To my astonishment, a year after publication, my novel, Pictures of You, is suddenly on the USA Today Bestseller list for ebooks! To say I am amazed, grateful, stunned, is to put it mildly. And yup, I am posting it everywhere because I am so filled with joy.
There are always a lot of conversations going on on twitter or Facebook about how, or even if, a writer should self-promote. Many have others do it for them. Some don't do it at all. Some posters say that if you self-promote, you are sending out a message, "I achieved this AND YOU DIDN'T (with maybe a ha-ha thrown in for good measure.) Others actually gripe. "So what, you have this today, but don't get so smug because maybe you won't tomorrow." Others talk about how it's not deserved, or there are better books out there, or if you post too often, readers and writers both will hate you and hope you move to Siberia.
I find all of this sad and shocking.
Hey. We're all swimming in this big huge sea of writers, and what helps one, helps the many. I've posted a lot about how hard my struggle has been to get here, how many years I suffered, and how some months, I had trouble paying the bills. I've written a lot about how ecstatic I am that now I am finally, finally, having some success.
When I post about something wonderful happening to me, I have a few different messages than the snarky ones in the first paragraph. And here they are.
1. If I can do it, so can you. I had no virtually no career, and no sales. No one was taking my calls or emails. And this is after NINE books. I'm the patron saint of second chances and proof that it's never too late. You want someone to cheer you on? Consider me. Be brave, be bold and never give up.
2. I've been helped so much by other incredibly generous writers, (and hurt by some, but those we won't talk about), and I've made it my business to do the same, to help every writer I could, in any way that I can, be it blurbs, blog space, advice, reading, support, and yes, thrilled congratulations when they post about something wonderful happening to them. If I have success, hey, it just means I can help other writers even more.
3. Always be grateful. Always be in a state of wonder. And share everything with other writers.
So yes, I'm giddy with celebration, but I'm celebrating with everyone who ever wrote a line, or picked up a camera or a paintbrush. Joy can be contagious and so can success.