Continuing from yesterday:
Much is affected by the fact that I do not aspire to fame, and I don’t need my books to make my living for me.
Would I reject fame or fortune if they wandered into the corral? Not at all. I’m leaving the gate open in case they decide to wander by.
Vast difference between “fine if it happens” and relentless pursuit. I know the effort of book marketing; our primary business provides social media marketing services for authors, as in, we do it for a living. With a whole team and a slew of tools.
My family’s livelihood does not depend on my books. It never will. That’s built into my present work plan.
If someone exchanges money for my books, I want them to be happy with the perceived value. If not, I’m delighted to give their money back, which means, yes, I lose money, because Amazon sure ain’t refunding their part. This does not mean I need to preemptively charge less (or nothing at all) if I realize my books aren’t perfect. Critics don’t set the value of my books, readers do.
In Brené Brown’s 99U talk she describes how to address the critics, real and imagined: note their presence in the arena, recognize that they’ve got an opinion, and then ignore it.
They are not responsible for determining the value of your art.
As Brown says, we have to tell the critics “I see you, I hear you . . . but I’m not interested in your feedback.”
There are people who know more about writing than I do. People who know more about selling books, about the publishing industry.
Here’s what they don’t know: my values.
They don’t know what drives me. They don’t know why I make the choices I make. They don’t share my perspective, which severely limits the benefit of their advice to me. (Not intrinsically; their advice probably has massive benefit to folks who share their values.)
If they don’t know me, they cannot advise. It’s that simple.
The same applies to potential readers. If they don’t believe what I believe, to some significant extent, they’re not my tribe, not my fans, and their opinion has no benefit, no bearing on the direction I should take with my art.
So, the question, dear reader: casting your mind back over my last few books (A Long, Hard Look, A Still, Small Voice, That She Is Made of Truth, Into the Fog) do you think they should have stayed in the oven a little longer, or were they ready when I served them? I know you love me, but I need the truth: we both know I will continue to get better, but so far, has it been good enough?