I’ve been writing with Aristen since we were probably six–that’s right, six years old, for a total of about 27 years. We’ve been friends since kindergarten, and I have vivid memories of standing up (probably on my chair because I was a wild child) during our class after Aristen returned from a family trip to Thailand. I honestly can’t remember a time when we weren’t friends.
As I said, 27 years writing together, and I don’t think anybody ever really cared that much about what we did. We wrote for each other, solely for each other, except for that one time in middle school I brought in one of our stories, and it was passed around the 6th grade to the delight of my classmates. But still, the stories we wrote were for us. We did it to amuse each other, and once I moved to Georgia from Northern Virginia, I think we wrote together back and forth through the mail to maintain our friendship, live the good ol’ days, if you will.
We set up a Facebook author page and currently have a total of 22 likes. A few weeks ago, I took a picture of my business card from work. I got something like 200 likes from my Facebook friends. When I announced that we decided to publish our first book, the amount of likes for that announcement was way lower; if I remember right, I didn’t even break 100. I have a total of 591 friends on Facebook (for some reason), and I know that not everybody’s going to care, but crap, you’d think I could get more than 3% of my friends to at least LIKE my author page.
I think my expectations might have been a bit high, no fault of anyone but me. Happily, I’m self-disciplined; it’s mostly about remembering that fact. Aristen and I have done this for ourselves for years. As another author said (and I can’t remember who): people think you’re much more interesting if you’re a best seller, and once you are, you won’t have time to focus on your work. I would love to have adoring fans (what author wouldn’t?), but I need to remember why I did this in the first place. It wasn’t for attention. It wasn’t for fame. It was for fun, because I enjoy this and still do.
Many blogs do focus on this struggle. All Indie Authors says: “But here’s a harsh truth for authors: most people really do not care that you wrote a book,” and includes tips on how to garner interest with the public at large. Salon ran an article discussing MFA’s called: No one cares about your novel: So writers, don’t be boring! The title to that one made me giggle, and the author opines: “We live in a culture that doesn’t particularly care about books and authors, and that cares even less about literary fiction.” Which is totally true. Just look at some of the wonderfully successful books (I’m looking at you Twilight and Shades of Gray). But the bottom line is that none of this really matters. If you love to write like I do, you love to write. Success is doing what you love.
My emotions run high with something that is so unpredictable; it’s kind of part of who I am, part of my emotional fabric (it’s bright florescent multi-color if you’re wondering). Even if Aristen and I fail as authors and don’t make a dime, we’ve been doing this for us and can continue to do it for us for another 27+ years. And I’m going to enjoy the hell out of it.