Fruits of your labour: The Importance of taking a minute to live life
People have this notion that being an author, especially self-published, means you live the easy life. That somehow everything falls into place miraculously and you do less work than most “traditional” authors out there. (Don’t believe me? Read Kristina Adams’ in-depth blog post here)
The reality is quite different. Speaking as a self-published author who turned down two offers to publish with (small) traditional publishing houses, I can say that I didn’t know what I was getting into. I chose the self-published route because I like having control over the content of my book, and over their pricing and how much I earn from each sale.
Had you told me the work is three, sometimes ten times as hard, maybe I would have chosen differently. But be as it may, I am happy with the path I walk. This year (which barely started but already feels like it’s slipping away), I had a bit of an epiphany, one can say. And I wanted to share it with whoever reads this, because maybe it’ll help some other poor soul who decided to burn the candle at both ends – like I did.
At the beginning of the year, I had one manuscript on the back-burner (it was a revised story already written years ago), plus two in the works. #AuthorConfession: I busted my ass off to put out Avalon Nightmares and First to Fall for their respective launch dates of February 21st and March 21st – yep, within a month of each other.
People asked me after how I did it, while working full-time and having a life outside of writing. The truth? I sacrificed. A lot. Because when you want something to happen, you need to work hard for it. And for me, that meant I either cut into the time I spent with my husband, or my dogs, or for myself. So I chose the latter and for three months, was averaging around 3hrs of sleep per night and writing/editing/revising in every spare minute.
My editor thought I was crazy working so hard, and they weren’t the only ones! But the result? I launched both books, ran a giveaway on my own website, topped my mailing list with a few new contacts and even made some sales! First to Fall was particularly successful – I’m not talking hundreds of sales, but I’ve been averaging 1-2 per day at full price since it launched. Which, to me, is a great result considering my marketing efforts were on the, um, down-low, so to speak.
That being said, it was towards the end of this period that I had my little epiphany. Despite the success and feeling good for meeting my (crazy) goals, I was beyond exhausted and sleeping 12hrs on the weekends to make up for missed sleep. (Sidenote: it doesn’t work!)
And then my husband suggested a mid-week getaway into a valley in Quebec, with a spa package included. Though it was cold outside, we arranged for a dogsitter and hopped in the car after work. The drive was relaxing on its own, with a myriad of beautiful landscape nearby.
And while the hotel we stayed at was nice, what really blew me away was the spa. In the warm water, with the trees surrounding, my brain finally found the peace it needed. By the time we finished our 3hr soak and returned to the hotel for some food and wine, I was more relaxed than I’d been in months (since before Christmas, really).
So if you take one thing away from my story, it’s this: putting everything you have into writing is good, almost necessary for self-published authors; but don’t stop taking care of yourself in the process. Burnt out is nothing fun, and it won’t bring you success any quicker.
Life is meant to be enjoyed. So while you’re writing and coming up with new worlds, don’t forget to enjoy the one you live in :)