Today was a bad day. It started with a handful of meltdowns from my 4-year-old which was followed by my dog running away (he's safely home now). These alone make for a less-than-stellar start to a day, but add in an email from a store letting me know that they'll be removing The Ocean Series from their shelves... well, that's just salt in the wound.
Having books removed from shelves is not that strange. It's the nature of consignment contracts and the business. You get a certain amount of time guaranteed, and then, if you're not selling, the store will make room on the shelf for different books. Normally, I'd have no issue with this. But today, well, it sucked. I began to start doubting myself. Why do I do this? Why do I bother to pour months and months of work, hundreds of dollars, and endless effort into putting out a book? I get my foot in the door of a store, get my books on the shelf, only to have them removed again.
This isn't the first time I've had doubts about writing as a career. Don't get me wrong, I'd never give up writing. I can't. But sometimes, when the recipe is just right, when I'm having a bad day, or get a review, or have someone tell me that I'm just dreaming, or I'm just plain tired.... well, sometimes I think about giving up being an author. And I know I'm not alone in this. There are authors and artists out there every day thinking about throwing in the towel.
It's hard. It's really hard to share our stories with the world. That's not just work we're putting out there. That's not just time and effort. There's a little bit of me poured into each and every book, and authors put that piece of themselves out there for the entire world to take and do with as they please. Sometimes you get glowing responses. Sometimes you get 1-star reviews. One month you make a bestseller list, and another month your books don't make sales and get removed from a shelf. You gotta grow a thick skin to keep trudging through this business. But some days, that skin is worn a little thin.
Thankfully, I have some great friends can usually talk sense into me. So no, I'm not giving up. I'm not quitting. But today, I really wanted to--and today is not the first time I've felt that way, nor will it be the last. Of course, I also know that I likely never will give up. Sharing my books with you guys is something pretty special, and way more important than those days of self-doubt.
Oh, and don't worry, you can still find my books in bookstores around Winnipeg :) Just not every bookstore.