Thursday, July 26, 2012

Being an Author is Like Riding a Roller Coaster

Tip of the Day: Check out this blog post from author Susan Kaye Quinn about Penguin purchasing the vanity  publisher, Author Solutions.

We went to Great America on Monday and I've realized that I don't like roller coasters anymore. I'd  loved them since I was a really little kid and first tall enough to ride. I always wanted to go on the biggest ones with the most flips. But maybe it's something with my age (I'm 36 now) but the thought of getting flipped upside down made my head hurt before I ever got near the ride. I did go on a few rides (small. Think pirate ship turning around type stuff) but even on those I had to keep my eyes closed. Luckily, with 4 kids there was always one who didn't want to go on a ride or one who was too short for it so I could keep taking that kid(s) and do smaller stuff while my husband had to do the big rides. :-)

Anyway, all the roller coaster stuff made me think about this career I have as an author. I've had lots of other jobs. Aside from all the random stuff I did as a young teen through graduating college, I've worked in technical support, was a technical writer for years, and an instructor at a university. All of these jobs were pretty stable. You knew what to expect from day to day. There weren't dramatic increases or decreases. My emotions weren't up one day and down another. With being an author there are A LOT of ups and downs. And twists. And flips. Just like a roller coaster.

You never know what's going to happen and each high is great and each low sucks. I've had times where I was notified hey, you were a bestseller this month! And I'm jumping up and down excited. Only to get a scathingly awful review from a major reviewer the next day. I've been given a national reward for one book and then had promo taken away for another book. I've sold foreign and film rights on one book and then gotten dozens of rejections on a different book. And the upside down flips are the worst. I've gotten close with sales a number of times-- revising several books for different editors (going up the big loop) who loved those books only to have something happen, like others on the review board turn it down, and the project gets passed on (coming back down the loop). It can be rough. It's definitely emotionally unlike any other job I've had.

I guess with time you get more used to the ups and downs and they don't bother you so much. Or maybe it's that I keep trying to flatten the track and not get quite so excited about the good stuff and not so devastated about the bad stuff.

I still don't like roller coasters but it's part of the job.

Kristina, Miss Author in Action


Megg Jensen said...

You're tall enough to ride a roller coaster? lol. Sorry, couldn't help myself.

It's a wonder we all cope. As a self-pub, I see my sales figures in near-real time. Watching them go up and down is painful. I try to be zen about it....doesn't always work. ;)

At least authors can all support each other because we know what it's like. <3

Kristina Springer said...

LOL! Yeah, I try to hunch down so they won't let me on the ride but they keep waving me through.

Unknown said...

I guess it's as they say, if you don't get your hopes up all of the time, it makes the good and bad easier to handle? No, I don't think that's an actual saying. It goes something like that, I think.

Regardless, it's pretty much the same over here on the indie side of things. You're doing everything to get your name and your work out there and there are times it's like a drop in the ocean and the sound it makes is just as insignificant.

But I'm not pessimistic. I love the roller coaster ride. It's the writing that keeps me going.

Kristina Springer said...

I agree Ryan-- I think it's the writing that keeps us all going. :-)

Kate Fall said...

You know your kids will be preteens someday and make you go on those roller coasters, right?

But this is why we need writing friends. It's so hard for other people to understand why we go on a ride that makes us crazy.