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Sep 23

Never be Discouraged

So I’ve been published for nearly a week, and came across the same thought from two people, one from my dad and another from an author on the Amazon forums.

 

“Why isn’t this book selling more than it is?”

 

This question is apparently asked a lot by debut authors and those behind their books. Granted, for a debut author with little name recognition yet, I’ve been thoroughly blessed by my family and friends. They make constant efforts to get the word out, and it’s so far been quite effective compared to many other authors I’ve read about. Still, my rankings on Amazon hover somewhere between 10000 and 70000 depending on the whim of the day, and I’ll admit I wish my sales are much higher.

So, debut authors, once their initial sales dip into the abyss, should just give up, or at least be discouraged?

No.

Never give up, not unless you want to, not unless you’re looking for things in life that are easy. An author I follow, Joe Konrath, posted this page among others on quitting. He basically says that “if you can quit [writing], you should”. His views are condescending to the faint-hearted, demeaning to those on the fence, and probably depressing to think about.

They’re also great, accurate, and worth a look.

I’m a Black Belt in Taekwondo, trained by a prominent Korean school that branches out into America. While most of my belt testings were challenging, my Black Belt testing was ridiculous. 500 dollars (After many saved paychecks as a grocery store clerk) to not fail, at anything. A Warm-up that rivaled my exercise nights. Techniques and forms executed numerous times, often singling out whoever is weakest. A 1000 kick challenge. My sister (two degrees higher than me) worked so hard that she threw up, a lot. I collapsed on the floor numerous times from asthma just to get a painful breath. Nobody I saw from any testing went through that 2-3 hour experience without great pain.

Yet plastered on the back wall, clear as day, is an enduring message: “BLACK BELT FOR PEOPLE WHO NEVER GIVE UP.”

None of us did. My sister, after in the bathroom for 20 minutes, came back out and finished in style for her 2nd degree. Every time I collapsed on the floor, family and friends asked if I needed an inhaler. I’d slam my fist on the mat, leap back to my feet, and kick some more.

Talk about discouraged? A friend failed just two breaking boards away from her black belt, and she had to start the process all over again in a special session. Despite all the yelling and unbelievable frustration, did she do it? Yes, she got ahold of herself and realized that failing wasn’t the end. She succeeded the second time.

 

Publishing is not going to be easy. Sales will start hard. Promotions may not work, or worse, you may have paid for them to not work. Not all of your reviews are going to be rosy 5-stars. If you want to succeed, whatever that means to you, you have to keep writing, promoting, and be ready to correct problems in your pieces. Do all of these things, and you’ll succeed.

At the end of his article, Konrath states the following:

 

I used to say that there’s a word for a writer who never gives up… published.

These days, anyone can publish. It doesn’t require hard work, talent, or luck.

But there is still a word for a writer who never gives up… successful.

I’m an overnight success. It just took twenty years for that night to finally come.”

 

Never give up, never be discouraged. If you truly want to be a bigger name author than you are now, you have to press on.