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In the Shadows of Doubt: An Author's Writing-Goals Update

An author's 2024 update about successfully selling novels...

Or: What I did wrong and how I plan on doing better

In the solitary realm of writing, where words are both companions and adversaries, every author grapples with moments of doubt. As the creator of worlds and weaver of tales, I find myself at a crossroads, tempted to abandon the very craft that once ignited my soul. This is an exploration of the shadows of doubt that linger, threatening to extinguish the flickering flame of my passion.

Writing is an intimate dance with one's thoughts, a delicate interplay of creativity and vulnerability. As I confront the blank page, doubt creeps in like a silent specter, whispering insidious questions. "Is anyone really interested in your stories? Are your words just echoes in an empty void?"

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Instagram: @ashleyauthorholmquist

In October 2023, I launched my first fantasy novel - Sword of Audantei. Super exciting, I know! It'd been a dream of mine since I was 9.

I spent a few years posting content on Instagram, and attempting to share some on Tiktok when I could. I organized an online tour and had many successful hosts. I started an account with 0 followers and moved up (slowly but surely) to a little less than 700. And by the time I launched, my account had consistent interactions and thousands of people interaction with my tour hosts.

I thought this was marketing success. I thought I had it made.

I thought wrong.

After spending thousands of dollars and investing years into social media, I have only sold 49 copies today. This is between the months of July to December. How discouraged I felt - and feel now while writing this. And Sword of Audantei is only the first of a 5 book series.

The temptation to quit writing was seductive. The road ahead seems daunting, and the voices of self-doubt become a deafening chorus. It's easy to lose sight of the joy that once accompanied the act of creation. The weight of comparison, the fear of inadequacy, and the relentless pursuit of perfection become heavy burdens.

Rather than succumbing to the temptation to quit, I choose to seek solace in the very act of writing. I revisited the stories that ignited my imagination, reconnected with the characters who became my companions, and allowed myself to be vulnerable on the page. For this, and a few other reasons, I chose not to quit.

Reason 1: The Reason Was Never Money

I didn't start writing to make money.

I know, that's probably a little crazy to read. But it's true. I decided to write a series about the impacts a family of choice has on an individual's journey and publish it for others out there like me. That's why I started writing, that's why I'm going to keep writing.

Reason 2: Momma Didn't Raise A Quitter

If I quit before I truly succeed, how will I succeed in anything?

Reason 3: I Accomplished My Sloppy 2023 Goals

Last year, I had three author/writing goals.

  1. Publish "Sword of Audantei"

  2. Sell copies of SOA

  3. Write book 2

Looking back on those, I did publish SOA, I did sell copies, and I did finish the first draft of book 2. So I 'succeeded'. The only reason I felt like I failed is because I had an invisible number in my head that I failed to turn into a time-relevant and attainable goal.

So back to the drawing board I go for the new year, ready to start my marketing with more knowledge and determination to see my success match goals that I keep from becoming 'invisible'.

My 2024 Author/Writing Goals

  1. Complete the Next Masterpiece: Working tirelessly on a story that will whisk you away to uncharted worlds. Get ready for a literary journey like never before!

  2. Connect Deeper with Readers: Strengthening the bond with my incredible readership. Your thoughts and feedback fuel my creative fire, and I'm eager to hear more from each one of you.

  3. Explore New Genres: Stepping out of my comfort zone to explore uncharted literary territories. Brace yourselves for surprises that will challenge and excite your imagination!

  4. More Behind-the-Scenes: Offering glimpses into the author's life. From writing rituals to favorite reading nooks, let's make this journey even more personal.

  5. Collaborations and Literary Ventures: Joining forces with fellow wordsmiths and creators for exciting collaborations. Together, we'll weave tales that transcend boundaries.

How I'm Going To Do This...

Since you've last heard from me, I've done some marketing courses and business 101. Nothing too extensive. Just some online courses when I had the time. Now, I can easily say that I know where I failed.

And as the shadows of doubt continue to loom, I find strength in acknowledging the struggle and the temptation to quit. It is through this acknowledgment that I reclaim the power to persist - to continue writing. So, I pick up my pen and continue, for the journey is as valuable as the destination, and my story is far from over.

Until next.

- Ashley


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