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Obsessing About Success

Well, shoot.  I knew this would happen.

It's been, what... ten days since I put my book on Amazon?  And I've already convinced myself that I'm a failure, because in that time I've only sold five copies.  What should disgust me more right now: my sales or the fact that I can't stop thinking about it?

Ugh.  One more shameless plug wouldn't hurt:

Only $2.99!  Buy it today!

Okay, got that out of the way.  On to my weekly grief vomit.

I wrote before that self-publishing my book was more of a therapeutic move than a career move.  The whole punk thing of doing stuff entirely on my own doesn't have a tremendous amount of appeal.  Ultimately I'd like to get an agent and a book deal with a publisher and all the other trappings of literature that you see in movies.  But in the meantime, my goal is just to not give up. What better way to step forward than to make one of my books publicly available?

So I accomplished that goal and it felt great.  Now I get to move on to Stage 2 of my therapy: completely ignoring my sales long enough to get back to work.  It's not going well so far.

The problem is that I keep obsessing over this totally fantastical idea that despite the facts that I have no marketing budget, I've done no advertising, I'm not a big name, I don't have a huge following, my book is part of a traditionally non-marketable genre, and even writers for whom none of these items are an issue still don't make a terribly huge amount of money, I will be the singular, magical, beautiful snowflake of a writer whose work immediately takes the world by storm and I sell ten million copies.  A large chunk of my brain ties "success" so closely to this exact scenario coming to fruition and anything less should be considered miserable failure.

And so every day I find myself coming back to the Amazon KDP site and arguing with myself about whether or not I should check my sales.  I've looked at the monthly report five times so far in the last week.  I guess the good news is that I haven't done it ten.

On the one hand, if I could just stop checking sales, I think I'd be able to relax and unwind a bit until I get to the point where I realize that my standard is way too damn high.  I might be able to look at this from an objective point of view and analyze my sales in an intellectual and predictive way that lets me make informed decisions and form some kind of business plan, or at least pat myself on the back and move on to the next step.

On the other hand... if I check my sales report, I might find that I just sold 10,000 copies last night and I've been nominated for Best Writer of the Year Award!  I have to check it now!

Agonizing about this has actually been such a problem that it's thrown off my schedule.  There's been at least one morning where I didn't get into the shower as early as I was supposed to because I sat on the couch feeling the left and right hemispheres of my brain break out into full-fledged civil war.

Breathe.  Breathe.  MMmmmmmmmmm okay.  I think I got it under control.  For the moment.

So, how was your commute this morning?  Got in a bit late?  Sorry to hear that.  Did that bitch in Marketing give you that snotty-ass look again when you got to your desk?  Yeah, I know.  I can't stand her either.  Why's Janelle gotta be such a damn snob about everything?  "I'm going to take a forty minute break at 9:20 to go get coffee, but God help you if you come in at 9:05 and work through lunch."  Jeez.  Hang in there.