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Tuesday
Dec142010

Biblio-postpartum Funk

'So, the book's done; what are you working on now?'

I'm hearing that, or a reasonable facsimile, a lot.  Aaargh!  The inhumanity!  May I not wallow in self-approval and complacency, if for only a moment? Apparently not.  It's strikingly similar to computer industry sales; the 'what's your next deal?' question that immediately follows a successful transaction.

I'm beginning to suspect that marketing - what I'm supposed to be doing now - may be comparable in effort to writing the book in the first place.  Email, web pages, facebook, word-of-mouth, begging, and the goodwill of friends, family and strangers, have gotten me started, but getting beyond a few hundred in book sales will take a lot more.

One week after the book launched, I panicked: it appeared that I had sold zero books.  Did the 25-page online preview - and by logical extension, the entire book - suck? After grazing through the metrics, I learned that final book sales are posted only after the book prints and ships, which can take 10 days or so after the order is placed.  Yes, there's a pending book sales metric that shows all books ordered, but I didn't discover that jewel until a month later.

Fulfilling a purpose - in my case, the Sword of Damocles of a book to write - can be a bit disorienting.  The unfinished book was a convenient excuse for not doing other things, and I'm now uncomfortably short of excuses.  Ah, so that's why I'm thin-skinned about well-intentioned queries about my next project…

New projects are under way, but I'm not committing to them, publicly, yet, because then the interrogation reverts to:

'So, when will [the project] be finished?'

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