At first, my motives were very pure and even altruistic: just post your book so you can get honest critiques and suggestions for improvement.
So, that's what I did. And I felt good. No, I was proud of myself. I could see it now: Mother Theresa would be having her agent get in touch with me, just so we could take a meeting, and all so she could find out how I do it; how I keep up this constant and tireless persona of humility and selflessness. I know, I know--you're wondering the same thing. It isn't easy being a martyr. Every time some assbag author would write to me privately, begging a backing for their book in return for them backing mine, I would, with quite a swelled head, and righteous indignation in my fingertips, would write them back a blistering e-mail (it was so hot, I eventually had to have it lanced), chastising them for being so shallow, and how could they, and my favourite, "I don't resort to extortion."
Yep. That oughtta do it.
The few days my book was there, I got compliments and suggestions that poured in by the screenful. People who never read historical fiction were now telling me they were fans, and all because I had a brilliant pitch (something we'll discuss in later blogs and how you can do it, too), gorgeous cover and incredible flow to my writing. Aw, you're so sweet, but really, it was nothing. People who loved and wrote historical fiction all the time were telling me that I had nailed the dialogue of the period, I'd set up the scene and time period perfectly, and my characters, while feisty and fighting against class standing, were still likable and you wanted to root for them.
Then last night, I went there again, just to sneak another peek, to make sure it was real, and there, shining in the number 1 spot again, was my little book. Oh, the joy my heart felt, swelling it to nearly 1 1/2 times its size.
Today, I got greedy, and went back for more. Oh, the feeling of sneaking into my browser at 5 a.m. when no one else's up and looking. Knowing the rest of the world is asleep and you're sitting there, in your footie pajamas, alone and all sneaky. I had to have one more peek.
I'm not ashamed to say, that fame is a fleeting, bitch of a person who rips out your egotistical heart and stomps on it with both gold, spiked heels. Not only was my book no longer there, it wasn't even in the top five anymore. I did the Bugs Bunny thing with my eyes again, but this time, it didn't help. It did not materialise my book from thin air.
Now. The next part is crucial to the denouement of the story, so pay attention. Suddenly, and without forethought or warning, I began to care that my book wasn't in the listings anymore! What was happening to me? I felt this sinking in my heart, this feeling of, "Oh, crap, how do I get it back," and all the while trying to be altruistic and feel the right thing: many people before me have said to never get caught up in your own press; never allow the accolades be the reason you write; never try and make fame happen. Just do it for the sake of the work.
But...but...isn't it okay to care, even a little?? Shouldn't your book be a thing of beauty that makes you proud and makes you want to show it off to others? I mean, if we look at it closer, isn't that the reason we write a flawless, good-grammar, right-punctuation, no-plot-holes book to begin with? So people will like it and we can be proud of what we do?
Sure. And my feelings were normal--I realise that. And they were harmless. I got excited that my book was up there, because it surprised me completely, and I got sad when it wasn't anymore. The trouble comes in caring so much that you allow it to make you quit writing completely.
Now, I will admit, that for the last hour, I've been over there, backing every book I could find, in the hopes that someone might return the favour. Suddenly, I'd abandoned my stringent principles of altruism, for the cheap thrill of another rise to #1. I don't know if it will work, but as I said in the beginning of this ride, I'm willing to share my experience--both good and bad--with you guys and see what comes of it. I know that I might still have been over there backing, "Dolly's Secret Diet to Bigger Boobs" if my browser hadn't crashed. Thank God for crappy Windoze.