A week ago, I was prepared to write a post about the frustrations of the business side of writing. I was going to talk about how much work it is and how frustrating it can be, about how much there is to learn and how I’m always playing catch up as a rookie. But, the fact of the matter is, I’m learning and fixing mistakes I’ve made as fast as I can.
When I first started this journey into authorship, I didn’t want to do these things. I wanted to write good stories and sell them. I’m a simple man of simple tastes. I enjoy life as a relatively anonymous firefighter. I chose a pseudo pen name: T. Allen Diaz as a lame attempt to shield my identity (The T. stands for Thad).
So, I entered the fray of the independent writer. I made a website centered on my book, not me. I created a Twitter account and an author Facebook page that’s still collecting dust. I created an author page on Amazon, and an author page on Goodreads (currently experiencing technical difficulties). I got an account with the World Literary Café and created this blog. Eventually, I placed some pics of myself on these sites (the bow tie pic is from my daddy/daughter dance with my girls and the one on the railroad was taken by my son on the tracks I can literally see, right now, outside my window).
But it was all grudgingly. I didn’t know how people would find me interesting. True, I write books, but I’m no superstar. My name’s not some household word, and that was never my goal. I’ve often said: “Fortune is great! You can keep the fame.” And, with this “business model” I was failing.
But, over the couple of days, something has happened: I’ve turned a corner. It’s true, I have a long way to go and I’m not seeing best seller tomorrow, but I think I might have the beginnings of a fan base. People have started chatting with me about my work. I’ve received messages from Tweeps who are “checking you out on Amazon” and “can’t wait to read Procythian Reign!” I even got the most treasured: “Just grabbed Procythian Reign on Amazon! Looks exciting!”
I admit, to date my commercial success wouldn’t qualify as modest, but there are signs of life. More importantly, I’m having fun talking to a firefighter from Springfield, Illinois, a nurse from Australia, a battlestar commander from across the pond, a D. C. reformist, and self-professed geeks and nerds from all corners of not the country, but the world!
I’ve been humbled by the support and camaraderie of writers who’ve offered guidance and encouragement. People who have taken the time to write to me and say: “Hey, it takes time.” Or “How’s it going down there in Flawda?” I’ve enjoyed these people and this venture. These folks have helped me realize that going out and mingling with writers and readers alike doesn’t have to be about ego or narcissism.
It’s about people and enjoying good conversation and company. I can genuinely enjoy prospective readers and fellow authors without trying to push some book on them. Sure I want to make money, but I don’t want to use people just to make a sale. Maybe that’s been by big aversion to “fame” all along.
I still have a lot of progress to make I’m still a rookie. I’m still fixing mistakes I’ve made and trying to play catch up. I’m still not using all of my tools to their fullest potential, but I’m doing ok for a working-class-stiff-holding-down-two-jobs-and-planning-a-wedding.
I’m on the right path. More and more people are visiting this blog. I’m getting more traffic on my Amazon site. And, I’m seeing a trickle of sales grow. Someday, I hope I will look at these days and smile at them as the hard days before it all came together.