Everybody warned me.
Every article I read on independently publishing your own novel said,"As a debut author, don't expect big sales or overnight success."
I said, "My expectations are realistic."
But I discovered that, for an author bravely sending her baby-this book she's worked on for years-out into the world, there is no such thing as 'realistic' expectations. There's only Great Expectations.
Consciously, I had prepared myself in all the right ways. I kept on reminding myself of all the reasons "Dancing in the Shadows of Love" wouldn't even be a blip on the radar screen. When there was a brief flurry of excitement and it rose to the top 100 of its category for a few days, I remained calm.
I nodded sagely when the highly successful independent author Zoe Winters said in an interview, "You're unlikely to sell great overnight."
But still...in some secret corner of my heart there was a part of me that expected this book to make waves. When the sales ranking dropped, my heart dropped along with it. Despite my best intentions, I took to clicking on the sales ranking graph ten times a day.
I'm still learning to accept that it barely made a ripple. Perhaps, in time, that ripple may become a tsunami, but it could simply disappear along with my Great Expectations.
How does that make me feel? A bit foolish, actually. And a bit like a tragic hero faced with his own hubris. But, unlike a tragic hero, I'll have a chance to redeem myself: for my next book, my expectations will be much more sensible. I hope.
How have your writing expectations been too high? Where do you think you could make your expectations more pragmatic?
You can read Self-Publishing Mistake #1 here
You can read Self-Publishing Mistake #2 here
You can read Self-Publishing Mistake #4 here
You can read Self-Publishing Success here
Image from cover of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations