More on Writing a Book and Stroking an Ego

So, I didn't write a book to make money off it. So far I've paid some in for typesetting and haven't seen a cent of profit yet. I'm hoping to at least break even. Anne Lamott, in her book Bird by Bird, says that you can't write for the money--it seldom becomes a real career. You write for the sake of writing.

Still, I have a fragile ego, I confess. I can easily get overly wrapped up in wanting people to like me--in wanting to be acknowledged for what I do.

I too frequently go to Amazon.com and see what my book's rating is--if it's jumped up or down in the ranks. And I get a slight ego boost when it has a better rank (let's be honest, though--it's mostly been between #500,000 and #1,500,000). I don't even know that the ranks mean anything until you've achieved a ranking less than triple digits. There are a lot of books out there.

But I find myself checking Amazon too often, just to see how the ranking is doing--if it's gone up or down, if it's at a number I can feel good about. It really doesn't do me any good to check it, but I do almost daily. So I probably should not go to Amazon.com that frequently (though there are some old books I'm trying to find). It does nothing to help me out psychologically to know whether or not my book is selling well.

But I'm also largely responsible for marketing. If I want the book to do well in any way, I need to try and help it sell. I'm still figuring out how to do that (especially within the realm of working full-time and having a family).

So I find myself in this odd place of balancing my ego and needing to promote myself in order to succeed. It's kind of like the whole job-searching process where you have to use your resume and be selling yourself in the hopeful interview that follows.

After all, I do want to write a book that matters--that touches someone in a special way (whether I'm writing fiction or non-fiction, blog or magazine article). I just need to keep reminding myself (like I need to in all areas of life) that who I am is not wrapped up in what I do. My self-worth is not based upon my worldly success. Writing books may not be the best profession for someone who struggles with that. Still, I enjoy it, and usually I get as much out of the process as I do reading any book. So I hope to keep at it.

* * * * * * *

And since we're here, I might as well provide an opportunity to purchase the book (now available on Kindle as well as in paperback). In addition to Amazon, you can also find it at Barnes and Noble as well as through the publisher, Wipf and Stock.

No comments: