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It has been a long, hot summer of idealism.  I sat outside as much as I could bear, sweating and writing and editing and formatting and plotting my vision of unprecedented overnight success under the canopy of oak trees shedding their acorns like grenades to explode on the decking beside me.  I relearned the refrain of cicada-song during the daytime and lay awake at night, uncovered and smoldering, listened to the yip-howl of coyotes.  I played with my son in the park or in his sandbox or played trains or built “sheds” out of sticks and leaves, drinking in the sight of his face, so much like mine, big-eyed and round-cheeked in delight, or scrunched-up and desolate with turbulent toddler frustration.

I’m not sure I’m supposed to admit this, but I haven’t sold a copy of Bestial in weeks, practically since October began.  The success which I dreamed and hoped for has not been forthcoming, but then I always knew this would be the case.  I spent the month after Bestial‘s release chasing reviews, approaching bloggers, inserting myself into online communities where I could self-promote.  It was a full-time job, exhausting and unrewarding.  My reviews are still paltry in number but highly-prized and hard-won, and every new sale felt like a victory.  I’ve come to realize what I already knew, however, that success as a self-published writer is in no way guaranteed, regardless of how hard you work, and owes more to blind luck than any deliberate planning.  The summer of idealism has ended, and now with the falling leaves comes the autumn of pragmatism.

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Pragmatism never looked so pretty.

I’ll still take advantage of opportunities to self-promote, and I even have a speaking engagement at a local library planned for January.  I’m intending to go visit a local independent bookshop to discuss whether they’ll stock Bestial and if they’ll be interested in hosting a talk/signing event.  If I see blogs or review websites which seem targeted to my audience I’ll approach them.  But I’m also fervently pursuing full-time work for predictable, reliable income and general adulting.

At the same time, however, I’m also planning my next book.  Books I should say, because I’m planning a series and it’s a really exciting project which I can’t wait to get started on.  I’m a writer because I love to write, and I’d rather generate new work than be constantly flogging my last book.  If success is down to luck then surely publishing as many works as possible increases my statistical probability of reaching that success.

One benefit of my stalled sales of Bestial is that I can now fix that one typo which I found (typically) immediately after it was released, and I can also try to improve the resolution of the cover image to fully do justice to Amelia’s beautiful artwork.  This requires making the print book unavailable for sale while I await the new print proof, so this is the perfect time to do this.  There’s a silver lining to every cloud, yep.

I remain positive, my idealism isn’t completely gone but it’s tempered by a more practical view of my long-term goals.  Which, among them, include one day moving out of my parents’ house.

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