WARNING: SELFISH RANT BELOW - IT'S GOING TO MAKE ME SOUND LIKE A RAVING BITCH, BUT I'M NOT, I SWEAR. TRUST ME. JUST THIS ONCE...
Okay, so I confess:
I'm highly emotional.
I take things entirely too much to heart.
I trust too much, I love too hard, and I give too freely.
These things all set me up for heartache. I know this because I'm constantly dealing with it. Like now.
Right now, I feel as if I've been betrayed by one of my online friends for various reasons. I know that none of this should bother me in the least, but it does. I have no real friends. Well, I do have one but she's so far away... Not her fault though.
So, I rely on those 'friends' living inside my computer. The ones that are easiest to reach. The ones that promise to always be there for you.
The ones that lie. The ones that use. The ones that say they'll always be by your side, but turn away the minute that you really truly need them (and usually not long after you've just helped them with some issue or other).
You know the ones I mean. And truly, I've not had any REAL drama, just some annoying things that shouldn't be such a huge deal but are simply because I care so goddamn much.
Thus my problem.
So, I suppose I ought to start at the beginning. For as long as I can remember, I've loved to write. And even more than that, I've loved to share my writing. So, naturally, when a group of my online friends discovered that I don't suck, they asked me to share, and I did.
Now, I've never sought to be published. I've always been terrified that my love, my passion, my release would become something horrible and awful - that it'd become work. And nothing sucks more than when your pleasure, your pastime becomes your job.
So, because a bunch of loud-mouthed, but well-meaning people wouldn't get off my ass, I submitted to a contest and didn't place. No biggie. But then, without telling anyone, I submitted a different story to a new e-publisher just for kicks. That way, if I flopped, no one would know. So I took that chance.
And was accepted.
Everyone was seemingly happy for me and all was well for awhile there. But then, my friends started to change on me. One person who used to be one of my biggest supporters came out and told me she was 'bored' with two of my favorite characters. As if I have any control over what inspires me on any given day. This hurt me more than I could say. And I didn't have the heart to tell her that it had hurt so much. I didn't honestly think that she meant it to, just that she was expressing her opinion - something she had every right to do.
But then, the doubt set in. What if those two particular characters were in a rut? What then? The more I thought about it, the less I wrote. And I have to say that, since getting my very first contract in February, I haven't finished a thing. Not one short story.
I began to wonder if maybe it was me she was bored with, and not my creations.
Not all that long ago, this very same friend asked me how sales were going on my published short. I was honest - told her I had sold 9 in March, the month it was first released (THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH) but nothing in April or May. Which, in the greater scheme of things, isn't such a big deal. I mean, new publisher, new authors, and it's only been a couple months. So, I'm not worried. I still have the day job, God help me...
Her response to all this?
"Well, maybe you'd have more sales if you hadn't let us all read it for free."
Huh? What is that supposed to mean? That our friendship isn't worth the $3.49 they're selling the story for? I mean, I never expected ANYONE to buy it out of loyalty. Nor would I EVER, EVER ask anyone to buy it if they didn't want to or couldn't afford to. But is that really the reason?
I've been lucky enough to read a couple ARCs that I've won from authors. I've also been blessed enough to beta read a couple stories that later on got published. I also went out and paid for 'real' copies of those stories as well, because I love and support my authors.
When I told her that I didn't think that the stories having been read was the issue - that lack of promotion, small press etc. was, she said, "I don't think that's it at all."
So, my question is: Am I being arrogant?
No, sorry, that wasn't the question. Although, yeah, I might be. LOL My real question is - does having read something as either a beta or an ARC make you not want to go out and pay for a copy? I can see you not going out and buying a copy of every single ARC or beta that you were blessed with, but never ever buying something because you read it once in a raw state?
But I don't know. Maybe I'm overreacting. Maybe I AM being selfish and arrogant. Maybe... maybe self-doubt and hurt feelings are guiding my hand. I really just don't know. What I do know is, that I have this hole in my gut now from where her words burned into me.
Please, please, please don't think I'm angry or put out because this one person didn't buy a copy of my one lousy story. I mean, seriously, that $1.22 in royalties is NOT going to get me a summer house in the Hampton's. The money has nothing to do with it. I think what upsets me more than anything else is the promises gone unfulfilled.
"Okay, so you guys all know that I do NOT expect ANY of you to buy a copy, right?"
"Oh, but you know we will! We have to have a copy!"
And then you tell me you didn't buy one because you already read it? Why promise me something you never intend to go through with? Its like saying you're going to pick me up at the airport and I'm standing there in the rain, waiting on a ride that's never going to show. I'd rather have you say, "I'm so proud of you, I knew you could do it!" and just leave it at that then feed my ego with false promises and a bunch of bullshit. I know all about times being tough and money being scarce. I'd hate to think you spent your last three bucks buying my story out of loyalty than just waiting until you could manage. And if you can't ever manage? I don't care. Your support is what matters, in any way you can give it.
Your lip service, that I can do without.
And for those of you that this has nothing to do with? Thank you for listening. I promise, I'm not a self-obsessed raving lunatic only interested in blatant self-promotion. Ya notice, I didn't provide a link or even the name of my story. ROFL
And on the off chance the person this is directed to stumbles across this? I'm sorry for being so harsh, but you have no idea how you've hurt me. The words affected me so much, that they've temporarily crippled my creative side. I know it won't last, Mika's tougher than that and she'll bounce back, but for now, she's wandering around, wringing her hands, afraid to put pen to paper.
I will get past this, and getting it all out like this has helped. Thank you for being my friend, for listening, for being my sounding board. It means more than you can ever know.
The Crazy Lady and her creative side, Mika