Stay The Course

Although it’s been a little while since we’ve checked in on Betsy’s Quest to be a successful independent author, rest assured her wheels have continued to spin and, indeed, run off the rails. You may remember that Harry, the Guide for Betsy’s Quest, was recently upgraded from a white gerbil to the more traditional white rabbit, and he is desperately trying to live up to his new status. Thus, he made the mistake of pointing out to Betsy the fact that, as she now actually has several books published and available, she needs to start finding more people who’d like to read said books. This includes…advertising.

As you might expect, Betsy took this idea, ran with it, and drove her train right off a cliff.

Now Harry is standing outside his office in Betsy’s brain, chewing on his paws and watching Betsy run around like an idiot. He has been joined by the Muse, the creative spirit who sometimes has the power to talk Betsy down into a more, shall we say, rational state.

Will it work this time? Will Betsy ever turn her attention back to the actual writing? Or will she remain distracted forever?

Let’s see…


*The Muse and Harry are standing in Betsy’s brain looking through the door into Harry’s office* *Betsy runs past the doorway, hands in the air*

Click-through rates! Daily spend! Ahhh!

*Betsy disappears and there is the sound of frantic typing on a computer keyboard* *A moment later, Betsy runs past again*

Metrics! Downloads! Readthrough!

*Betsy disappears*

*Muse turns to Harry*  What did you do?

*Harry scratches his long, silky ear with a forepaw* I told her maybe we should start to advertise a little bit.

*Muse sighs* Really?

*Harry hangs his head* I didn’t think she’d take it like this.

*Betsy runs past* Spreadsheets! Dashboards! Cost per click!

*Muse shakes her head* You didn’t think she’d act like this? How long have you been living here, anyway?

*Harry’s ears flop lower* I was just trying to move forward with the mission statement. She wants to find her readers, and now that she has books out for people to, you know, read, she should be advertising.

*Muse crosses her arms* She needs to be writing, and not just to get more books finished. She needs to write because that’s who she is.

*Harry droops still further* I know.

*Muse pats him on the head* It’s not your fault she’s insane.

*Betsy stands in the doorway and squawks* Budgets! Conversions!

*Harry looks up at the Muse* Can you do something?

*Muse sighs* Can’t I always?

Yes? *Harry looks doubtful*

*Muse shakes her head and steps into the office*

*Betsy runs past her, still squawking* *Stops at laptop* *Looks at screen* *Squawks*

*Muse walks over to her and takes away the laptop*

No! No! *Betsy jumps to try to get the laptop* *Stops, winded* Give that back! It’s mine! My precious! My precious!

No. *Muse walks over to the door and hands the laptop to Harry* *Harry stuffs it under his waistcoat* *Muse blocks Betsy as she tries to get to it, and Harry hops rapidly away*

It’s mine! I want it! My preciousssssssss!

Oh, for God’s sakes, pull yourself together. *Muse crosses her arms and frowns* You aren’t writing, so you don’t need the laptop.

Yes I do!  I do! *Betsy tries to smile winningly* Give it back, please. Give back my precious.

If you don’t stop talking like that, I’m going to smack you upside the head.

Oh, okay. *Betsy straightens* But…can’t I just check the click-through rate on–


*Betsy smiles again* Can’t I just update my spreadsheet once?

I don’t think so.

But I like looking at the spreadsheets and I like to check the sites during the day and I like–

I don’t care.

*Betsy hangs her head and pushes the toe of her sneaker into the floor* But I likes them…

*Muse sighs deeply* I know. They’re something tangible you can hang onto in these uncertain times.

*Betsy smiles* They are!

And updating spreadsheets or worrying about ad spend and metrics make you feel like you’re actually doing something productive.

*Betsy points at the Muse* Yes!

When all you’re really doing is procrastinating.


*Muse frowns at Betsy* You know as well as I do that filling out spreadsheets and worrying about advertising or data or metrics is not what’s going to make you successful, either as a writer or a person.

*Betsy pouts* No, I don’t.

Yes, you do. You’re just avoiding what you know you have to do.

*Betsy’s pout deepens* No, I’m not.

Yes. You are. In the end, you know perfectly well that the only thing that’s going to make you a successful writer is to write. Yes, you need to think about the business side of things, but none of that can take the place of the writing.

*Betsy paws at the ground like a show pony* Are you saying the best advertisement is the next book?

I’m saying the business is important, but you can’t let it derail you again. Lord knows you’ve done that often enough in the past. But if you stay on course, if you write the next book and the next book and the next, you might actually make some progress on this Quest of yours. You can’t stop now.

I can’t?

No! You have the ability. You can be better than you are. Better. Stronger. Faster. You just need to stay on course.

*Betsy looks at Muse with wide, round eyes* Yeah?

*Muse nods* Yeah. Now, let’s get back to work and figure out what’s next.


To be continued…

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