This is going to be a bit of a confession, so a trigger warning to all because of the mention of abuse. If you are easily upset over mentions of the topic, please do not read.
I am also asking for a judgement free zone. If anyone messages me or comments to berate me, give me suggestions about GoFundMe, etc., please stop right now. Do not read this. Do not tell me you know how I feel unless you have walked in my shoes.
It has been one of those periods, when I feel like being an author is a useless exercise and a career not worth developing. I look around my house, at all of the repairs that need to be done, and get upset with myself. While my son has been provided for, I feel like a failure because I had to ask for help. I am supposed to be responsible for providing for Calvin. Seeing the flooded basement, rusting pipes and broken windows and doors, the feeling hits deeper.
I cannot even go to the store and buy something out of pocket. My husband and I can count on the fingers of our hands the number of times we've gone out alone since 2015. I have helped everybody I could. I mailed laptops and clothes to someone who needed it. Shared every small business or side hustle every friend and family member had. Spent money when I could not afford to, just to support someone's art. Took in three people, only to be taken advantage of while I was working and going to school full time, taking care of my own family and doing 90% of the cooking and cleaning.
That's not it. I am facing a health crises and I am waiting on appointments. I have cut off almost everyone in my life because recently discovered beliefs made me realize that they were bringing me down. A new person came into our lives and I am forever grateful for his presence. As a trauma survivor, I am still learning how to trust people and not push them away, and he is one person I do not want out of my life.
The basic foundation of every writer is their support team - friends, family and other associates. I have told every person I knew that I published (sans my father, who died shortly after the first book was published). I excuse anybody who has a reason why they cannot focus, which is about half the people I know and love (including mental illness, caretaking, etc.). The other half have relayed to me in so many different ways that they do not care.
Silence is an answer.
Making one-off complaints is an answer.
Like any other author, I look for the free ways people can support me, in the hopes that it will get to someone who is interested. Social media posts have been my favorite answer. I've asked everyone I knew to refer my works to other people (I've referred others' books too, if I knew the audience). Word of mouth is another free way authors can get coverage.
I feel like a broken record, a siren, a nagging narcissist even, when I ask for help with this. I have explained time and again the importance of continuous support. People cannot think being an author is a one-and-done deal. In order to have more sales and to reach more people, authors need to continue to write. It is a legitimate career and it is a very difficult one, especially when you do it on your own without someone designing, marketing and editing for you.
A book written is an investment. I have four of them, and all are over three hundred pages long (three of them over seven hundred pages). It is my version of a painting or a record, or a traveling merchant with goods to trade and sell. Not everyone is going to like it. I am totally ok with that. I thrive on bad reviews and those who are not my audience. It tells me there is diversity.
On the other hand, I should not be shamed and abused because I had no support for my career. I went through several marketing resources. None of them could believe that none of my friends and family have the time, energy and empathy to help me. I spent two months being shamed by three different people, all of them telling me that I just was not doing enough to ask, not knowing the emails and phone calls I made, or the times I spoke in person. They would not let me get a word in. Because nobody wants to hear the whole story, not everyone has all the info.
I should not be called a liar or cornered with questions when something does not go as expected. As a survivor of severe abuse, especially narcissistic, I know how to do my job, with the knowledge I have, and know what resources to use when I do not. I know how to research and how to tell "fake news" from one place to another. I never reached a dead end yet.
At the same time, I know that I do not know everything about life. I always said that I wanted to be educated, not belittled, and I appreciate every bit of advice given to me that I have not tried (even if I was not open to it at the time). Very few have opened their souls to me and told me what I was going was wrong (am doing wrong, I should say, because I do not know). Everybody else feels like they are stepping on eggshells with me.
You do not need to. I've been ignored and disregarded for most of my life thus far. You can approach me. You can ask me questions. Just because I have boundaries does not mean I am bad. It means I have respect for myself and for you. Every one of us are entitled to our feelings. It does not mean they are right or wrong.
Yet, despite having less than $5 in my account, no income, and phone calls about past due bills, I am still an author. I am still working on my fifth novel, set to release by June 2024. I am still asking you to share and subscribe. I want you to give me feedback...in a few minutes. I need the time to calm down.
Even authors have tempers and breakdowns. And that is ok. It's only a short pity party anyway.