Monday, April 9, 2012

How do you spell relief?

I might be showing my age here, but do you remember that old 1980's commercial where Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach walked around the city with a funky, silver microphone asking people, "How do you spell relief?"

Of course, the buinessmen and women would always say "R-O-L-A-I-D-S!"

This past weekend was one of those weekends where anxiety, over indulgence of food, and lack of sleep left me seeking any kind of relief today. You see, when I'm nervous, I eat. And when I eat, I eat big. Good food is my Valium. And I started OD-ing on it Friday. You'd think Rolaids would be my answer, too. But it's more complicated than that.

I had gone to be Thursday night knowing in a few hours the big, freebie weekend ushering in the the debut of my novel Harbinger in the Mist would begin. It was to be available to be downloaded for free all weekend. I went to bed wondering if anyone would notice it was free, if anyone would download it. I worried that I'd end the weekend depressed because it had zero downloads. I caught only a couple of hours sleep that night. After taking my oldest to school Friday morning, I went about making chicken parmesean instead of waking the laptop and logging on to the Amazon KDP site to see if I'd gotten any downloads yet.

Now I make a mean chicken parmesean. Seriously. It's not some slapped-together-from-frozen-chicken-patties-and-spaghetti-sauce thing. This is a from-scratch, rolling-in-breadcrumbs, hour-long dish to make.  It's time consuming but yummy. If you want the recipe, let me know.

By 11 a.m., I'd already eaten breakfast (something I never, ever do) and had a meal baking in the oven. The antsies got the best of me and I log into my KDP account. I sent my husband a text half in shock that the book had already been download 117 times and half wondering if that was a halfway decent number.
I turned the laptop off and did some laundry, made a refrigerator chocolate cheesecake (uber yummy and easy to make ... maybe I'll have to start posting recipes here...), and played a game on the Wii. I even picked the Galaxy Tab back up and began re-reading The Hunger Games. Nothing eased that ever growing tapping in the back of my mind, like a leaky faucet while you're trying to sleep. I had to log back on, just had to. But I resisted with the help of a pint of strawberries. 

Once I'd picked my oldest up from school, I came back home and took a nap with the toddler. My husband came home from work and began reheating food. The aroma woke me. We ate dinner and I succumbed to temptation and logged back on. I nearly peed my pants. Not only had the number gone way up, but the book was No. 6 in the Amazon Top 100 Free Downloads for its category... which is the same as the Twilight saga. I took some screen prints and posted this on my Facebook page:

604 downloads was twice the amount I'd hope to achieve during the three-day freebie.

That was all she wrote. I spent most of Friday night refreshing the KDP page. And with each refresh, a couple of more downloads were added. I slept for a few hours before jumping up and jerking on jeans and a tee shirt. I managed one quick data check before running out the door to meet the uber-awesome Lorrie Gunn for a lunch day full of website stuff and general frivolity.

Holy smokes, I was over 800 downloads and holding strong to the No. 3 spot on Amazon.

I posted the following on my Facebook as I slipped my feet into a pair of old Crocs:

"As of 10:20 a.m., the book is THIRD in the Amazon Top 100 Free ebooks for its category (wich is the same category as the "Twilight" series) and its been downloaded 863 times here in the US, 80 times in the UK, and 21 times in Germany (that's was .de means, right?) Nice!"

But the entire time we were at the restaurant, I was sneaking peeks at the data and watching it sneak toward 1,000 downloads.

As the evening passed, I managed to spend some quality, computer-freee time with the kiddos. We colored eggs, jumped on the trampoline, fed the ducks at the duck pond, made sun catchers, and ate dinner. But that same tapping was pulling at my brain. I snuck a peek on the iPhone while the kids were looking elsewhere.  We were at 1,042 downloads. I texted my husband again. He, too, was excited because up until this point, the book had been little more than a poorly written file on my computer. The rewriting and editing process with Ragz books had been gruelling, but these stats told me -- an unknown author -- that it was all worth it. Here were real people downloading this book, reading it even.

My supper began to churn and I turned the computer off. I took a long, hot bath, helped the Easter Bunny with his job, and collapsed into bed. I hadn't had very much sleep the past couple of nights so, thankfully, sleep found me quickly.

 Sunday morning showed a slowing of downloads, which increased the anxiety. After seeing the 1,150 stat, I went into Easter mode. I manage not to check in again until just after two when I peeked with my phone. I took a screen captured and texted it to my husband. It seemed that theflurry of readers had slowed to a trickle.

But still, 1,340 downloads was so much more than I'd hoped for.

I was sad as the rate crawled through the evening. Then shocked as it sped back up that night. At 10:05 p.m., I sent a text to my husband telling him that we'd just hit 1,472 downloads and that "I sooooo want to hit the 1,500 mark before the freebie ends."  I knew it was doubtful that I'd make that mark, but I could dream, right?

It must be noted that my birthday is November 11th. In numerology, 11 is a master number that is never broken down. 11/11, 11:11, or 1,111 are also seen by some as "angel numbers." It's always been a number that I've found magical in a way, so it came as a big shock when I picked up the iPhone in the middle of a movie and checked the stats. Note the time and the downloads number.

With time waning and downloads slowing again, I went to bed happy that I'd had five times the number of U.S. downloads for which I'd originally hoped.  No matter what, I can always say that, "I am a published author. People have read my book."

I might never name a cent off the novel, but I know that at least 1,500 people - not counting my family and close friends that already had copies of the ebook - had voluntarily downloaded and read something on which I had worked so very hard.

I lifted some candy from each of the girls' massive Easter hauls and cuddled into bed with mixed emotions. All these people downloaded the book. Now what?

Would they like it? Would they hate it? Would I be strapped with a bunch of reviews giving me 1's and 2's?

I mentioned this anxiety to a group of fellow authors and was told to calm down and to understand that the numbers would virtually cease  for the next few weeks until everyone had read the book and (hopefully) started to tell others. Even then, the numbers would be a trickle, that the book really needs to be out at least a year before the numbers start rolling in.

<<big sigh>>

I checked my stats this evening, curious as to what the final promo numbers were. I was excited to see that I had not only gotten 71 more downloads after I turned everything off  Sunday night, but that sometime during the day I had also made a couple of actual sales. Only in my house would an author be tickled over selling a measly six books. But I am. It means that there are other people out there interested in a story that has been playing out in my brain since 2003.

 Looking back, I finally know that answer to Staubach's question. How do I spell relief?


Sure, after all I ate this weekend, a roll of Rolaids might be beneficial, but it wouldn't be pure relief.  Because nothing would be more therapeutic than knowing that other people love Lindsey's story as much as I do.

So, will I ever find "relief"? Only time will tell.

1 comment:

Claire Chilton said...

I loved this post Anabell, it's exactly what happened to me! lol

Well except I went for chocolate and panicking! :p

I hope your journey as published author is a fun-filled and not too bumpy ride :)