It could be the Writer Burnout talking here, or the backlash of yet another gray day outside my window, but I think the dream is dead.
More specifically, the dream I’ve nursed and coddled since I could read stories has taken the cruise over the Rainbow Bridge. Yes, my dream of being a published author has died.
There are books published that you have written. Indeed. But those aren’t likely to survive for more than a couple years.
Here’s the story behind that…
My current small publisher is Sweet Promise Press. I’ve loved working with them, and I currently have seven titles with them.
So what’s the problem?
I chose incorrectly.
Yes, that’s exactly it. I submitted work to two of her shared series and neither of them have taken off. In fact, both of them our proving so unprofitable that the publisher is closing them down.
That means the plans I had to expand my Sweet Grove Romance series are dead. There will be no more books in the First Street Church series.
The publisher’s most successful series don’t appeal to me. As you know, I haven’t been creating anything so far this year. I can’t seem to focus long on a single story line, so nothing longer than a blog post is getting written.
That means once my contracts with SPP expire, those titles will go out of “print” and I’ll no longer be published.
Most of the authors who work with SPP are hybrid authors, meaning they have independently published many of their own books.
I tried that. It’s called the Reflections Series.
And it is the project that pushed me over the edge into creative burnout.
The books also aren’t selling well enough to return my out-of-pocket investment. This could be because I’m not advertising them widely enough (which also takes money I don’t have) or because they’re in a genre that doesn’t have a ton of readers.
Or maybe they aren’t that great.
After all, there were no gatekeepers to tell me the books didn’t have what it takes. I didn’t read a ton of comparable titles before writing and publishing them.
No, I’m not planning to unpublish these books. I still think they’re a “God thing” and that He’ll direct them to the readers who need them.
But I’m not going to be an indie author. I purchased four pre-made book covers with the intention of writing stories for them, but now that seems like just another bad investment.
Folks, I’m old. My dream looked like an agent reading the pages of my young adult fantasy and being swept into the fictional realm I’d created. It looked like a bidding war and a huge advance. There were mega book signing events and movie contracts I TURNED DOWN. Because every great author knows there isn’t a producer who can do their fantasy justice. (Remember, the book is ALWAYS better so why bother with a movie?)
And these days I don’t have the energy to dream.
Most days, I’m feeling successful if I put on real clothes, keep my house clean and get a few hours of work done.
This work mostly involves freelance proofreading jobs. In fact, I’m trying to muster up the energy to get that enterprise off the ground so I don’t have to get a job out of the house.
Those require being fully dressed and looking like a human being. Ugh. Sounds like more work than it’s worth.
If you’re someone who has read and enjoyed my fiction, this is preliminary notice that it has a limited shelf life.
If you’re one of those people I encouraged to follow the dream, I stand by that. As much as it hurts me to know I’ve killed that beautiful vision for my words, I’m not sorry I took six years off from “paying work” to see if I could be a successful author.
As C.S. Lewis said, I’m not too old to dream a new dream or set new goals. I hope and pray someday soon I’ll feel like dreaming again.