A while back - we didn't have kids, so at least 10 years ago - my husband and I went to a comic book convention. It was when comic book conventions weren't as HUGE as they are now here and they were held in a much smaller venue than where it is now. I remember that time we actually got to meet Alan Tudyk (back then an unknown... probably still for some) and he signed our copy of the "Firefly" DVD and the playbill for "Spamalot" that we went to see in NYC in which he was, fortunately, in at the time. I remember he looked at the playbill fondly and we got to have an actual conversation with him. Why I didn't take pictures? I don't know. I'm a fool I guess.
If you've never been to a comic book convention you should know it's all about people selling you stuff (t-shirts, comic books, memorabilia, etc), artists sign their work (the bigger the convention the more important artists attend) and actors who have worked in sci-fi/fantasy movies show up for autographs and pictures.
Well, that time, in that convention, there was this guy with a table in the main hallway with a pretty big poster behind him promoting his self-published book: The Tels.
Now, my husband has always been a promoter of entrepreneurs and watching this author trying to succeed made him start conversation with him and, of course, buy his book.
Now, why is this event important to me?
Well, first of all, this is an author who took a chance, bought several printed copies of his book, paid for a booth at a comic book convention and advertised his book with everything he had. I don't think I have the balls to do this! I admired him then and I admire him more now. I've thought about going to Half Price Books, setting up my booth and spend a couple of hours trying to get people to buy "A Few Drops of Fantasy", but just thinking about it makes me anxious. Why "A Few Drops of Fantasy" and not "The Recruit"? Well, "A Few Drops of Fantasy" is shorter and the printed copies are cheaper. I could probably sell them for $4 at a Half Price Books, while "The Recruit" I could sell at $6, which is expensive for a paperback. It's just the number of pages. Now, would people buy it, I don't know? It would depend a lot on my people skills, which I would need to really work on at this point. I'm usually too busy being anxious around people (wish I wasn't, believe me).
Here's another point, my husband actually read the book. He said what I wrote was better, but at least he was out there. He complimented this author's bravery more than the book's content. Also, this happened over 10 years ago and I just looked at Goodreads and look at the number of reviews:
The book has 17 ratings and 6 reviews. This is a book that has been on the market for 10 years from an author that now has over five titles published. But, he doesn't care. He doesn't give up. He keeps writing because he likes it and I admire that.
I spend so much time worrying that people are not leaving ratings/reviews or worrying that nobody will like my books when I love them so much that I don't stop to realize how brave I am being... think about how brave you're being!
Be like Paul Black! Get out there! Take a chance! Write and put your work out there for the world to find! Sure, odds are you may never reach many, but why should that stop you (er, me)?
Bottom line, writing should be about doing something you love and just be hopeful people will enjoy what comes out of your head.
I spend too much time worrying about numbers, copies downloaded, read, reviews, ratings... seriously, I should only care about writing.