As always it’s been awhile since my last post. And if you watch my social media accounts, you’ll likely have an inkling as to why. I’ve been working away madly, re-releasing my store Book Geek Chic (BGC) (for technical reasons) and setting up my jewellery store. This is turn has required Instagram accounts for each, and a Facebook account for BGC. It looks like I’m crazy busy at the moment. Which I am.
But what about my writing??
For the full explanation we have to dial back to this time last year. When I had been studying my butt off for weeks to apply for the role I now have. This time last year I was tackling several intense interviews, with my stress and adrenalin levels running high. I knew the hardest part of the whole thing would be making the people, who’d known me for almost eight years as the receptionist, see me as a potential Publishing Manager. Thankfully, having six novels under my belt, plus nailing the tests they set helped.
I got the role, celebrated and dived into it.
Then I got hit with a nasty bout of depression.
Now I’m going to be honest, not even those closest to me were really aware of it, other than Glenn of course, who walked on eggshells around me for those three months. Yup, the first three months of my brand new job, my “Everest”, I spent in a nasty state of anxiety and depression. Unable to make sense of why I kept bawling my eyes out on the drive home from a job I was so utterly exhilarated to have. The short and skinny (for me at least, everyone who deals with the D word has their own triggers/solutions) was that I’d not let myself breathe. And then changing roles in such a way, within the same company left me with a serious case of imposter syndrome. Where I felt like I couldn’t relax because otherwise it might all come tumbling down.
Along came August. August and February are the crazy times in the Financial world here in NZ, when companies are reporting their results for the year/half year. It meant 1am starts (seriously) and sleeping in the lounge for the month because of it. Add to that coming down with a cold, plus my other half suffering from debilitating IBS and it was one hell of a month. But the final kicker came at the end of the month. In the form of an email from Amazon informing me I had fake reads on my KU books (the books people with a Prime account can read). Bewildered I replied my shock and concern, asking what I needed to do to fix this. Their reply was short and succinct. Even when I took the extreme measure of emailing Jeff Bezos himself, then ringing their special team, I still got the same response.
This is YOUR fault, you’ve done something dodgy.
Now, I had set up several email send-outs with advertisers before August, knowing I wouldn’t have time to think of it during the month. So I started googling, trying to make sense of this accusation, and the complete loss of my August sales. What the heck are fake reads? Why are they happening to me?? Googling showed this is a growing trend. The short and skinny (as I can make sense of it) are that bots set up by people (why? Who freaking knows, but somewhere along the way someone must be making money out of it) jump on KU books that have a sudden spike in reads. Why? Because it helps to make their accounts look legitimate. So those of us who’ve put through advertising which has resulted in a good response unfortunately attract these nasty little things. Amazon, being a business, cover all ends by attacking us (the authors) first, and then I presume cancelling the Prime accounts associated with the fake reads.
I did what I thought was the right response. Pulled all my books from KU. But it didn’t make them happy. Amazon left my books floating without rankings in their digital ether. Having read numerous blog posts on others suffering the same situation, I knew it would be a hard fight to get my rankings back.
And then it hit me.
I didn’t need Amazon anymore.
Thanks to my new role, my income had shifted enough that those monthly cheques were no longer a requirement. And that meant something exciting.
It also meant one heck of a learning curve. But, a month or so later and I had my own gorgeous book store. People were still downloading the first book, and buying the others. And no longer having to watch my rankings/reviews lowered my stress levels a heap. Suddenly, I enjoyed being a true indie author again.
The whole situation opened my eyes to ecommerce which given I’ve already been selling my books for years really shouldn’t have been a big surprise.
As I mentioned earlier, my other half suffers from IBS. In a very serious way. It’s frustrating, devastating, and challenging and leaves him often feeling like an 80year old, with aching joints that means even just lying in bed hurts.
The hard part for him is that to look at he looks fine. So people don’t seem to realise the severity of the situation. It breaks my heart daily. My eyes are literally welling up as I write this. There is nothing so frustrating and painful as to watch the one you love in such pain, when you can do absolutely nothing.
So I decided to work towards something.
Stress is a major factor of IBS, so add that to the missed days from work due to the illness, the effect on the income because of that, and it’s a nasty perpetuating cycle.
I can’t make him better. And every time I try to help food wise I seem to end up poisoning him… and unlike an allergy, IBS symptoms can take weeks and months to go away. One little mistake can literally take him a month to recover from. Not surprisingly, when this all began in earnest (six years ago or so) it got to the point that he was scared to eat. We stuck to the FODMAP diet as strictly as possible, but it’s still being created/understood so one month we’d be told a food was safe then the next month it wasn’t. He lost 40kgs in six months. It was so extreme his family thought he was dying from cancer and we weren’t telling them. So all in all, post infection IBS is really f#cking shit.
Which brings me to my new goal.
I want to create income streams that I control for myself. I want to earn enough money online so that he can quit his job, and work on our house like he so desperately wants (adding to those stress levels, because at the moment achieving a day’s work is a big deal, let alone coming home to do more work). Yes, eventually I want to be able to work from home fulltime bringing in enough income to provide for us both. But in the immediate, I want him happy and healthy.
This has been met/is being met by curious levels of dismay by some people. Apparently it’d be fine if he worked his arse off so I could not work, but if you reverse it then it’s just wrong…
Given most of you reading this will have read my books, thus understand my fairly obvious belief in equality, I bet you can imagine my response to such an attitude *evilgrin*.
Which is where Book Geek Chic, my book store, and my jewellery store comes into play. Eventually there will be other stores (or maybe just a store, we’ll see) as I find my way along this bumpy new road. Very soon I am looking forward to diving back into my written worlds, and the craving is getting stronger and stronger. But my desire to get my stores up and running is stronger at the moment. Every time I see him suffer, it hurts me. It hurts me more than I would have believed possible. And if I can’t fix it (and my goddess, do I wish I could!) then I will do everything else in my power to make the situation as good as possible. Including learning a bunch of new crazy ideas to make our lives, in the long run, easier.
So I make you this promise, you long suffering readers 😉 I am working back towards writing. I do have those worlds in my mind every single day. And the voices only get louder. Soon, ideally sooner than I know, I’ll be diving back into them and dragging you all along for one heck of a ride.
I ask you very sincerely, to continue hanging on. To continue getting in touch about the books, because your words always make my day. And to continue in your support for the worlds you love that I’ve created.
You guys are awesome. You help create more light in my world, and I am so very grateful for that.