Monday, September 21, 2015

On cat barf and celebrating the small things

I woke this morning to the startling discovery that one of the cats barfed on the bedroom floor.

OK, that wasn't the startling discovery. We have five cats, so barf is an everyday treat.

This bad boy is on sale here for 99-cents!
No, the startling discovery was that Marine for Hire was sitting at #15 on Amazon's "Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store" list. Considering this book has been out since February 2014, and considering its previous best rank was around #132, this was big news.

I shared the news with my husband as I climbed groggily into the shower with him. "Congratulations," he said. "How are you going to celebrate?"

"Well," I said. "Since it's 5:30 in the morning, I'm going to start with a vigorous session of Pilates with my personal trainer, followed by a flight to New York to have brunch with my agent."

"Uh, what?"

"That's code for 'clean up the cat barf' and 'fold laundry.'"

He politely refrained from pointing out my code sucks, though he did point out something I hadn't realized: With About that Fling still hovering in the low 30s on the same Amazon bestseller list, that means I currently have two books in Amazon's top 40.

Quite an accomplishment for an author who spent the last four years seeing mostly mediocre sales, and the previous six or seven years before that hearing editor after editor say, "sorry, but romantic comedy just doesn't sell well."

I'd like to pretend my day's plans got more exotic from there, but the fact of the matter is that I'm up at 5:30 because I urgently need to write 6,000 words today for a book that comes out next fall. And my fervent hope with those 6,000 words is that at the end of the day, 1,000 of them might be salvageable.

That's kinda how it goes with this author gig. To the best of my knowledge, there's no magical moment where you stop writing drivel on a regular basis. You just get better at distinguishing the drivel from the good stuff.

And as far as I know, there will be no point where I stop having to plant my butt in the chair, sit down at the keyboard, and write until my fingertips are sore even when I'm tired or cranky or so uninspired that it feels like I'm wearing a fur coat while slogging through a vat of honey.

God knows I'm not complaining – I love this job, and I feel damn lucky that I get to do it. But I do think authors (along with a whole host of other people in different careers) need to do a better job of celebrating the mundane, day-to-day accomplishments. You got up this morning and put on pants? Good for you! Have a burrito! You got through your email inbox by noon or wrote 500 words or organized your sex toy collection in alphabetical order? You're a rock star! Pat your fine self on the back and feel good about it.

Now if you'll excuse me, that cat barf isn't going to clean itself. Well, not unless I let the dog have a crack at it. Hey, there's an idea . . .

4 comments :

Kerry Ann @Vinobaby's Voice said...

Congrats on those sales numbers! #1 in WF->Single Women and #3 in Contemporary Romance--sweet! (I have to admit, I helped add to those.) A 6k word goal is awe-inspiring. Seriously. I'd be more likely to climb a mountain carrying my llama and sherpa than write 6k good words in a single day. But now that I finished my burrito (for real--wet with roast pork) I'm off to attempt my measly 1k word goal. All I really want to do is go float in the pool with About that Fling. Congrats again!

Deborah Blake said...

I'm with Kerry Ann. I aim for 1,000 words and on a really great day I *might* hit 4,000. If I have a llama and a sherpa to help. Today I did about 1,200 and thought it was a damn miracle. (This book is due Dec. 1st and it has been fighting me all the way.)

Congrats on the great numbers! I'm reading About that Fling and loving it! (And I might have spread the word about the other book on Facebook and Twitter and with sherpas everywhere. Because us "humor doesn't sell" chicks have got to stick together.)

Deborah said...

6000 words a day. That is a serious chunk of work. You have my sincere admiration. And sympathy. I have only two cats that share the requisite hairballs...five. Ergh.

And congrats on the Top 40!!!! Keep it up. I love your stories and so does my mom, who'll be 70 this year. :)

Kristina Martin said...

New dog doesn't eat anything that doesn't resemble kibble...either hers or the cats. So I've obviously been hoodwinked again. Dogs do not make good floor cleaners. I hope yours is better suited to the job.

Also, congrats. You are amazing and I mean it. :)