With a huge December, I had a shot at selling 100,000 books this year. It was probably silly, but when the month on the spreadsheet turned to 12 and I added up the year-to-date numbers, well, there was hope.
I'm not going to make it. I'll end up about 4,000 books short - give or take.
I walked around today with a bit of gloom hanging over my head, making excuses all day.
I blamed the editor for being too slow...bad reviews...a blog ad that wasn't in place because of a mistake...taking too much time writing guest posts for bloggers.
I cursed myself for refreshing sales reports so often, spending time here, and having so many works in progress rather than finishing one more book.
For a while, I went through a phase of blaming the family - their constant distractions and lack of respect for my profession.
Now I know many of you are reading this, thinking along the lines of: "What's he complaining about? I'd give almost anything to sell half that number of books."
But it doesn't work that way. Ask any of the great writers here who sell five times that number and I'm sure they'll agree - you'll always strive for more. You will always be worried about the next month, the next book or the next year. There isn't some magical plateau of sales where you can relax and coast. I've found no such thing as critical mass or unstoppable momentum when it comes to writing. When I hit 1,000 sales the first time, I wanted 2,000. When I hit $10,000 in royalties, I wished for $15K. It never ends - and it shouldn't.
Finally, this evening, I resolved it all. I'm not complaining. I'm not blaming Amazon, or B&N or anyone. I've decided it's all on me, and I'm going to fix it.
So for all of you folks out there who aren't reaching your goals this month or year, join me in a renewed vigor.
I'm going to put my head down and double my focus, double my energy.
I'm going to suck it up, exercise self-disicpline and produce both quality and quantity.
I'm going to help more readers with good instruction, good stories and entertainment value.
I'm going to sell 200,000 books next year.
It's really all within my control, and that's probably the most attractive thing about writing. Each book is a lottery ticket. Our product is limited only by our imagination and effort.
I'm going to do it!