I'm a type-A personality.
"Whoa, I'm totally shocked," said no one who has ever met me.
Although techinically I think I'm more of an A-minus personality in that I only like to compete at things I know I can win. This has led to many problems and unfortunate events in my life. In my twisted little mind, it was better to make a joke out of tennis than it was to take it super seriously and lose. And math. No matter how hard I worked at math, I knew I'd never win so I ended up slacking my way through trig and calculus. (Sidenote: This is actually a really bad example because I've come to the conclusion that math is stupid. I mean honestly, this is the 21st century. We have calculators on our iPhones!) English Lit was a different story because I knew I could win. I loved reading and writing and debating and discussing books. I was always the first one to raise my hand. The nerd in the front row waxing poetic on my hatered for Daisy Buchanan.
When I work hard and take something seriously, I like to know that my efforts will be rewarded. It's easy for me to take my day job seriously because I'm good at it. When I work hard I'm almost always rewarded. It's a game I know I can win.
And publishing kills me because no matter how hard I work, how much I learn, or read or market, I will never win publishing. It might be a zero sum game. Or maybe not. Honestly, I didn't really pay much attention in Econ 101 because after I saw A Beautiful Mind I was pretty confident I'd never be able to beat John Nash. And every time we lose I try to convince myself that I don't really care. I try to convince Laura that we should just give up. I pretend that our writing career was just a long drawn out joke.
But the thing about publishing is that we keep changing the game. At first I thought getting an agent = WINNING.
And then we got an agent and it was really hard for her to sell our book to publishers.
And then I thought that getting our book published = WINNING.
And then our book was published and it didn't get a starred review or get nominated for any awards or really do much of anything aside from hang out on bookshelves occasionally getting purchased by bored 11-year-old girls who subsequently wrote us emails about how The Liar Society was their third favorite book.
Third favorite book? Funny? Not. Winning.
Oh, but I wasn't worried because we had The Lies That Bind and our amazing publisher was sending us out on a huge tour and surely this time around we'd WIN PUBLISHING.
But you know what? It's slow going. If anything, the second book feels harder than the first book. We only have one Amazon review and no professional reviews and sometimes I feel like instead of just NOT WINNING we're actually LOSING.
And the type-A-minus in me wants to just give up altogether. To pretend that I didn't really work hard on our books at all. To pretend that I don't care about Kate and Seth and Pemberly Brown. That we never really expected anyone to buy them in the first place.
But I can't ever convince myself, because it's simply not true.
I love Kate. I love Pemberly Brown and I especially love Seth. When we wrote these books I was sure that EVERYONE would want to read them. I thought they'd be international best sellers. I was positive that Kate would be this generation's Nancy Drew.
Yeah, I realize now that that's probably not in the cards for us. Not for this series. Not for these books. But lately I've been starting to think that my definition of winning is all wrong.
Maybe winning isn't about sales and awards, maybe it's about following our dreams and seeing our books on shelves. Maybe it's about finally overcoming my stupid A-minus personality disorder and growing up enough to realize that I'm not always going to win everything. That I'll never be the best. Maybe it's finally time to feel good, no GREAT, about being one 11-year-old girl's third favorite book.