I didn’t start writing to become a brand or to earn the big bucks.

I write because there’s something in me that needs to get the words and the stories out onto the empty page.

Early on I realized that writing was important, that it was cathartic, that it was vital to my very being. I could say the things I normally couldn’t say. I could make sense of the thoughts and feelings rumbling around inside of my head and my soul like an unstoppable tornado. Writing would quiet those thoughts and feelings for the moment.

I entered the publishing world because of this desire to write. I had the great fortune to come to understand the business side of writing, for all the better and for all the worse. I was soon able to see the two sides of the coin when it came to books: the personal side and the professional side. One is about art, the other is about commerce. One is extremely personal, while the other should never be taken personally.

For thirteen and a half years, I was able to see and study this world. I did my homework. During that time, I was fortunate to be published and start my writing career.

I say all that as I come to a crossroads in my current writing journey.

Fourteen novels published. Four more being released this year. Things are really happening for me. I’m breaking through, right? I’m finally successful, right?

Success is a subjective thing, just like stories can be. Here’s my reality—with all the books I’ve published, my sales have been low. And with each subsequent low-selling story, those numbers begin to stick around and haunt you. You can’t change them. They’re in THE SYSTEM and that system decides what bookstores order and don’t order. Book sales are the number one thing publishers look at to decide what books to publish and not to publish.

The reality is that my low sales and lack of a brand have made it very difficult for me. Bookstores don’t know what to make of me. The same can be said about consumers.

So . . .

Is it time to decide to go away for a while and stop releasing books?

Is it time to pick a genre and a publisher and bet it all on them?

Is it time to go back to school and study the craft, a craft I feel I still have so much to learn about?

Is it time to write the most commercial and marketable story I can and forget about those other 18 works of fiction?

Is it time to finally listen to all those writers and readers out there who share stories about e-book successes?

I stand here at the crossroads and know this: I’ve been able to have these variety of stories of mine published, and I’m grateful for that. I wouldn’t change anything about those stories or my publishing history.

What happens tomorrow and next month and next year, I know this for certain. I’ll be writing. I will always be writing. Regardless of how I’m able to pay bills and provide for my family, I’m going to keep doing what I started doing in third grade.

There’s a lot about this writing journey that I deliberately don’t share. I don’t want to whine or brag or delve into too many personal things. But regardless of what happens, I’m optimistic. And if you’ve read my writing or this blog, you’ll know that I’m not prone to optimism. Yet there are a lot of exciting things that are going to happen this year. I’m excited about the possibilities. I’m excited about these stories that are still inside of me, waiting to come out.

I’m excited to see which door will ultimately open next, and where I’ll find myself heading toward when I walk through it.

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