Writing

This Book Business and the Bad Times…

This book business isn’t easy. I know logistically it *is* pretty easy, because everyone is doing it nowadays. But staying in it for the long haul? Not an easy thing, and shit will get to you. Take it from me, over time, it will absolutely get to you.

I’ve had multiple talented friends walk away–either purposefully or just by silently not writing anymore. I’ve threatened to quit publishing myself because sometimes the joy is very hard to find amidst all the stress and drama and other demands.

I’ll fess up to my story from this year and tell you how I’ve come out of it multiple times… because I’ve been through this multiple times. We all have different things that get us down or stress us out. Different triggers that make us want to walk away.

My trigger? People close to me not reading the things I write.

After Love Will released, I went into a tailspin. I wrote what I feel is the best book I’ve ever produced. I got to be so creative and so in touch with feelings with this one that it took me places I’d never been as a writer. It was such a rewarding experience for me. I had never been more proud of a book. I was so excited to release the book that I did just that–I released it. No ARCs, no tour, no nothing. I was naïve in thinking my inner circle, my close friends, my street team would stop what they were doing to read it. Some did. I was so excited to see their responses and get their feedback. A few devoured it like I hoped they would. For others, it took more time. Love Will is a long book, so I kept telling myself that it would naturally take longer. But then I noticed many of my ‘loyal readers’ hadn’t even started. Or if they  had, they weren’t talking about it. I wasn’t sure which was worse. I still don’t know (and I don’t want to know).

I obsessed about this, not just for days, but for weeks. I thought I would be able to relax on vacation shortly after Love Will‘s release, but no. I kept checking Goodreads and Facebook looking for signs of life for my book. And they weren’t coming. A release-week-cycle later, and it starts looking pretty dismal for a book.

I couldn’t snap out of it, either. I kept asking the people who had read it if they thought something was wrong with it. I could postulate all I wanted to, but I wasn’t getting any real feedback. No one was talking.

I kept telling myself that not everyone was going to like every book I write, but damn it! I didn’t want to learn that lesson with this book! And not with my inner circle of readers! I just couldn’t stand to think that. And so I kept obsessing. It was eating me up inside.

I had plans to write an extra that accompanied Love Will right after releasing the book, but I lost all desire to do that. I also had a novella to write that would explain some news that was dropped in the final chapter of the book. I couldn’t write to save my life. I could check stats. I could check Goodreads. I could check Facebook. I could not write.

And then one day, another author (we’ll call her Ashley P.) asked if I wanted to write a short story for a project she was working on. It had a quick turn-around and it needed to be fun and summery. Because I like Ashley and I had started a fun, summery story years ago that I never finished, I told her I would do it. Since it had a fast-approaching deadline, I got to work that day.

I wrote. And you know what? I’ve been writing ever since. I’ve been writing in that short story. I’ve been writing in the Love Will extra, in the novella, and (mainly) in Trey’s novel.

I have not been obsessing about who’s read my book and who hasn’t. In the weeks since Ashley approached me, I’ve blocked my stats page and Goodreads on my phone so I can’t check anything, and I turned my mindset around to focus on the loyal readers (and new readers) who have read Love Will. Sure, there aren’t many people, but the ones who’ve read it seem to like it a lot and appreciate it for what it is. It can still be my favorite, regardless.

But I can’t let the opinions of a few readers or their inability or unwillingness to read a book control my happiness. It’s not fair to them and it’s not fair to me.

But this is what makes me question the publishing aspect of what I do. I get so much pleasure out of writing. But sometimes there is so much misery (that might all be in my  head) and stress put upon myself after publishing that I question if it was ever worth it.

But in the end, I keep doing it for the handful of readers that did love Love Will or that did love Love Like We Do or the Choisie series or the Emi Lost and Found series. I’ll keep doing it for the ones that may love Trey’s book or Max and Zaina’s novella. There’s something for everyone–but no one thing will ever be for everyone.

It’s a hard lesson to learn.

10 thoughts on “This Book Business and the Bad Times…

  1. Hi Lori, I have read every one of your books, and always look forward to the next one with much anticipation. I truly enjoy the continuation and growth of your characters and their family dynamic. I have an especially soft spot for Jack, but grew to love each new person as you brought them to life. It has to be very difficult to put a piece of yourself out there with each of your novels. You are an artist with the gift to brighten people’s days, and remind us what love and family is about.
    Denise (Mom of 3 from Wisconsin)

    1. Denise, thank you so much for this message. I’m happy there are some people out there who love the continuation of the families. I do love these characters like they’re my own family, so it makes me happy to hear that there are others who are committed to hearing their next story, too. I really appreciate you reaching out! ❤

  2. Lori, I just finished Love Will and I loved it. I’ve read all of your books and loved every one of them. Please don’t get discouraged because you’re not getting enough “likes” or “stars” on goodreads or amazon. You are an amazing writer and people WILL read your books because they are so invested in the characters and storyline. When will your next book be out? will it be about Zania? or Trey in college? I’m anxiously waiting. 🙂 if you ever need to send someone an ARC, please keep me in mind. Thank you!!!! Tera

    1. Hi, Tera!! Thank you so much for reading and for your kind words. 🙂 The book I’m entrenched in right now is the next NOVEL that’s going to come out, which–yes–is Trey’s, and he’s in his second year of college. Before that one is released, though, there will be a short novella from Max and Zaina’s points of view. It will a) explain what you learned at the end of Love Will, and b) set things up for Trey’s book. I haven’t written much of it, but I know what’s coming. 🙂 There will also likely be a Peron extra that is released before either of those… but it will probably just be something free on the website. ARCs always tend to hurt people’s feelings and stress me out, so I didn’t do them for Love Will… that seemed to make matters worse, so I haven’t decided if I will or won’t do them going forward. Why don’t you send me an email at writer@loriotto.com so I have your info on hand. 🙂 Again, thank you so much!!

  3. I loved LOVE WILL. The Emi Lost & Found series, several years after I read it, is still my favorite and I recommend it to everyone. I honestly feel your characters, I know them. I’ll read anything you write! Keep going-I’ll keep reading!

  4. Hi Lori, I’m so sorry to hear of your struggles through the writing and publishing process. I’m grateful that you have come out of it and are now back on a path that is so beautifully yours. I’m an avid reader; I can easily read 5-7 books a week. But no author has resonated with me the way you do. I’ve read all of your books – multiple times – they touch a place in my soul like no other. I am not one to post reviews (although I did once – for you!), but I do share my love of your books via word of mouth. Please know that while you may not always get the feedback you need, your talent is truly appreciated by many of your quieter fans. I know, because I am one! Rochelle

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    1. Awwwww, Rochelle, this is such a sweet post. And you know what, being a ‘quieter’ person myself, I should really appreciate people like you (and myself) more. Thank you so much for posting this, and I’m sorry it’s taken awhile to get back to you. This little note really means a lot to me. I’m sending you some virtual hugs right now.

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