Friday, October 13, 2017

When Is Enough Stress Good Enough?

We seem to be a society that is never satisfied. You hit a career goal or an item on your bucket list, and you wonder why you aren't happy.

Before anyone asks, yes, I'm that way, too.

A week ago today, I released Ravaged, the seventh novel in the Bloodlines urban fantasy series. That bring my total releases under the Suzan Harden banner to fifteen. That doesn't count the four short under the Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress anthologies. Nor does it count the sixteen releases under Alter Ego's name.

For the first time ever though, I didn't have the surge of adrenaline right before I uploaded the files to the various retailers and distributors. I didn't have the latent fear in the back of my mind about whether the readers would like it. I felt very blasé about the whole task.

In fact, I went right back to working on A Modicum of Truth after I closed my browser.

That never happens to me. I'm usually a nervous wreck for the next two-three days after a release. I'm constantly checking my sales numbers. I fret about reviews. And I simply can't concentrate on the next project even though I make sure it's been started before this release occurs.

To be blunt, I haven't been making bank like I used to. Frankly, I'm averaging $30/month this year because I'm coasting on fumes. I haven't had a quasi-regular release schedule since 2013. I admit that's totally on me, and Ravaged is supposed to be the start of a new monthly release schedule.

(And I've probably just attracted Murphy's attention by saying that, and I will be royally fucked by the one, true god relatively soon. But that's an issue for another blog.)

But on various other indie writer blogs, I hear laments from writers about the pace (they're putting out books at one per month if not more), the money (oh, noes! I only made $10K this month when I've been making $25K per month for the last year), or they are quitting because of stress.

Here's the odd thing. We indies work for ourselves. We decide the pace. We decide the effort of making money. We put the stress on ourselves. We made the decision to be an artist and an entrepreneur in a world that has no respect for one and over-glamorizes the other.

What does that have to do with my weird emotional reaction to the release of Ravaged?

We humans need a certain amount of stress to thrive. The actual amount differs from person to person, just like the amount of carbs, vitamins and protein we need to eat differs from person to person. However, too much of any one thing, including stress, can harm us.

The fact that I was able to move on  to the next task after uploading the files for Ravaged means I'm currently at my optimal stress-level. Not so little stress that I don't give a shit about getting any project done. Not so much stress that I'm a quivering mass of fear and angst.

If I can stay at this level for the next six months, I'm golden and y'all will have a lot of good stories to read.

P.S. Today's the last day Ravaged will be $0.99 at retailers. Tomorrow, it'll go back to it's regular price of $4.99.

Barnes & Noble


  1. Your B&N link doesn't work.

    There. More stress achieved. :-)

  2. Sorry, it's not up on B&N yet. I haven't been putting up the ebooks on B&N until the paperbook is up, and I'm still waiting because my formatter is a little backed up at the moment.

  3. That's exactly what I was thinking -- that the fact you can upload your book and go right to working on the next one is a feature rather than a bug. Go you! [waves pompoms]


  4. LOL That's what we all should be doing anyway, Angie! I admit I picked a lot of bad trad habits over the years.