Since publishing my first book I have experienced the highs and the lows of realizing a lifelong dream and being motivated to do it again. I want to talk about some of the lows I experienced first because they surprised me.
You would think that having a slow start to sales would be devastating to a new author, but that didn’t really concern me. Sales in the beginning were slow, but they have picked up a considerable amount of momentum now and are steadily climbing. I like that kind of progress.
The slow start gave me time to revel in the warmth of just being a published author and that’s exactly what I did. After a year of being ready and procrastinating about pushing the PUBLISH button out of fear, the first few months are sheer euphoria. I loved it!
I did spend a year hiding in the shadows though. My husband and I finally discussed my reluctance and I told him I was afraid. What if I put it out there and no one reads it? He told me to never worry about that and to just do it. Take the leap of faith! With his blessing that is exactly what I did.
My advice here is to concentrate more on what you need from the experience and stop worrying so much about what other people need from it. It’s about them, but it’s really not about them. Accomplishing a goal is all about you and what you want and need for yourself. As someone who constantly worries about the other guy and making sure they’re all set, take it from me, make this about you and forget everyone around you. In the end the person that benefits the most from your work is going to be you.
There were a couple of instances that kind of shocked me. I wasn’t prepared for them and had no idea how to process them when they happened. The first few weeks I was careful about who I shared my news with. I am not a very good braggart when it comes to bragging about something I’ve done, but if you don’t toot your own horn, who will? So I cautiously tooted my horn, but with my closest friends, people I trusted to be gentle with me if my book actually did suck. And that’s when I got a couple of hand smacks I was not expecting.
One friend actually made fun of me and that was all she did. Never a single word of praise or congratulations, just a snarky remark about being famous. She was one of the people I thought would be my biggest supporter, but alas she was definitely not a fan. The other person is a writer too and I just knew he would be over the moon about the book, but he chose not to respond at all and instead blocked me. These were two people I considered friends, people I respected, and here they were behaving like schoolyard bullies.
It’s funny how intuitive my friend Paula can be sometimes. It’s almost like she can read my mind even though I never said a word about either incident to anyone. I almost wanted to tamp them down deep and pretend they didn’t happen, but they happened and I needed to process it. In walks Paula…
“I think it’s fair to say we’ve experienced some similar stuff this week as it relates to our successes. I’m convinced very few people are happy when friends and family succeed. They resent our forward progress and attempt to poke holes it it. They do this because they for whatever reason, thwart their own progress and growth with excuses as to why they can’t do something or why they aren’t worthy of accomplishing their dreams.”
I told Paula that while I was going to stay above the negativity these two folks kind of dulled the shine a bit for the few days I gave their reactions energy. I moved on pretty quickly.
My advice here is to delve into the issues here and reach out to a friend who will listen and understand what is happening. Don’t ignore stuff like this! Deal with it and then move on. I was lucky in that my friend Paula is also a published author and has also experienced this same kind of behavior. She knew exactly what I was feeling; a surreal did-that-just-happen-? gaslighting feeling happened and I was at a loss of how to deal with it in a constructive way. You have to process the bad too and get it out of the way so it does not ever have the opportunity to block your future progress.
While I’m here talking about it, let me leave this right here and encourage you to read Paula’s advice. She will change your life!
~from the blog LoveLifeOm.com, Paula Reeves-Carrasquillo
The highs were so much bigger and better.
It has never been about the money for me, though that is a nice aside. Publishing a book is bigger to me than having a blog that I can bang out my thoughts in daily. The book is something I can hold in my hand. It is something I can send to my friends. It’s written to be a reference guide of sorts that you can go back to again and again when the need occurs, but you can also sit down and read it cover to cover if you wish. I loved putting it together and pulled excerpts and chapters from right here on my blog. They are my thoughts, my work, my processes and I shared all of them from the start to the end with a section on how to heal from the abuse and be a better and healthier person going forward.
The highs have been watching it get checked out from the local libraries again and again and again. The librarian told me that it had never sat on the shelf long and it goes out as soon as it comes back in. Do you know what that means to me? It means people are doing some healing out there. That’s a good thing!
The other high has been the tremendous support and love from my own Tribe. I couldn’t do any of this without them. I love you guys!!! ❤
If you would like to purchase a copy of Life After the Narcissist it’s available in soft cover and eBook format from Amazon and from Barnes and Nobles online.
The absolute best feeling is knowing the next book is going to be so much easier. I think you guys are going to enjoy it. The book is a fictional depiction of how quirky some relationships can end up being. It’s called Socially Distorted and here’s a sneak peak:
“Amy rocked in her desk chair and watched as the greetings rolled by to the cheery “Hulloooo!” she had just posted. She always tried to use the curious Irish slang she picked up from reading the Irish newspapers and blogs online so that her claim to Irish lineage was never questioned. Look at them! They just loved and worshiped her! This was without a single doubt the best part of her day. She counted down the hours she could send out her first greeting to the group so she could get down to the business of finally living her life.
She clicked on her message box and saw several new messages. Most of them were from her “girlfriends” but two or three were from Barney. When she thought the word “girlfriends” it was with a twinge of dislike. There were few of the women in any of the groups that she even liked. She saw them all as competition or nosy. The women in the groups always sent her private messages in an effort to get to know her better, but she was wise to that now after a few falls from grace.
She used to eat that kind of attention up until she ran into a true online troll. This woman spent days and weeks gaining her trust. Amy had confided in her and shared some of her deepest secrets including her agoraphobia and being a shut-in. After a few weeks she noticed she was being treated differently by almost everyone in the group. Amy begged another friend in the group to tell her what the problem was, the friend told her that her confidante had been sharing her typed messages with everyone. The group felt sorry for her, but most of them just thought she was creepy. Amy left that group far, far behind her after that day. She didn’t even stick around to confront the horrible person that did this to her, but she vowed to one day get her revenge on this monster.
She had learned the hard way that no one on the Internet is your friend unless you had seen the whites of their eyes in person. Everyone out there in the cyberworld had an agenda, just like her.
She opened Barney’s message first.
Oh drat, she thought. This message was some heavy metal video love song and nothing else. She banged out a quick response pretending she had listened to it and swooned. That’s what he expected to read so she didn’t plan to disappoint him. He was always trying to impress her with his musical taste. What he didn’t realize was that not only had she never opened a single video he sent her; she didn’t like any of the music he liked. Good thing he was so cute or she would have cut him off a long time ago.
His next message was about how life was like a Rudyard Kipling novel. He wrote “Darlington strikes me personally as the most complete man of genius (as distinct from fine intelligence) that I have ever known.” She shook her head and read the sentence again. This couldn’t be her Barney. Did he even know Darlington’s books? She copied the sentence and plugged it into her favorite search engine and sure enough, there it was. Bob Miller was the actual speaker of these fine words, not Barney. She sighed.
She had finally figured out where Barney’s intelligence was coming from. In the beginning he never sounded intelligent or educated and one day out of the blue, he started to sound like academia. It shocked her and everyone else in the group that he had been hiding this from all of them; for the longest time she would read his words and drink up every ounce of his mind. She fell totally and hopelessly in love with him and his brilliant mind.
Then one day he posted something that looked so familiar to her that she nearly fainted from disappointment. It was during the daytime hours when she was supposed to be “at work”, but was instead glued to the computer screen watching as Barney debated with another one of the fellas in the group. Several other members had signed on from work to add a comment here and there too. She wouldn’t dare do something that irresponsible though. She was supposed to be a doctor and no doctor would neglect their duty to get on a chat board!
That’s when it happened.
Barney came back with a comment that struck her to her bones.
He quoted her!
He used her words as if they were his own!
It was from a private conversation they had online just a few nights before about this same subject. He didn’t paraphrase or give her credit though. He quoted her word for word and even used the same italicized words she had used. She knew these were her words because she was guilty of copying them from a website. They were written by someone else and she had claimed them as her original thoughts when she was chatting privately with Barney because how would he ever figure they weren’t her words? However she was the one that used the fancy italics, the original author had not.
When she saw he wasn’t above plagiarizing her she did some snooping with his other past comments and found that on the days Barney appeared to be smart, he was actually only smart enough to find somebody’s words online and copy them as his own. This was pretty much what she had been doing too. So they were both frauds! She wasn’t sure why but this made her even more attracted to him. How sick was she? The thought that she had found someone that felt like family was unmistakable to her. She wondered if she would ever be able to get him to admit what he was doing and if she admitted she was doing it too if he would feel as enamored with her as she felt for him right now. That was definitely something to look forward to!
She skimmed the new message and made a perfunctory reply and decided to wait a bit before opening his next one. It was always kind of a charge now when he tried to impress her since she knew the truth. She giggled and wondered if he already knew the truth about her too and then chided herself for giving him way too much credit. The boy was an idiot.
She noticed that her private chat icon was dinging and saw that Barney was online and wanted to talk. She clicked over and said hello.”
~an excerpt from Socially Distorted, a novel written by Katy Shultz