Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Another year almost wrapped up and in the books

2015 is knocking on the door. I, for one, am looking forward to waving bye-bye to 2014 as it recedes in my rear view mirror. This year was a rough one on many levels. Car accidents, major surgeries, flooded basements, etc, etc, and the list goes on. You name it, the Schiariti household dealt with it. I spent most of my free time revamping, fixing, editing, Funeral with a View. When I didn't want to, I worked on it. When my head wasn't in the right place to be doing much of anything, I worked on it. When it got to the point where I thought it would never be up to my standards and I felt like burning the damn thing, I worked on it. I've estimated that I'd spent about 1,000 hours fiddling with the manuscript between January and the end of September. That's a huge time investment. Did it pay off? In ways it did. In other ways it didn't.

Funeral with a View, after all the trouble, second guessing, and times when I just wanted to give up, turned out better than good. It turned out great. From cover to blurb, prologue to epilogue, I couldn't be more proud of what became of all that hard work. Busting my balls shows in a fantastic final product I can present to the world with my head held high. I did it. So, on a personal level the book is a win. That's not to say things are all sunshine and roses, though.

Similar to the months following the publication of Ghosts of Demons Past, I spent a great deal of time promoting my contemporary romance. I took a different approach this time: paid advertising. I bought spots, ads, a blog tour, hosted giveaways, contests. This promo blitz is just ending now, as the book is on sale for $0.99 through tomorrow. But here's the thing. None of it has really worked. It's moving in dribs and drabs, picking up killer reviews at a good rate, but it's still not getting into the hands of a lot of readers. Why? No idea. I've heard it's the lack of a large 'back list' on my part. I've been told that it may not be 'commercial enough.' This is really all supposition. Nobody can know the whys or hows of a book's success or failures. It simply is what it is. And that's okay. At least, I see it that way now. There was a period when I wasn't okay with it.

In the midst of all this promotion I fell into a profound funk. No matter how many messages I got from readers telling me they loved it or how many good reviews showed up on amazon and good reads, the piss poor performance tainted my perception of everything. Long story short, it made me feel like shit. A lot of that's my own fault, and I freely admit it. See, I'd gotten sucked into the numbers game. Sales numbers, ranking numbers, charting in categories, all that jazz.  I was in this mode of thinking where numbers were a sort of validation. If the numbers suck, that could only mean the book isn't as good as I thought it was.

I'm done with all that now.

Fact: no matter where you go there's always going to be someone bigger, smarter, stronger, faster, more successful, whatever. But ... that has no bearing on my work or what I do, not anymore.  I'm lucky enough to have a good group of readers who like what I've done and what I'm doing. That's awesome. And they're there when this new "Happy Matt" starts to regress back to "WAHHH Matt." Can't thank them enough for that.

All this numbers bullshit? It overshadowed the real reason why I do this stuff to begin with. I write because I like it and to have fun. It's not my job, and it's not my life's dream to be a best seller with millions of adoring fans ... although that would be groovy! As I've said before, I write for ME and publish to SHARE. Moving forward, it's about time to get back to having fun with it, because there's more to me than just books. Writing is something I've involved myself in, but it doesn't define me. Some folks are consumed by it. And that's okay! If that's what they want to do, good for them. Although I fed into the 'must be a success!' monster, writing is a hobby. Don't think that I don't take it seriously when I put something out there for public consumption. I do take it seriously. If my name's on the cover I'm going to make sure it's good. No half-assed stories coming from my computer, that's a guarantee. Still, there's more to life than books and writing.

Since this epiphany of mine, I've rediscovered other things I love to do that fell to the wayside, namely playing guitar. Up until a month or so ago, I hadn't touched any of my axes in almost a year. Oh, they gave me dirty looks when I took them out of the cases and plugged them into my amps, but they quickly forgave me once I spent some quality time with them. Out of all my hobbies, guitar is the longest lived. Been playing for about 23 years now. It was a crime that I took so much time off from them. For shame on me! Like writing, playing is something I like to do and something I'm good at.

New attitude going into the new year. No resolutions, no promises made that I can't live up to, but a different outlook. I'll write when I feel like it, publish when I'm ready. No forcing myself to do anything I'm not in the mood for, no getting sucked up in the popularity contest that is the world of independent publishing. Will 2015 see a new book from Matt Schiariti? Yeah, I think I can manage that. I've already started a couple WIPs. One's a romantic suspense that I've mentioned before either here or on my FB page (so hard to keep track of what I say, where I say it, when I say it). Another is the follow up to Ghosts of Demons Past. Then I have a bunch of short stories I'd like to revisit and polish up for publication in the meantime. Who knows how long it will take to write those other two novels? I don't know. And I don't care. It'll take as long as it takes to get them done and to get them done right.

I'm still getting used to this Happy Matt outfit. Fits nicely despite the, ahem, holiday weight. Will he be around 24/7? No way. He'll have his bad days like anybody else. However, he's more prominent than he was a couple months back and I have a good feeling he'll be around even more in 2015.

Happy New Year, everyone! If you've made it this far you have once again won a no prize. If you should ever heard a loud "KERRRANG" emanating from somewhere in the north east, do not be alarmed. That's me rocking out in Madison Square Basement, smiling.

Catch ya in 2015!

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