Monday, March 19, 2012

I Am Not My Book

Hello, Monday! Hope everyone had a great weekend. It's slowly turning into Spring in London Town, and for that I am happy. I love to hear those birds chirping right outside my window as dawn comes at 5:45 a.m., oh yes I do!

Speaking of chirping, I like writing mainly about chirpy things on my blog: wine, coookies, Twizzlers, and such. But sadly, not everything in the world involves sweetness and light -- and that's certainly true when it comes to publishing books.

As any author or aspiring author knows, the opportunities for disappointment are endless. We get rejected. We get bad reviews. Our books don't sell -- or not as much as we'd like them to. Our contracts are not renewed . . . are you depressed yet?

Over the past few weeks, I've been fighting a little disappointment of my own (you can read about it here, if you wish). To many, a disappointing post-promotion result may not seem like a big deal. In the grand scheme of things, it probably isn't. But most authors would agree that after investing so much time, head-space and emotion into a novel, it's hard not to sink into a tailspin when you're faced with a disappointing outcome, no matter what it is. It's easy to believe that you and your happiness are dependent on the success of your book.

That's when I tell myself: I am not my book. It's out there now, independent of me, and my happiness should not depend on how it fares. There's more to me than that one novel; there's more to my life than Amazon (well, sort of). I love writing, I love creating, and that's what I need to focus on. And maybe drink a little wine.

How do you get over disappointment?


92 comments:

  1. Wine helps. :) And doing all the little things that make me happy: catching up with friends, dancing around to my favorite music, visiting museums. Just getting out of my head for a little while does wonders. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks, Meredith - getting out definitely helps! Especially since I work in isolation.

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  2. Oh, Talli, you are so right. You are not your book. But your book is your baby, so it's hard not to worry about it and wonder how it's doing, etc. The best advice I can give about handling disappointment is to detach with love. It doesn't mean you don't care about your baby/book, but you have no control over it now, anyway, so why worry. Then I go do whatever makes me happy - for me it's dance or sing or hang with friends.
    Karen

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    1. Very true, Karen. I like the 'detaching with love' concept. It's so hard, though, even if I'm trying to focus on the next one.

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  3. You've got to experiment to know Talli - now you know. The fact that your book was already doing very well indeed says what it needs to about the quality of your writing. Just keep doing what you're doing, and your reputation will continue to grow. Don't worry about sales being continuously high - my debut hit #26 on the Sunday Times best-seller list during its launch month. Now it's way down. But that's only because other novels have taken its place, not because it's rubbish. Sales always ebb and flow, just make sure you launch your next book on-line when sales of the previous title starts to flag a bit, to keep things moving.

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    1. Dean, congrats, that's fantastic!

      You are right - sales ebb and flow - but I was disappointed with something I thought would boost, not hinder, my sales.

      Anyway, onwards and upwards!

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  4. Progress not Perfection. That's what we are all going for.

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  5. I just wait it out. I mean, yes, have a glass of wine, give myself the pep talk, but ultimately, I know the bad feelings are going to win for a little while. But after a few days, it usually levels out.

    I'm sorry to hear about the sales slump. I'll update my sidebar w/BAM. Maybe that'll help a little bit! ((hugs)) <3

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  6. I think it's really hard when you spend most of your day blogging, tweeting and doing stuff to promote your book to get some perspective beyond it, and so when something bad happens, such as disappointing sales, it feels much worse than perhaps it should. I find that taking some time off and doing other things reminds me that all is not lost, but then of course that means neglecting my blog, etc. which makes me feel guilty.. it's a vicious cycle!

    Very interesting post on KDP Select. I've done it twice and the first time, I only had a few hundred free downloads. With other people getting 20k downloads in 3 days, it was kind of hard to take. But luck plays such a huge part in all this, I just had to take it on the chin and move on.

    And I like the more wine idea! :-D

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    1. That's very true about perspective! It's even harder when we work in isolation, and so easy to let small things become massive. I know I do, and once that cycle starts, it's hard to pull yourself out of it.

      You're right about the luck element with Amazon. It's huge. People's results with the giveaway seem to fluctuate wildly.

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  7. I think getting out into the great outdoors helps for me, personally, when life throws a curve ball.

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    1. Definitely! I've been trying to get outside and go for runs, and I always find that helps.

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  8. A great post on keeping a healthy perspective on the life of a book but I hope your sales pick up soon.

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  9. I have yet to go through this (not having a book out) but if things get too much for me, that's when I make a point of going out for a walk or arranging to meet friends to regain some perspective on what's important in life and to remind me that I should be taking a long-term view.

    Your book was already doing well before the promo, it'll do well again - it's just a temporary setback and whatever we do, we all suffer those. And when we do, chocolate, cupcakes and wine were made for just such occasions!

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    1. Thanks, Kath. I think you're right - getting out and about helps you gain perspective. I've been making a conscious effort to do that and to stop obsessing. Wine and cupcakes help!

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  10. Talli, that's a very healthy way to view your books! Yes, we create them, but they really aren't us. We create tax returns and we certainly don't feel any attachment to those!

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    1. Alex, I love that example. I definitely do not feel any attachment to my tax return, that's for sure.

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  11. Wow. That whole thing is very confusing. I don't understand how more downloads could lower your ranking. I'm probably just not organized enough to figure it out.

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    1. Matthew, don't even get me started...

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  12. I cheer myself up by leaving inappropriate comments on friends' blogs.

    CHIRP!

    NDME

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    1. Hehe! Thank God for (crazy) friends. xx

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  13. Chocolate helps! On a more serious note, working on your next story. That helps to keep your mind off things and will keep your loyal readers happy!

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    1. Thanks, Nicole. I'm working on the sequel and trying to stop obsessing. It's hard, though!

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  14. Stepping away and getting outside always makes me feel renewed. I always seem to sort things out on long walks.

    I admire you, Talli. Thanks for sharing your talent and wisdom with the world.

    Take care,
    ~Jamie

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    1. Oh, thank you, Jamie, for your kind words!

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  15. By doing positive things that make me feel good.

    By looking at all of what I've accomplished, it puts disappointment into perspective. It's a perspective we need.

    By talking to friends and colleagues who can understand and encourage.

    Realistically, you've done very well, Talli. Celebrate that. Learn and adapt. Have another class of wine. :-)

    Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

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    1. Sia, that's true. I try to remind myself of what I have accomplished, and a promotion that doesn't go according to plan is nothing in the grand scheme of things.

      Thank you! :)

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  16. I loved this post Talli. I think it's the same in every business, writing, the arts, sports, and everything else. It's hard work and the trick is to focus on success instead of rejection. Easier said than done I know, but at the end of the day, it works. Successful people make it look easy but everything worth pursuing in this world IS hard work. I like working hard, not for success' sake but for sanity's sake :-)

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    1. Thank you, A. You're right - it's true in any business, and to keep moving forward, you need to focus on success. Thank you for the reminder.

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  17. Have a big pat on the back from me for your many huge successes then I'm going to give you a big round of applause for your refreshing honesty. Dealing with the ebb as well as the flow is a knack I've yet to master! The best I can do is to tell myself (through gritted teeth) is that it's better to put my energy into something positive rather than feed the negative. Best wishes to you.

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    1. Thanks, Chris! It's such a roller-coaster! I'm trying to channel all my energy into my next book. It may come out quite angry and aggressive, ha!

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  18. Munching on what you've just written, Talli. Seriously munching.

    You have a very, *very* good head on your shoulders, and I think you're cut out to be able to balance the myriad stresses of publishing -- including the fairly private emotional stresses tied to identity. I have a lot of faith in you to weather this spot. In fact, I look to you as a model of sorts.

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    1. Oh, thank you so much for your kind words, Suze. It means a lot. I try to go with the ups and down as best I can!

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  19. Success is such a fickle thing depending on so many variables. And it's heartbreaking when those variables don't fall into line for us. I keep writing, hoping the next novel will help fuel the success of the others.

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    1. It is fickle - you're right. Keeping writing is the only thing we can do.

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  20. I agree. We're not our books. If we were, after publishing three or more of them, like you have, we'd be accused of having split personalities.

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    1. Hehe! Very true! Goodness knows I have enough voices in my head already...

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  21. No, you certainly are not your book. If you were, most authors would have a serious case of Alice-in-Wonderland-ishness: now you're tiny, now you're huge, now you're invisible, now you're big again... Far too exhausting.
    How do I get over disappointment? Umm, snivel, whine, and wine?

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    1. Exhausting indeed! No wonder I'm so tired. More wine, please. :)

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  22. The same thing happened with my book, so I understand completely. I dealt with the disappointment by burying myself in my family and putting aside writing and all that comes with it completely. It worked, I think, to bring me back my motivations.

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    1. Did you do the KDP Select promo too, April? I'd be interested in hearing your experience.

      Yes, I think it does help to have a bit of a break.

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  23. How do I get over disappointment? I eat chocolate, get weepy about all the things I have to be thankful for and then move on.

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  24. Funny, this is absolutely my mantra. I think it needs to be otherwise it would be too hard to take all the criticisms that come our way. What makes me sad is that I'm so adept at ignoring the good stuff and obsessing over the bad.

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    1. Same with me, Johanna. I make up excuses like luck or 'jsut chance' for all the good stuff, and when the bad stuff happens, I take it quite hard and try to reason it out.

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  25. I'll agree with Meredith: wine helps! And chocolate. And Guinness (at least for me). Sorry to hear you're battling some disappointment. That's never fun. Reading these comments, it seems they are filled with excellent advice. Step away. Take a break. Get outside and just breathe. You'll get more ideas, more books under your belt. And we all know you'll be just fine.

    Oh, and it's OK to cry a little. Heaven knows we need that from time to time too :D

    Hugs,
    Jen

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    1. Thanks, Jen! Actually, just reading this comments has really helped. Thank you!

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  26. Well, looks to me as if your books do very well, but yes, I agree that if I had known what it was like getting books published before I began, I mightn't have done it! I suppose one has to take the ups with the downs.....

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    1. Definitely, Jenny - it's such a roller coaster. I think relatively, my books do well. I'm more angry at myself for mucking up how well one was doing!

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  27. Ahh, hindsight is a wonderful thing, my friend.

    How do I get over disappointment? JUST AS YOU HAVE DONE, I learn what I can from the experience, and I (usually) bounce right back!

    If all else fails, as some of the others have muted, I cry. Crying is a good release. A walk in the countryside nearly always helps. And then I move on.

    Now, go girl!

    xxx

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    1. Ah, hindsight.

      Yes, this is an experience I will definitely learn from! :)

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  28. Disappointments are no fun. But wine, chocolate and a listening ear go a long way to work through it.

    If we knew now what we wished we knew then, how differently we'd make some decisions. But lessons learned can help with decision making in the near future.

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  29. Wine is good. Also writing. And dancing in the daffodils in Hyde Park.

    Congratulations on your philosophical approach. But don't resign yourself to disappointment too soon.

    Build a Man is going to be around for a long time, just sitting there waiting to be downloaded when someone tells their hen party how much they loved it or falls in love with one of your other lovely books. Word of mouth can take a while.

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  30. I love this advice. So true. I think I need to use this and I fare along the road of writers. I just keep telling myself to never give up. Cause that's the only for sure way to fail. Instead, I keep learning and improving and trucking along. :)

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  31. I'm sure this is something I will face in a few months. You're doing remarkably well. It's hard separating ourselves from our books because we put so much of ourselves into them. But you are so right we are not our books. I think Wine Therapy is the perfect accompaniment to long walks and window shopping. If after a few weeks nothing works, kick yourself in the tush and tell yourself to smile, dammit.

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  32. Hi Talli .. disappointment from tidings of un-joy aren't the easiest to deal with .. life is life sadly - you're there, you've had the experiences, the failures .. and if you don't have those - you're not learning and growing .. so you're on the right track .. and it's 8 minutes to go before the yard arm comes down and wine o'clock comes around .. enjoy Spring and begorrah to everything else .. except living a full life! Cheers Hilary

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  33. Oh Talli!! Drink lots of wine!!! :-) Weren't you number 2 in the ebook sales in the Mail chart!??! Yes you were!! So you're doing brilliantly!! And you have many more books to write now that you are also up with the little birdies! :-)

    You'll be ok!! Take care
    x

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  34. You are an inspiration, Talli. You're right; you're not your book. Disappointment is rough all around, but the hope of doing better next time keeps us writing. After all, we don't write for successful promotion, we write because we love it. You're an excellent example of this. : )

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  35. Talli, you may not agree, but you could treat your disappointment aas being a lesson in maarketing well learned! Of course you are much bigger and better than any book. Good luck with your books,too.

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  36. I definitely empathize. Some days, all I think about 24/7 is how my book is selling, why I haven't had a contract on the 2nd one yet, should I even bother with a third, why aren't things happening for me despite all of my hard word? But at the end of the day, writing makes me happier than almost anything else. As an outsider, however, I think you should be tremendously proud of your success. You've managed to really stand out from so many other chicklit writers out there (myself included), your books are selling A LOT and I hear your name wherever I go! I know it's difficult not to keep wanting more but, wow, I would love to be where you are. I'm just gonna keep on keeping on. But you're an inspiration. (And a really good writer...)

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  37. Oh dear move on you must Talli, think of some of those positve posters I have shared on FB recently. I feel badly I have not read and reviewed this for you yet, promise I will asap, not that I think it will make an iota of difference but you never know it might sell one more copy.

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  38. It must have been hard, and obviously still is, but like you said - you're so much more than one book's sales during a certain month... I think you're right - getting back and creating something fresh and new - that's going to remind you what you love about the whole thing... and getting some other, non related loves going again (When Harry Met Sally... always works for me :))
    Sending you a giant Laura hug!)
    Lxx

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  39. Great post! It's definitely true that writers and books are two different things.

    I try to get away from whatever disappointed for a while. Work on an unrelated project, move around, give myself some room for perspective.

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  40. I get what you are saying. And it is hard when something doesn't work out as well as you thought it might. Buuuuut...think of all those downloads your book received (and some REALLY awesome reviews).

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  41. ACK!! What a GREAT point! I know I will need to remind myself of this, smoosh it into my brain for future disappointments. Very wise, Talli-Ho, very wise.

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  42. I definitely needed to hear this post today. After going from highs a couple weeks ago to lows last week, it completely sapped all my energy for writing and everything else, but now things are definitely brighter. You're right. We are not our book. Once it is out there, it is beyond our control. :)

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  43. It is energy sapping but this is a by-product of being a writer. Every day is different and that is what I keep telling myself. And the unknown is kinda exciting.

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  44. Disappointment is part of every job, every life and sometimes every day. Learning to deal with it is tough - but you've given us some great advice. 'I am not my book' might just be my new mantra! :)

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  45. Hi Talli,

    I just read your post at The Writer's Guide and thanks for the insightful info and your theories. It was interesting to see how being free affected your sales and position. But did you not get reviews and more promotion for you as an author when your book was free? I'm just wondering as I do have your novel on our(operative word here'our') Kindle and when the Kindle is free than I'll get to read it. Hugs on the disappointment, though.

    Riya.

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  46. I plunge back into the writing and use that to salve any wounds. This is such a crazy business, with the mysteries of the ZON making it even more crazy. But you have to remember - you're doing exactly what you want to do and being successful at it! There's the reward to keep your sights (and wine free hand) on! :)

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  47. I need to tell myself that more. I do it for my day job when it gets me down, but I need to remember that about my writing also.

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  48. It happens to the best of us all. I'm currently promoting an anthology I helped compile and it's a nerve-wracking time.

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  49. I don't know how I get over disappointment. I guess with each one, it hurts less. Last week, I find out a short story I'd worked hard on didn't get accepted. I took it better than I thought I would. And the next day, I found out a vignette was accepted.

    You're a talented writer. Don't lose sight of it.

    I finished Watching Willow Watts two days ago and began Build a Man today.

    I'm drinking a glass of wine now. Cheers!

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  50. I read your other post too, and I'm sorry that your experiment didn't work out as planned. I can't wait to read Build A Man, and I know that you will continue to write wonderful stories. It's a shame that you were penalized for having such generous intentions. Julie

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  51. That was pretty disappointing, but look how you're already turning it around! By sharing your experience, you've helped countless others. That kind of karma is bound to come back around. :)

    Take a break, enjoy some wine, then get back to the one aspect of this business you really love: writing. *hugs*

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  52. I'm sorry about the disappointing drop after the free promo. I think you've got a great attitude about it, though, and I hope it promptly climbs right back up where it was before (and beyond).

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

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  53. Excellent advice, Talli :)

    I think of myself as a fairly upbeat kinda guy, so I usually flip my perspective of something if it disappoints me and try to find an opportunity or something I've learned from it.

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  54. I can imagine your disappointment, Talli, but look on it as an experiment you probably won't repeat. And you are so much more than your books! At least your name has reached even more people.

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  55. By reminding myself that I have it good compared to others. There are plenty of authors out there who don't sell anything. I have to be thankful I'm not one of them :o) Smile and bottoms up! ;)

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  56. Interesting to see the business side of things: what works and what doesn't. I think you'll get back up there with BAM. This summer people will be looking for something to read, and I think it will be a perfect choice. So, maybe start marketing a Talli's Summer Reading Program, you know?

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  57. I tell myself exactly that. That I'm not my book, that I should be writing for fun, not stressing myself out over success, and that there is, indeed, so much more to my life than writing so I shouldn't let my happiness depend on it! (Easier said than done, but I try...)

    Chin up, Talli! x

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  58. I just checked out your other post and it's so interesting, the mechanics of that Amazon list. It's like a popularity contest but we don't know the rules (it's like we're back in school, no?). You're so right that you are more than your books! You're dealing with your disappointment in such a productive and helpful way. Stay strong and keep writing. You're such a wonderful and talented person and we're all rooting for you.

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  59. By reminding myself of what you just said - I am not my creations. They have to be OK in of themselves - I can't attach to the outcome. I also hang with friends who get it!

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  60. A few tears, then chocolate and cuddles from my Honey.

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  61. Chocolate helps with the disappointment! ;) I also have a BFF who's always on call to remind me why I'm doing this and why I can't give up.
    You are right... you are not your book. (But I think both you AND your book are brilliant!)

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  62. Spring is here, too! Hooray! And I don't even mind the little chirps at 6 a.m. either.

    Disappointment: I think the only solace to be found is in other writers (e.g. posts like these). And to just wait it out, or get excited about a next project.

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  63. I'm still working on getting past the disappointment. I'm reading a lot of these inspirational posts lately and it's really helping me push to not be so hard on myself. Take deep breaths and just accept that things work out if you just allow them too.

    Stay positive, girl!

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  64. Funny, this week I seem to be reading a lot of crushing posts like this. I think you have to give yourself a timeframe and then log out. Let go. Step outside and talk to friends, chatter. It's hard to detach from work that almost entirely depends upon yourself. Hard but it must be done. Writing is just TOO draining, and today's promotion process can send you dotty. Hope you are able to unwind and let the disappointment pass. Xcat

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  65. I'm going to read about your disappointment in a minute, but I agree with the title of your post that you are not your book.
    I get over my writerly disappointment by focusing in another direction to keep myself occupied.

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Coffee and wine for all!