I’ve been holding this secret for a long time. It embarassess me. It makes me feel terrible even though I know it’s pretty common. Or people have told me it’s pretty common. But maybe they were just being polite. I’ll tell you what it is anyway. I need to get it off my chest. Ready? Here it is: After nearly five years, my first novel has still not earned out it’s advance.
Ouch! That was like ripping off a band-aid. I thought it was going to be worse than it was. Actually, it still feels pretty bad. My chest hurts. I’m totally serious.
Two weeks ago I got a statement from my publisher. It turns out that I’m VERY close to earning out my advance. I actually should do it in the next quarter. But then you know what happened? The books were released on paperback and for Kindle. That means, rather than $15.95 a copy, they’re now $9.99 and $8.99 a copy respectively. So I’m going to have to sell even more books to earn it out. I feel like it’s never going to happen. I might cry.
This is yet one more of those things I’ll use to put pressure on myself. And here’s how:
I haven’t earned out my advance = I am useless as a writer.
I have not been able to sell a new work of fiction = I really suck at writing.
Writing the Stephenie Meyer biography made me want to hang myself = I am a bitter, jealous little writer.
Researching the Sharon Creech biography makes me anxious = I am a talentless, pitiful writer who should probably go back to a day job.
I can’t figure out my next novel = I couldn’t write my way out of a greasy paper bag with a sharp-nibbed pen.
So what’s a talentless hack to do? Go back to writing I guess. What else is there besides writing? True, not everybody can be as fantastic as Sharon Creech, or Jerry Spinelli, or Madeleine L’Engle or Christopher Paul Curtis. But Goddamn it, I am going to work so hard I’ll be good someday. I swear.