by Kayce Stevens Hughlett
Here it is again. Nope, not springtime. Yes, springtime has arrived on the calendar, but I'm talking about a niggling need to let something go. This morning I woke up with a persistent desire to write my publisher and say I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m embarrassed. I have failed you. I have failed. We had such high hopes and dare I say, expectations for BLUE. It was going to be a glorious bestseller, a roaring success. I’m sorry I have failed in that. Truly.
After a year (or few) of meticulous edits and consultations, a fantastic cover design, and bucket loads of enthusiasm, the marketing efforts forged full speed ahead. I poured my heart into it. Splashed it across the internet, visited local bookstores, sent out press releases, and enlisted early readers for Amazon reviews. I talked with book clubs and created not one, but two great reader guides. I had a plan and we were on a gorgeous roll. I quit working on anything new and spent my time, energy, and money, single-focused on Blue’s send off into the world.
When Amazon jumped the gun and delivered Blue more than a month before its targeted release date, I made the best of it and launched “the book that wouldn’t wait” campaign. I wore blue wigs and sunglasses, carried balloons along the street, collected peacocks, and made memes like a mad woman. This was going to be great. Really really great!
I planned and executed a fantastic local launch celebration for family and friends, old and new. I spoke at book events and garnered guest blog posts and racked up 5-star reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. Readers love Blue!!
People came up to me and posed their theories on what was happening with Daisy, Monica, and Izabel. They told me how they gasped, laughed out loud, and even cried. We were all in this together… until we weren’t.
Blue and I hit a wall. I got tired of marketing. What was the point? I’d produced a great product, poured my heart into releasing and launching it, sold a few hundred copies and then WHAM! Sales stopped. Readers said they’d write reviews that never quite made it into print. Local bookstores didn’t restock. Friends quit sharing on social media and loaned their copies to others instead of inviting them to spend $15 for a copy of their own. I felt drained by it all. I berated myself. Soothed my wounds and finally decided that my time, money, and effort were better spent on other things. Life is too short to worry about “failure.”
But did I fail? Hell, no! Blue is fabulous and, of course, it's still for sale!! It will always hold the distinction of being my first novel. It has nearly 60 fantastic reviews on Amazon. It won the Chanticleer Book Award for Best Women's Fiction of 2015.
Will there be a sequel or another novel? I don’t know. What I do know is that I love to write. I adore it. I spent hours yesterday moving sentences around on the page and finding new ways to express the word little. Still… I awaken at least once or twice a month and feel the need to write my publisher and say, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I failed you. I appreciate you and all you’ve done to get Blue out into the world. We did a good thing.
I say Thank You to my faithful readers ~ the already and the yet to come. Thank you. I appreciate you. Your presence is most welcome! Je t’adore.
There’s so much more I could say about writing and failure and regrets, but not today. Today is for saying I’m sorry, because not saying it is getting in my way of moving forward.
And now, I’m off to write. Who knows what will show up next?
What gets in your way of moving forward? Springtime is a fabulous season to ponder this!
I'm working on a new book! In the meantime, I hope you'll take a peek at BLUE: a novel and As I Lay Pondering: daily invitations to live a transformed life.