Back In the Swing of Things

So I took the week off.

Forget that it was my book launch where I should have been out there, doing takeovers and newsletter swaps and being everywhere tooting my horn. I took the week off to be with family and I’ve never felt better. With the current state of things in the world, there’s nothing more important than time spent with family.

We went to San Diego and spent a few days there. A lot of walking. A lot of eating, and coffee. A lot of shopping. Probably more than I should have, but the little prince was happy as a clam. We got to visit Legoland for the first time and did tons of shopping there, too. There’s a reason why they put the Big Store right at the exit of the park.

We even checked out Mission San Juan Capistrano which is known for the swallows who nest within the mission grounds once a year. It’s been a few years since they’ve been back though and the nests we saw may have been the fake ones that have been put up to get the swallows to return.

But it was an experience to see a part of California’s history, to walk on the paths where men and women walked two hundred years ago. And like I always do when it comes to places even though I probably won’t be back for awhile, I signed up for an annual membership. Who knows? I just might come back and learn more about its history.

I even got myself a book. I didn’t look at the price but it cost $27 at the register! It’s called Testimonios: Early California Through the Eyes of Women 1815-1848. I could have gotten it cheaper from Amazon but my purchase helps fund the Mission so I’m fine with that. Still, I remember listening to my grandmother and her sisters and cousins talk about the family’s long history back home and I have to agree. Women make excellent storytellers about a time period.

The little dude also got to learn how to skateboard and he sure had fun. We even got to meet a Komodo dragon named Bubba and an unnamed albino Burmese python that felt so smooth. And there were moments where the kid and I simply hung out at the arcade and tried to win as many tickets as we could.

Anyway, coming back to an abandoned book launch was interesting this time. I didn’t feel too bad about the sales—or lack of. Sure, I did so much better with my last two launches (Loving Riley and Falling for Jordan) and I really should have done better with Breaking the Rules. But should have’s and could have’s aside, it is what it is.

It could have been worse. I could have missed my release date and chickened out like I wanted to do many times over.

But the moment I decided not to put thousands of dollars worth of ads into the launch, I knew I simply had to get over my expectations for when I would have thrown all that money into advertising. After all, you can’t have high sales without a high volume of ads. I don’t have the clout or the bank account as other authors do.

And you know what?

For the first time since I started this journey, I was okay with it. Like, really okay in my heart and soul.

It also made me look closely at whatever-movement or -gate is going on online. There was #cockygate and sure, I got caught in that one, then #forevergate, #tiffanygate and then #bookstuffing and on and on and on. Suddenly, there was a witch hunt for alleged book stuffers, another witch hunt for authors who weren’t on the same page as the witch-hunters, and yet another one for those who dared speak out to say, you know what, this is going too far.

Now you’ve got people reporting any book they consider scamming the Amazon system, and apparently, it can be for any reason whatsoever, whatever the mood the accusers may be in that day. There are others telling anyone who will listen to click on Amazon ads of authors they don’t like, alleged scammer or not, which will drive the cost of the ad high enough that they’ll quit doing it. Thing is, if an alleged book stuffer is making six figures a month from his/her sales, a few clicks of that ad isn’t going to make them stop running ads. You know who will stop? Authors like me with our budgets just enough to make sure our book is visible. You click on my ad out of spite because I said something you didn’t agree with and then lump me in with the scammers is pathetic and low.

But I’m back and I’m writing again. Today, I wrote a 2200 word story outline that I probably won’t write for another three months because there are five more waiting to be written on my list. But if there is one thing that Sawyer and Alma’s story accomplished, it was to free me mentally and allow me to tackle the list of stories that have been waiting to be written (unfortunately, Dev and Luna aren’t next) and also to move on without the pressure of having to carry a successful series that started with Dax. It’s my new reality: that there are certain accomplishments I can’t top and Dax and Harlow’s story is one of them.

I just want to start over at the beginning again.

And I’m okay with that.

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