By GenZ Founder Morissa Schwartz
When authors write a book, they tend to think that they’re going to have instant success. I was one of them. Right after I self-published my first book in high school, when I didn’t have people knocking down my door, I thought I was a failure. I would never write again! (That lasted all of two days).
When I had my first book traditionally published, I tried to have a book signing in town at an arts center. The venue said ‘no,’ and I thought I was a failure. I assumed that they hated my book and that my book was awful. I thought I knew that this meant no one was going to read my book, that my book was a failure.
But things take time. A few months after the venue declined, I got an email from a local library, and they wanted me to do a feature reading there. They made posters and had a whole event dedicated to just me and my book. There were a good 50 readers there, and it was amazing. One of the people there was a manager at Barnes& Noble. And she asked me to do a reading there. Now, that has been my dream…to do a reading at Barnes & Noble since I was eight years old, when I saw the author of my favorite books doing a reading there. Then, I got to do two Barnes & Noble book readings, just from that one opportunity. Those readings were MONTHS after my book was released. Many authors make the mistake of thinking that everything must be done WHEN your book is released, but really, book readings and promos can happen at any time. In fact, focusing on readings after your book is released is better, because focusing on it before can get in the way of the creative/publishing process.
Instant success does not happen with a book for the simple reason that it takes some time for people to read a book. Even if someone purchases your book the day it is released, the majority will not read it right away…but the majority will not buy it the instant it is released either. So as much as you may want people to read your book and get those glowing reviews right away just doesn’t always (or even often) happen. Life gets in the way and you have to understand your readers.
For my book, Notes Never Sent, the main purpose was to inspire people. And I did not think it inspired anybody at first. My parents read it, and they loved it. But they’re my parents; they have to be nice and say they love my writing right? I didn’t really see any reaction at first. The first reaction I actually saw was at that library. I read a story that I wrote about my great-grandmother, and a woman in the third row was hysterically crying. That was when I realized that my book really can impact people. It was doing what I set out for it to do, and I had been too blinded by my own fears to see it.
Fast-forward to one year later, only a month ago, and I was at an event speaking to female entrepreneurs. A woman that I did not know came up to me and told me that her daughter is a fan. I wondered why she was trying to flatter me like that. There is no way that I could have ‘fans.’ I’m not Taylor Swift. I thought ‘what’s the catch?’ Was she trying to sell me something? But it turns out, she was genuine. Later in the night, she asked me if I would meet her daughter. She wanted me to surprise her for her 16th birthday. So we met at a local diner (a central location in my book) and when her daughter walked into the diner she screamed. She was so happy. “You’re the best mom ever!” she yelled to her mom, as she proceeded to ask how her mom got me there. It was surreal. We talked for an hour and a half about reading and writing. She was inspired by my book for all that time, and I had no idea.
It’s been nearly 2 years since my book was released, and I am only now finding out that it inspired people.
So, authors, I leave you with this: be patient. Success does not happen overnight; you never know who is going to read your book and when they are going to do so.