I’ve decided to start a new series of blog posts called “Thoughts I’ve had”—these can range from writing, publishing, or just life in general. The first one I wanted to start with is “If I’m not a best-selling author then I’m not a real author.”
Honestly, if I could have a dollar for every time I’ve thought that.
In the last few months, it hasn’t been something I’ve dwelled on but in the past it’s something I’ve obsessed over, so that’s why I want to talk about it first. Plus, I think it’s something that plagues a lot of authors, so I want people to realize they’re not alone. We all have the same fears.
I did write a previous blog post where I discussed this a bit and you can read it here: https://micaleasmeltzer.com/and-then-ill-be-happy/
As an author, I think we all crave validation that what we’re doing is working, that we’re good at what we do, and we think that being a New York Times or USA Today bestselling author gives us that.
At least that’s what I used to think.
But I was wrong.
The real validation, that comes from your readers. From the people who consistently read your books, who reach out to you to tell you how much they loved it, THAT is the only validation you need.
A list doesn’t define you.
That list doesn’t sell your book.
YOUR words. YOUR heart. YOUR passion.
All the blood, sweat, and tears you put into your baby.
That is what makes you a real author.
I think 2016 was a hard year for a lot of authors. Sales were down and at times it felt like “What’s the point?” But we keep going because we love it. At the end of the day, we HAVE to write. Just remember, if your book manages to connect with ONE person then you’ve done your job. Pat yourself on the back and be proud of your accomplishments. While making a list is an AMAZING achievement, and I’m not denying that, it doesn’t define you.
To update you on the blog post I linked you to at the beginning of this one, I have stopped saying “and then I’ll be happy” and I’ve been in a much better frame of mind since. I surprise released A Love Like Ours and most recently re-released Beauty in the Ashes. I didn’t obsess over ranking or sales and barely checked them at all (though I did check them). Dark Hearts will be my first “real” release (i.e. crazy promotion before and after release) since that post, so it’ll be my first real test since I wrote it. I’m hopeful that I won’t be a complete psycho, but I’m worried since I absolutely LOVE that book (Dark Hearts) that I might obsess over my ranking again. It’s not healthy, and the obsessiveness is exhausting, so I’m really going to try my best to let it go and see what happens. What’s meant to be will be.