As I’m writing this, the Giants are still on the All-Star break, hopefully gearing up for the second half of the season. If you’d asked any Giants’ fan at the beginning of the season if they would be satisfied being one game behind the Dodgers at the break, most would have said yes.
But something happened along the way. The Giants got hot. Lighting hot. At one point they were sitting on a 9 and a half game lead. And then they entered the worst stretch in recent memory. The team that kept finding ways to win, found themselves finding ways to lose. The starting pitching that struggled early, was now losing 1-0. The hitters who did nothing but knock in runners in scoring position with two outs, now went entire series without getting a hit with RISP. And the bullpen that was so brilliant in April and May became human.
So now being one game behind our rivals makes us mad.
A year ago, I was giddy over signing my first book contract. The whole idea of having a book I wrote up on Amazon and other retailers still seemed like a dream come true. And it is.
But it is also work. Just like the Giants can’t just walk out on the field and expect to win every game, I can’t just turn in my final edits and sit back and wait for the money to roll in. I have to work at getting my book in front of readers. My publisher Lyrical Press, an imprint of Kensington, has helped me with getting my book available to reviewers, setting up guest blogs, and interviews. But I had to answer those interview questions, had to come up with blog topics for some of them, and follow through with the giveaways.
In some ways it’s more work to maintain the excitement about my books as it was to write them. Especially since I have my publisher working to promote the series, I feel a certain amount of pressure I didn’t have when I was still trying to get published.
I remember when the Giants weren’t that good. I watched them for the love of the game and because I loved Matt Williams and Mark Gardner. No one expected much so when they won, it was special. And when they beat the Dodgers, it was even better. (Some things don’t change, it’s always great to beat the Dodgers, no matter what either team’s record is.)
Once upon a time I wrote for the sheer joy of it. I didn’t even know Amazon ranked books and updated them hourly. I didn’t know they had separate lists for books and kindle books, with subcategories for genre fiction, sports fiction, and sports romance. I didn’t wonder how to be seen or worry that people can’t find my book if they don’t already know it exists. I just went on Amazon because I needed a new book. I usually went looking for a particular title, but sometimes I’d find a book based on recommendations. Now I wonder how to get my book on those recommendation lists and when I do, how will it affect my ranking?
I doubt that any of the San Francisco Giants players are satisfied with being number two in the division. Hey, they have rings. A lot of them have two. They can just sit back, collect their big money, and start thinking about their vacation plans for the offseason. Nope. They’re going to show up everyday, with bat in hand or glove at the ready. They will give it their best and hope to achieve even more.
And I’m not going to sit back, satisfied with two books available for sale. I want to write more. I want to be successful. I want to spend more than an hour in the top 100 for Sports Fiction, sitting just above John Grisham or Stephen King. Yes, I know, neither of them write romance, but we were in the same category for a while.
I want more. I know I’ll have ups and downs as a writer. I’ll try to learn from my mistakes, and help others along the way. And I’ll still get excited to meet famous authors I’ve been reading for years. I also hope I can keep my fans happy. That the only frustration they feel is that I don’t put more books out sooner. Or that my book signing is the same weekend as their cousin’s wedding.
Even if I do hit the bestseller lists, I won’t be satisfied. I’ll want to keep writing better books.
But I will need the Giants’ help in researching winning a third World Series. I missed the last two parades.