Fiona writes: Over the past few two days more than twenty thousand people have downloaded my new novel The Most Beautiful Thing. They were going like hotcakes. Every few seconds I could click on the downloads and see the figure go up by ten or twenty.
This morning, in the space of two hours, I have sold one.
The difference? £3.99 ($6.50). This is how much my book costs now. The book that took me two years of research, writing & re-writing. The book me & Kaspa started a publishing company to publish, and designed the cover for, and proofed over and over. The book about Joe, who I care very deeply about.
Of course, that's not the whole story.
My strategy was to ask my friends & supporters to download it for free. I hoped that if enough people did this, then it would start appearing in Amazon's free kindle charts. And it did. And once it got there, people I don't know started downloading it. By the second day, my book was #1 in the Amazon UK free kindle charts. It was being downloaded more often than any other free book in the whole country.
Let's be clear. Before this promotion, despite sparkling reviews and a pretty reasonably-sized existing platform, I was selling one or two copies a day. Without making my book free, the vast proportion of those twenty thousand people wouldn't have downloaded it, however brilliant it is. It's no good charging a decent price for our work if nobody is seeing it. I really had nothing to lose by doing what I did.
Or did I? I felt depressed this morning. Will I ever make any money? Was all that work contacting people & organising a Blogsplashfor nothing? Will we never be able to afford new carpets? I sat for a while and allowed myself to feel sad.
And then I stumbled across Seth Godin's piece on not expecting applause. And then I found exactly what I needed to read - a beautiful piece about longing by my dear friend Sage Cohen. "Sometimes, no matter how much we want something, it is not our time for manifesting," she says. And she speaks (as Rumi does in the poem accompanying her piece) of where we canfind the answer to our calls of longing. The answer is found in the heart of the call itself. "Maybe that ache is simply enough. We may or may not hear anything back. Still, we write."
Maybe some of those twenty thousand people will tell their friends about my book. Maybe they won't. That will become clearer over the next few weeks, and there's nothing I can do about it.
But whatever happens, we write. We live. With new carpets or without. With praise or without.
I have found my way back to gratitude, whatever happens next. There are the roses budding in the garden. There is this cup of cherry tea. There is my friend's new baby girl. There is this old-man cat, curled into a circle, his chest rising up and down as I watch him sleep. I send my love out to him. I don't need anything in return. The answer is already present in the sending.
POSTSCRIPT: I wrote this blog, and felt much better, and published it, and then in the next twenty minutes I sold ten novels in the UK. Since then it's been climbing the Amazon charts... It's a funny old world, isn't it? *smiling*
'Don't ignore me' by Colourless Rainbow via Creative Commons