Last week was the week from hell. It started out normal enough with me tra-la-laing it all over Facebook and Twitter, but it began to go bad when I realized that most of my followers are family, friends and other writers, rather than actual fans. This is not a complaint. But I could plainly see that their enthusiasm was waning. I shrugged it off as par for the course because one only has so many "way-to-go's" and "love-these-books" in them. And then, because I apparently wasn't properly demoralized, the Universe sent a series of lightning bolts down to singe my merry ass, any one of which would have probably killed me if I hadn't been raised by a Marine.
First, I received my royalty statement for August and was embarrassed and appalled to learn that my royalties didn't meet the minimum threshold for a check to be issued. That's when I discovered that I had been calculating my book sales wrong, and the number I sold was far less than I thought, and I bought half of them. And then -- and man, you can't even imagine how much it pains me to admit this, the local television station declined to feature my books on it's folksy, lunch hour show. That's about as soul-crushing as it gets unless, of course, the rejection comes addressed to Dear Lisa when your phoquing name is Linda.
Now, I know that in the grand scheme of things, these are mere blips on the road of life, and that things could be a hell of a lot worse. But coming on the heels of a shitty health diagnosis and a mind-numbing bill from our mechanic, it was just short of too much to bear. So I did what I always do when the Universe decides to throw me a curve ball, or two or three: I shut down and wallowed in self-pity for a couple of days.
Sometimes when I get like that I formulate a plan of action while I'm wallowing; other times, I just get sick of feeling sorry for myself and start doing stuff based on pure instinct. This was a pure-instinct kind of a funk, so I can't tell you why I decided to take down the cottage that had been constructed on my front porch for Dear Heart's launch party, or why I replaced the pricey heart-emanating- from-a-typewriter print that hung on my study wall or why I traded in my Dear Heart/Sweet Heart coffee mug for my Dear Heart only mug, which I like a lot better. I also can't tell you why I spent two days pulling weeds and trimming arborvitae instead of sharing isn't-life-wonderful posts on social media, or why I decided to clean out my sweater drawers and pack away all those size Small sweaters, Henleys and T-shirts which I'm never going to stop eating potato chips long enough to wear. But that is what I did.
I won't say that shutting down and copping out cleared my head because my head wasn't up my ass to begin with. And I won't say that it brought me down to earth because, notwithstanding my Facebook persona, I've been remarkably grounded about all of this. No. All it did was remind me that NOTHING has ever come easily to me. And, apparently, that isn't about to change anytime soon. So be it.
Although there was a part of me that wanted to throw in the towel and let the chips fall where they may, I dug in. I reconfigured my spreadsheets to eliminate all but the most relevant data and defiantly plugged in the correct sales stats. With Arthur's help, I reassembled the cabin facade in my garage and built a door so I can use it to take promotional photos, and I began work on query letters to send to the local library and 55+ communities to see if they'd be interested in an appearance. I hopped back onto social media and responded and shared as the spirit moved me, and I sent the television station a polite note thanking them for their consideration. I didn't mention that they got my name wrong, though, boy, did I want to. I did, however, ask why the books hadn't made the grade -- not because I'm a glutton for punishment, but rather so I can take their response, frame it and mount it on my study wall until that happy day when I make it big and can shove it up their ass. Tra la la la la.