Conundrum: book sales have stalled. Sigh.
*Angrily takes aim at empty drink can in the road, runs up and swings a foot at it, misses, finds self suddenly lying on back, in considerable pain, making a mental note never to try that again...*
By using the term 'stalled', I'm subtly implying that this is a mere hiatus in an otherwise wild roller-coaster ride of books being ordered in their thousands. This is slightly misleading, and I humbly apologize for exciting you in that way, but I'm trying to keep a hold on my emotional state here.
A more accurate representation of the recent level of sales of my (by the way: most excellent) work would be the classic desert scene in which a tumbleweed blows across the otherwise empty landscape, and a lone cricket chirps mournfully for a mate that will never appear. I am, however, trying not to think about reality.
It's difficult to stay positive sometimes. Actually, it's difficult to stay positive most of the time, but particularly so when it comes to selling a piece of work upon which I worked pretty darned hard to put put together. It's not easy to forgive 'friends' who have promised to buy a copy but have never quite got around to doing so - many of those people have since slipped down and off the Christmas card list. I believe in keeping a promise, but it seems that many people do not, and that's a source of disappointment and irritation. The same goes for family members - although the surprise is not so great.
It's also a bit of a trial when people I have considered close friends and to whom I have sent free copies (at no small expense in shipping, I might add), never quite get around to reading the book despite many separate assurances that they are just about to do so. In such cases, it's a double thump in the nuts because the book was a gift.
Enough whining, though. What I must understand is that one of the fundamental truths about life applies equally to people I have considered friends. It's this: they - and the rest of the universe - don't care. I've made the classic mistake (a mistake which I thought I could avoid at the outset) of allowing myself to become emotionally attached to the sales issue. As I've said before, I wrote my first book for non-commercial reasons, and I'm very pleased to have achieved my goal. However - led to some extent by the friends issue, I think - I've allowed emotions to creep in regarding the sales figures. This, as I'm sure you will have already decided for yourself, is foolish.
Worse: it is 'Moogish' behaviour. If, by the way, you're wondering what a Moog is, I can help you with that: it is a rotund sausage-shaped animal with a pair of limbs at each end and a stupid grin at just one end. Since this accurately describes my current physical state, it seems fitting that I should be exhibiting the character traits of a Moog (a simpleton).
Something tells me that I must move on from 'Signs of (a) Life', but it's a difficult thing to do, and I'm not sure that it would actually be the right thing to do. The book has legs yet, - I'm sure of it - but I have no idea how to go about getting the word out about it after a year - it's that introvert thing again, and it's a pain in the butt-ox. That desert landscape seems to be filled with quick sand...
This all means that my current response to the conundrum is a confused, frowny kind of bewilderment, best summed up thus:
What the fuck am I going to do now?