Take a step back and look at it again.
One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.
–Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness
I recently wrote and published a book on Amazon Kindle. I was happy with the book itself–I felt as though I’d created a useful resource that would help others. But I wasn’t happy with my book launch. It turns out that simply completing a book and uploading it onto Amazon isn’t really a book launch.
In my rush to get it done and shipped, I had more or less completely ignored a marketing plan! I had focussed purely on creating the product and forgotten the part about letting interested people know how and where to find it.
That wasn’t all. I had got my timing completely off. The book is aimed at helping people prepare for exams. But I had unwittingly released my book when my ‘target audience’ had finished their exams and were busy burning their study-notes!
With all of that, the book still managed to get enough downloads to make it to the top of Amazon’s charts in the ‘Kindle – Study Skills’ category. This was largely thanks to my wonderful network of friends and family and a five-day free promotion on Amazon (I also did some frenzied, last-minute scrambling around on social media and bargain book websites to help things along).
So my timing was off and I didn’t have a marketing plan, but what did any of that mean? Should I be disappointed and angry at myself? Should I regard this launch as a disaster?
I have to admit that I was initially disappointed at the number of downloads during the launch/promotion period. Having very few sales / borrows in the period following that promotion also stings… But less so, since I realised my two colossal mistakes and what I could do to make things better in the long-run. This is the gift of perspective.
When I factor in my massive bloopers, it makes me think that I was lucky and that things went quite well. Also, when I remind myself that this was my first real book launch and that it was meant to be a learning experience, it feels way better. Sure I messed up with a couple of things, but I know better for next time.
And here are a few other things that came to mind, when I zoomed out and looked at the bigger picture:
- Nobody died. Seriously. Nothing terrible happened and that in itself is such a huge blessing.
- The book has a long shelf-life and its content is ‘evergreen’. It will continue to be relevant for as long as there are essay-type exams.
- The longer it is out there, the more people will come to know about it and therefore read it.
- Exams come round at least twice a year. It is at these times that the book becomes relevant. I can do some marketing and promoting at these times to let the audience know about it.
- Books aren’t the only thing that I am going to try my hand at, and this certainly isn’t the only book that I will write (I’m already working on the next book).
- I have the opportunity to try again (and again) and to do better next time.
- ‘Work’ isn’t everything or even the most important thing in life (at least not to me). My health, happiness and relationships matter a lot more to me and I am blessed to enjoy all of these things in good measure.
- Last, but certainly not least, I realise how lucky and blessed I am to have the friends and family that I have. The support and encouragement I received from all of them has been truly wonderful.
Taking note of all these things have helped me get over my disappointment very quickly. And I have perspective to thank for that.
Sometimes in life it is easy to focus on the small things and use them as an excuse to feel unhappy. But maintaining a proper perspective is the perfect antidote to this. And if you can go a step further and count your blessings… it seems that you can be happy no matter what.