the rest of her life.''
And yet - like Lydia headed to Brighton, I was determined to do it, and enabled by several wonderful and talented friends, I took the plunge, honestly not expecting much, but happy to make it available to anyone who wanted a copy. I had been encouraged by so many people that I confess to having secretly harbored a degree of HOPE for some marginal success, but having read literally dozens of articles about how friends and strangers alike will lie to you and tell you what you write is great, but once you get into the real world, the sharks will eat you alive and then pick what remains of your ego from their teeth with no thought for whether your health insurance covers psychiatric trauma, that I was pretty much braced for the worst. Something along the lines of 5 sales, comprising my mother and a couple of my siblings making mercy purchases while the others expected a free copy sounded about right. Seriously.
The first six days, however, were actually fairly pleasant. I made a few sales, got a couple of nice reviews. I had friends tell me they saw mention of One Thread Pulled here or there. I held the drawing for a few free autographed copies of the book. I was having fun! My numbers were, I thought, respectable, though I had nothing to really compare to.
This morning, on the one-week anniversary of "going live", things got interesting. I inexplicably woke up at 5:45 AM. Yeah. For reals. I know! Then, instead of going straight back to bed, I decided to see if I had made any sales overnight. I pulled up the browser and refreshed the pages, and was surprised to notice something new. The Amazon page said that I was ranked #99 in the Regency Romance genre. Cool! I showed my husband and went back to bed for a bit. When i got back up, the rank had disappeared, and I told my husband that I was glad I'd seen it when I did since it was surely an anomaly and I didn't expect to see it again for a long time. By 11:00 AM I had been proven wrong - I was ranked at #87 in my genre. A few hours later, it was at 74, then 63, then 60, and right now, I am ranked at #54 in the genre. Here is a screen capture I took when it was at 63. I like this one because of the title at the top of the page - who ever thought I'd see the words "Best Sellers" on the same page as my name? You can see the navigation links showing the genre too:
So back to the topic of this post - being afraid to admit to the feelings I'm having right now. I'm incredibly gratified, and thankful, but I'm also in shock and absolutely terrified. I had equipped myself to deal with potential failure, and given no significant thought to coping with potential success. I didn't know really what to expect, but THIS was not it!
Here's what I do know. I love to write, and I love making a connection with the people who are reading what I have written. I'm going to keep writing. I hope you'll all keep reading, because I think I'm here to stay.