Deadly Ever After

The Writing Adventures of The Undead Duo–Julie Hutchings and Kristen Strassel

Spitting in the Face of Battle and Kicking Ass in the War

TODAY’S BREW: Water. I’m moving furniture.

By Julie

I shall tell you a short story. I have yet to determine if it is a sad or happy story.

We’re poor as dirt, right? That’s fine, I’m okay with it, my husband’s okay with it. We knew it would happen when I quit my job. We don’t need a lot, we have what we want. But of course, Christmas is around the corner, and this is the first time we won’t be able to just get what we want to get the kids. We have to plan, borrow and beg, make sacrifices, more of them, and hope for the best. We aren’t looking forward to Christmas any less, that’s for sure. Actually, I am super excited for this holiday, more than ever.

This is the part where I wonder when I’ll start seeing money from the sales of RUNNING HOME. Because, writer and reader buds, I don’t know if you know something nobody I know does, but there is no way in Hell to know what you’ve sold until that check shows up. It could be enough to pay for a car, or enough to buy the gas you’re putting in it. You just don’t know. But based on my Amazon rankings, where I rank relatively according to what others have sold, and the reviews, I thought I had a pretty good idea.

Apparently, I was shit wrong.

I never expected to get rich, or do much more than come out of the red, but to find out that I may not have even earned out my advance is like having a steamroller filled with demon blood run over my heart and then suck it out and pour said demon blood inside the aching cavity it left.

I am a positive, do it and do it well kind of person. I’m super easily pleased. I know there’s more I can do to sell books, that it’s a marathon, not a race, that it’s continuous and limitless. I have great faith in what I’ve built, the support I’ve had from the most amazing people on the planet, and I know that this is a stepping stone. Everything is going according to plan.

What troubled me about this figure was how much work I already did put in to promoting the book. The incredible blogs I’ve guested on, the contests, the reviews, the street team that busted their ass for me. Not to mention the revisions, the edits, the 5 plus years of working on my first novel. All that for a couple of hundred bucks?

FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER EVER EVER I WONDERED WHY I BOTHER WRITING.

I’m agonizing over a sequel to a book nobody cared about? My husband works 7 days a week so I can do this? That’s not fair. This is a charade, a fun hobby with a solid pipe dream attached. I had my fun, and now it’s over.

Writing is not the hardest work you’ll ever do, I don’t care who says so. It’s gut wrenching, has thrown me into depressions that last for weeks, has challenged me to find out things about myself I never wanted to. But lifting shelves over my head at 3 in the morning with a bunch of 18 year old girls trying to build a bra display, knowing that your regional manager who fucking hates you is going to say it has a scuff mark on it when she shows up the next day in her bitch scarf and pampered fucking Ann Taylor suit with her $200 hair cut that still looks like shit when you have bags under your eyes, your feet hurt from running in heels to fit old people for bras, and you miss your kids and husband because you’ve only slept for 3 hours is worse. That’s worse. (run-on sentence, anyone?) It’s worse to make phone calls at 8 in the morning to southerners who don’t want to pay their phone bills and call you horrible names is worse. Done that, too. Wondering what you’ve done wrong to make your 3 year old such a raging tyrant is worse. Worrying that you’re not giving your kids enough attention because you’re too worried about keeping your shit job is worse. Having to fire a 7 year veteran whose husband is out of work because she gave a discount to her neighbor is worse. Lifting literally hundreds of 50 pound bags of gravel in and out of a Jeep is worse. Getting sunburned and bitten by mosquitoes weeding someone else’s yard for 8 hours straight is worse. I’ve done all this stuff and then some. Writing is the second easiest job I have ever had.

Pet store manager is the easiest. And the most fun.

I have no right to complain that I’ve worked too hard to have earned hardly anything this early in the game. I realize RUNNING HOME has only been out for a couple of months. I am eternally grateful for every single person who ever picked it up, said “this ain’t half bad,” and am humbled that people connect with it. It’s all I ever dreamed of. I kid you not. It’s all I ever wanted.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t buy Christmas presents. So, I’m sent into the pit of despair where I wonder what the fuck I was thinking when I said this was the best thing I could do for my kids. My kids won’t go without presents, don’t think that. We’ll find a way to get them what they want, and what we want for them. We’ll still adopt a family for Christmas, because no matter how poor we might be at a given moment, there is always someone worse off.

BUT WHAT THE FUCK, I CAN BE DISAPPOINTED NOW AND AGAIN, CAN’T I???

You guys love this book! And you tell me so, to my face, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on Facebook and Twitter!

AND THAT IS WHY I WILL CONTINUE TO WRITE THE SEQUEL. I created something people are connected to, and that’s what my passion is.

So, I’ve done what I should do. I took a few days off writing. I moved all the furniture in the house to make it more Zen-like. I played with my kids, spent time with my husband, and read. And now, I’m ready to win the war, whether I lost a battle or not. Losing is all in the eye of the beholder, and it’s all relative. I’m still living the dream, even if I woke up faster than I wanted to. This is one stone in the path of a long road, and I’m ready to pick my head up and keep walking.

Thank you, everyone who supports me and all the writers out there that kick ass every day and create. I love you all for making it worthwhile.

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23 thoughts on “Spitting in the Face of Battle and Kicking Ass in the War

  1. Julie, you are awesome, Running Home is awesome and every writer-person I know seems to feel the seasonal doldrums right now. Doubt keeps nibbling at my ass while I’m rewriting my next book, why am I doing this? It is the long road. Another writer friend said she didn’t feel the traction until she released book four. So I’ve got some writin to do.

    • Thank you so much, James. I needed that. 🙂 Kristen says book 3 is the one that gets you a little more leverage. But by then, I think, the honeymoon has worn off, you know? You know what’s coming. Your first book is like the sweet 16 party you had that nobody showed up to. But you still get drunk. We’ll keep writing. 🙂

  2. I hit ‘like’, which means I like your honesty about how you felt, not that I like that you felt disillusioned! Even if it was just for a moment! Running Home IS a wonderful book and I’m so looking forward to Running Away. I hope you and your family continue to be able to allow you to write whilst still living life to the full and loving each other. I think everyone’s allowed a moment of ‘Why am I not a millionaire yet?!’ now and then. xx

  3. Hang in there, lady. It’ll come. But it won’t be easy. Nothing worth having is. I’ve felt the same way, like when Little Deaths came out. It sold well, sold very well, continues to sell well, but my meager share of the sales (i.e., royalties) have basically served to do nothing but keep me in copies of the paperbacks. I’ve had to take a more long-term pragmatic approach to all this, and luckily I have a great fiancee who believes in me and what I’m doing and knows that it will take some time to accomplish. Sounds like you have this, too. So hopefully you can make it work until it catches. And it will. I believe that for me…and I believe that for you. (But until then, it’s perfectly OK to get down about it from time to time, question why you do it, etc. Just DON’T STOP WRITING. Period.)

  4. Karen, you kick ass. Thank you for this! We’ll have a wonderful Christmas….Mom always shows up when we need her. hahahaha And you know, I need to groan just this once. But then, it’s full speed ahead. 🙂 Thank you for loving the series.

  5. Joe Hart on said:

    First of all, I think every writer feels this way at some point or another, it’s completely natural. In fact I think it’s healthy to get down about something that’s bothering you once in a while because then you have the chance to take inventory and aim yourself back up. Sales are like tides, they come and they go. Some days will be awesome and others you’ll be afraid that no one’s ever going to read your book again. Push forward, just like you said you’re going to do. Finish that sequel, and then write the next one, and the next. In the words of Konrath, keep writing until you can’t be ignored.

    You’re doing awesome, Julie, and I know your books will do great. Sometimes it just takes a little time. So chin up, and fingers on the keyboard! 😉

  6. Jillian on said:

    I love you Jules. You know me, hard work is no stranger in our house and it IS frustrating to feel like you have nothing to show for it. But trust me when I say this, Christmas will be just the same with or without presents. For cripes sake is it supposed to be about presents ANYWAY!??! The past few years have taught me hard work prevails when you get special moments with your family, when you see success in something you’ve created no matter how small, those things don’t cost a dime.

    And you better keep writing. Because I said so. I know that’s not a good enough prerogative, but whatever, I’ll say it anyway. DO IT.

    • I couldn’t stop if I wanted to. And yes, we’re so happy to be together, I just want it to be a perfect Christmas. I want them to have everything I had and have. And I couldn’t have said it better myself, you dreamy thing. “When you see success in something you’ve created no matter how small, those things don’t cost a dime.” I wnat this embroidered on a shirt or something. I love you.

  7. *hugs* I know what you mean. And no amount of telling yourself it’s a marathon helps either once you start feeling bad about it. It’s hard to keep pointed forward then, but what else is there to do? So keep taking those steps forward. You know how badly I want to read Running Away. I’m still pondering kidnaping your computer. Temporarily, of course. Can’t stop you from writing for long, after all. 😉

  8. I fucking adore you!
    This you know…
    I fucking adore Running Home!
    This too… You know…
    Most of all… I adore witnessing your journey! You are such a courageous and inspirational woman that offers me so much more than words…and timeline coffees… I can’t wait to read the one blog that reflects your incredible passion and intent… That, I’ll fucking adore…more! x

    • Megan Kay, you are so inspiring yourself, and to hear this from you…I know you mean it. You’ve been so supportive of me, and there isn’t anything more i want. I love you, woman, and you make me feel like I can do anything. xx

  9. You’d better write that sequel. We’re all waiting for it.

    In the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln or maybe Iron Man? “This too shall pass.” Keep charging onward.

  10. Pingback: Finding Hidden Gems | deadlyeverafter

  11. Ah. I loved this blog. I just love your candor. I love how naturally funny and happy you are, but I admire your ability to admit when you doubt yourself. You are right on all points that writing is not the hardest job. But out of every single job you listed, writing takes the most talent and the most balls — well, maybe pet store manager takes a lot of balls, too. Puppies like balls. But anyway, keep your head up. You are a talented, incredibly lovely person. And we all know sequels tend to be the driving force behind sales. So once you get that puppy (I don’t know why I went back to puppies) out there, your sales will inevitably increase. You have been such an inspiration to me and I’m sure so many others. Seriously, what the hell would I be doing right now if I had never stumbled across Julie Hutchings and Running Home on release day? I might have given up by now. 🙂 xoxo

    • My God, are you serious? There are few compliments better, that mean more to me, than to hear that I’ve helped a talented writer like you stay in the game, when they might not have. I’m sooooooo happy I found you, and that we became such fast friends. And I’m so proud of you for getting The Darkness of Light out there, when I know you feel the same way sometimes. I love you, Tammy, and your little puppies, too! xxxxxx

  12. I love you. Never doubt that you are amazing.

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