TL;DR – For those of you who just wanna skip the long post and rather just know what it’s actually about – I’m cancelling the rest of my releases for this year and moving them to next year. I don’t have new release dates for you yet. Please note the date on the War of Hearts preorder on all sites has been changed to the end of February because I had to give them a date. I’m working towards an earlier release than that. My reasons for cancelling these releases (War of Hearts & Jack Kingsley’s book from the Ashton Scott world) are below.
Last week, I let you guys know I was pushing the War of Hearts release by two weeks. I gave you one of the reasons, but not the full reason because it was very personal. However, I want to share it with you now because it will help you understand my current decision. It may also be something fellow authors can relate to, and I think it’s important to share these kinds of things because without honesty about our experiences, what real benefit does our indie community provide?
I’ll have been publishing for five years in November. I’ve found a lot of joy in every book I’ve written, in every marketing step I’ve taken, in every friendship I’ve made, and in the success I’ve found. A lot of authors will tell you they love the writing and wish they didn't have to do the marketing. I'm not that author. I love both. Writing and publishing does not feel like a job to me. It feels like a blessing, and one I am very grateful for, because for the twenty or so years before I started publishing, I worked in retail jobs that gave me none of the satisfaction and joy this does.
However, something hasn’t been right for a while now, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Friends have told me to be careful of burnout, but I’ve suffered that already and made my way through it. This didn’t feel like that. Burnout for me felt exhausting. Like, bone-weary tiredness I struggled to drag myself from. I didn’t want to write. I didn’t have the same enthusiasm for marketing and all the business stuff I had to do. This, what I’ve been going through, isn’t that. I want to write. I want to run my business. I’m just flailing a little.
I’ve been struggling to figure out my place again after taking time off when my mother passed away. I thought I’d found myself again mid-year. I published three books that were very successful. My latest release, Ashton Scott, has sold more copies in its first month than my previous bestseller that earned me a place on the USAT list. I should have been happy, right? I should have been proud of myself, yes? I was happy and I was proud, but it’s lost its shine. More than either of those two things, I feel empty.
I once thrived in the fast-paced rush of this industry. Now, not so much.
Fast forward to my current book. I’ve been working around the clock writing War of Hearts. I love this couple. I love this story. I was on track to have it ready to publish next week after buying myself two weeks to do that in. But I felt ill about it, and deep down I knew why. I just had to go through a whole lot of stress to get to the point where I could admit it to myself. And that stress is the reason why I had to push the book once already. For the first time in my life, I suffered panic attacks. I didn’t know what they were when they started. I honestly thought I was having a heart attack. My daughter has suffered them for a few years now, so she was able to help me through. But when she told me I need to push my release, when usually she’s hardcore telling me to work harder and get that shit done (yes she’s my little cheerleader when I wanna give up), I knew I needed to sit back and assess things.
Here’s the thing I finally figured out… I don’t feel the same joy in this whole write, publish, repeat fast process anymore. It doesn’t light my soul on fire anymore, which means my writing is suffering.
I could publish War of Hearts in its current state and know you would enjoy it. But that’s not enough for me. I don’t just want you to enjoy it. I want you to love the fuck out of it. I want the words in every story I write to cause you to stop breathing for a second while you look up from it and think “Holy fuck, yes!” I want you to linger over the words, feeling them deep in your soul. I want you to connect with my characters so you either love them or hate them. I don’t want any in-betweens. I blame King for this. His books reminded me of why I love writing so much. They reminded me of the importance of creating characters with so much soul that readers can’t help falling in deep love or deep hate with them. Ashton, too. There has been such a divide between readers on these characters, and that’s where the magic is for me. That’s what I’m missing in this write, publish, repeat landscape.
I had a big vision for War of Hearts when I first imagined it. And I’m disappointed to admit that I’ve missed the mark so far with what I’ve written. This story needs to be pulled apart and rewritten so you can feel it deeply the way I do when I think about it.
And that is why I’m pushing it indefinitely. Trust me, from a business perspective, this is the absolute worst decision I could make. This decision hasn't been easy to come to. But I’m done with making decisions from a purely business perspective. I’m done with not feeling the joy anymore. I choose to work for love again, because I used to work for love. It’s just that my goal posts have changed. I choose business decisions that affect my soul rather than my bottom line.
“You are a victim of the rules you live by.” ~ Jenny Holzer
It’s time for me to change my rules.
“Will you devote yourself to your joy and allow that to be your offering to the world?” ~ Danielle LaPorte