When I first wrote Sawyer’s story, I started with Alma. And like Harlow’s story, it’s a beginning that had me taking a step back and going, whoa! This isn’t how you start a novel. Definitely not a romance novel.
Everything seemed wrong. I felt uncomfortable with the things I was writing. I pulled back A LOT. I finally sought the help of an outline person to help me navigate my way toward something that wasn’t driven so much by doubt but story. She had to help me find the forest for the trees.
And even when she did help me, I fought it all the way. Goodness, how I fought it. Maybe it’s one of the reasons I’m also tired (there’s another reason, too, that I talk about). This was one book that I fought with myself to write. I questioned everything. I doubted everything. If I thought Loving Riley was bad, this was worse. I never doubted myself so much and maybe because the story stays in the grays of life.
Forbidden relationships that I never mean to write but end up writing. Why? I have no idea but maybe that’s why I have that inner fight with myself all the time because maybe something inside wants those stories to come out.
Interestingly, the business part of me wants to put my books back in Kindle Unlimited only because I want to be as “successful” as my peers and see my books ranking in the store again. I want to be able to say in this group I’m in, “Look! I’m number one in my category and <100 in the whole Amazon store!”
Maybe it’s human nature to want that but I guess it’s also human nature to wish I could enjoy the ride and stop chasing the target that keeps on moving. And it doesn’t just move every week. It moves every day and every hour. Just when you think you’ve accomplished something—get that bestseller tag, let’s say—an hour later it’s gone and you feel like a fraud.
So this time, this launch is different. For the first time in three years, I’m taking the week off. I’m going out of town with the family. Maybe I’ll actually get to walk on the beach or something. I’ll still write a bit on my phone or iPad, but I’ll be writing the stories I want to write, not the ones I feel I have to write to make it to the top 100 on the Amazon store.
But I’m also tired. Like, soul tired.
I’m scared of the world we live in now. Maybe I had every reason to be scared of it before but being that ignorance is bliss, I didn’t know any better. But with things going on now, I really am scared. I no longer can tell whether a smile is genuine or not, definitely not to someone with my skin color. Or my son’s.
Nothing is guaranteed anymore. And so my heart and soul somehow know that Amazon rankings are not real. That yellow bestseller tag isn’t real. Money you think you have in your Amazon dashboard may be gone in a month and you have no recourse because Amazon says you didn’t really earn it. It was bogus or inflated or bot-driven, or whatever.
Nothing is guaranteed.
So I’m taking that vacation on launch week. I’m spending time with my little prince. I’m taking a step back from the rat race of publishing and the drama and the pressure and just try to be me—a mom who has to keep hoping that things will turn out okay in the end.
But I’ll still be scared.