From The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing:
Last month, an author I’d not spoken to in a while came to mind. She was someone I’d spoken with professionally, we’d read each other’s blogs, and I truly enjoyed her books. I began to wonder if I’d somehow lost another colleague’s posts in the sea of social networking I do every month. (Sadly, it happens.) So, I decided to look her up and find out if she had any new books out.
I couldn’t find her Facebook page or profile.
Her website had been deleted.
Her books were no longer on Amazon.
I started to doubt my recollection. I hadn’t spoken to her in a few months. Did I have her name confused with someone else’s? Had I written her blog address down wrong?
I emailed her, not at all confident I would hear back. I worried that she’d died or suffered some personal catastrophe. How could someone vanish?
She wrote back the same day. She’d quit writing completely, unpublished her books, let her website expire, and gotten the hell out of Dodge. I was stunned. She was a talented author. She paid for wonderful cover art, gotten professional editing, and went about social networking like a pro. She’d even successfully signed with an agent.
Her reasons for quitting were varied: home issues, time constraints, poor sales, a few unsupportive indie colleagues, a couple of stinging reviews, and feeling like her books didn’t fit into any recognisable niche. She said to me: “It was an experiment, and it failed.”
. . . .
Anyone I’ve mentioned the situation to has said something like, “Oh, she probably just needs a break. She’ll go back to it someday.” To them I can only say: I recognised the despair in her letter. This wasn’t a temporary setback. She did, indeed, quit. Forever. For good. She said thinking about her writing made her literally sick. Ouch.
I felt incredibly sad at her story, but in truth, I understand. Being a writer is hard. Self-publishing is even harder. We indies have to know a bit of everything, be a bit of everything. We rarely take enough time off. We often spend too much time watching the rankings, checking our stats, feeling elated when our books sell, but no matter the number, we secretly feel disappointed we don’t sell more.
My friend was crushed under the weight of expectations, disappointment, pressure, and criticism. Who among us can’t sympathise with that? Who here hasn’t felt crippling self-doubt?
Link to the rest at The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing and thanks to James for the tip.