This should be an interesting post. Most times when I have these thoughts I say to myself, “I should share them. Someone else might get something out of it. You need to engage and connect with the people who follow you.” And then I promptly answer that with, “No one is interested in that shit. You will sound like you’re whining. People will lose faith in you, your business, your ability.”
Tonight, my brain said, “Shut the fuck up and just do it.” So here we go.
I’m in this weird place. Since 2016, I’ve made a career out of publishing. I started with little to no knowledge and built up from there. I had a vision that embraced dark fiction, writers who became family, authors who took the mentoring they received and turned around to pass it on to the next “generation” of SSP alumni. For a little while it worked. I was publishing a new book every couple of months. Sometimes, more. We had authors release parties, collaborations, an author university and FREE mentoring.
One day, during a meeting, our numbers began to fall and I explained to the authors that readers are fickle. They are always looking for the next big thing, and the less expensive fix to sate their insatiable appetite.
Many of my staff have come and gone. There’s no love lost for them. They worked for the love of what we do but the honest truth is simple: There’s no big paycheck coming in. Everyone thinks publishing is simple. And it is if you’re just taking the royalties from authors without putting in a lot of work. It takes a team of well qualified editors to turn a manuscript in a few months. Most small presses have unqualified editors. I’m being blunt because there’s no point in sugar coating.
I was able to get well qualified editors and because of authors who are new and have unrealistic expectations, they developed a bad taste in their mouth. Many days and nights were spent listening to how authors talked to them, missed deadlines, made excuses, fought every single correction, challenged every single lesson…the list goes on. The result was burnout and broken spirits.
In the genre I move in, there is drama … and I know there is probably drama in them all but I’m only speaking of my experience tonight. People move incestually from publisher to publisher, recycling toxicity, infesting well-intentioned companies with their disgusting lies, manipulations, stolen ideas, poached authors, and general destruction. I know that sounds like an exaggeration but I’ve seen good pub houses close their doors due to the fallout produced by such things.
I decided to take time off and scale way back. Skip ahead two years because otherwise I’m writing a novella tonight… I decided to pursue the magazine publication again after a failed, one-time attempt with someone else at the helm.
I love the magazine. I’ve never felt more proud of my ability to produce something in my life. Well, besides my children of course!
And that’s where this becomes weird.
Depression is complicated. I am not really feeling sad. I don’t think, anyway. I’m feeling…numb. I’m successful at my job. I’m successful at school. I’m successful at producing a beautiful magazine. And right now none of it is exciting me. Right now, meaning tonight at at 11:52 pm. I don’t want to do homework, I don’t care that I have more formatting to do. I am staring at this screen with 0 emotion about any of it. Tomorrow, I will wake up and work from 6 am until 11 pm and put 150% off my soul into everything.
But right now? I don’t care.
I’m overwhelmed with imposter syndrome, with anxiety knowing my son and my grand babies are leaving in a few days to go back home, fear of failing looming over my head, disappointment that I’ve let my own writing take a back seat to helping others who took it for granted, racing thoughts of doom and gloom, anxiety and PTSD resulting from my near death experiences (2 in less than 5 years). So, so many things. More than I can even remember from one minute to the next as I write this.
All I want to do is fall asleep right now but instead I’m looking for some kind of revelation to appear between the lines.
All I know, is tomorrow will be a better day.