What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

Voices from the Void March 20, 2019

Writing can be a very lonely pursuit. Even though I’m in constant contact with other authors, editors, cover artists. Answering emails, messaging on Twitter, responding to Facebook posts. It still sort of feels like your tossing your baby into the void.

It takes me between 1-3 months to write a book. That’s just the actual typing the word count portion of the process. The planning beforehand and editing after take a whole lot longer. Take all that time and multiply it by the number of books in a series. All those hours of plotting, writing, polishing, then you just toss this book baby out into the cold cruel world of the internet and hope its wings are strong enough to fly.

But even if the book is doing well, there’s still this constant fear of the void.

Now that I’ve gone Indie, I can see the download numbers for Girl of Glass. I can track the daily data down to what country the downloads are coming from. Thousands of people have downloaded Girl of Glass since its release less than a month ago. Like…multiple thousands.

But I don’t know if any of them have actually read the book. I don’t know if they’ve fallen in love with Nola’s giant heart. I don’t know if they think Jeremy or Kieran is a better match for her. I just don’t know!

And it’s maddening.

I’m assuming somewhere in those thousands of downloads, someone has actually read the book. Even though Girl of Glass is free, you still have to go through the process of downloading it, which I don’t think people would bother with if they had no intention of actually reading the book.

Let’s figure that roughly 1/10th of the people who have downloaded Girl of Glass actually intend to read the book in the near future. (Hopefully, the number is higher, but stay with me here.) That still means that hundreds of people have read, or are currently reading, Girl of Glass.

But I have no way of actually knowing!

Maybe it’s the actor in me. I’m used to finishing a number on stage and knowing right away if the audience liked it. I’ve been conditioned to the instant gratification of applause, or the soul crushing silence from the audience.

But now my audience is spread out around the world. So I just sit there, staring at my download numbers, hoping just one of those readers will send a ping out from the void so I know life exists away from my laptop. A tweet to say they enjoyed the book, an email saying they enjoyed the book, a tag of them reading the book on Instagram, or, the Triwizard Cup of authorhood, a review telling others that not only did they read Girl of Glass, but think others should read as well.

A little light shining out of the thousands of downloads letting the author know that the hours they spent with their characters have brought someone a smile or a tear. A signal from beyond the Amazon dashboard proving that life after the “publish” button truly exists.


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