Last night I nerved myself to break down the doors and enter the tomb that is Diana's email.
Pretty much as chilling an experience as expected. The last time I checked that email was February 2011. And the time before that was September 2009.
There were letters from libraries, booksellers, readers...all unanswered, all ignored, all -- eventually -- forgotten.
Awful. Awful. An awful way to treat people who were kind enough to write me.
It brought back anxious-making memories of when I began to let my blog responsibilities slip. First my own blog, then Cozy Chicks, then even The Good Girls. I remember hearing fellow authors talk about joining Twitter and Facebook and Goodreads -- and I wanted to throw up. I quit my discussion lists, I went on hiatus at I Love a Mystery, I resigned from all my blogs. And finally I quit even checking my Diana email.
It was not a retreat, it was a rout. It was a matter of survival. I had stretched as far as I could stretch and something had to give. It turned out to be Diana Killian. It's not like I wanted things to go that way. I'd worked hard to build my Diana brand, and I was grateful for the success I'd had. But you can only stretch so far, and I opted for...Brand X. The brand that paid the bills. More importantly, the writing that inspired and excited and fulfilled me.
It was the right choice. No question.
Had I stayed on the Diana road, continued promoting, pushing...well, I see where the writers I started out with are now. I think it comes down to what you want from your writing career. Money and satisfaction in the work has always been paramount for me. Name recognition...not so much. In fact, that's alarming. Contrary to the writer temperament, I think.
I wonder if part of the gamble was my bitterness over the way things had gone with the Poetic Death series. It's such an old story in publishing now -- well, it was then too, but it was new to me. I do feel bad that I didn't lift a finger to promote the yoga series or the fourth Poetic Death when it came out from Perseverance Press. It wasn't a choice, though. There are only 24 hours in a day and I was working a minimum of 16 of them 365 days a year.
So now I've faced the ghosts and deleted most of them out. What can you really say after a year or three? It's a relief to have that over and done with. Bit by bit, I'm reclaiming Diana, but with it comes the attendant anxiety. Am I taking too much on? Even with my vastly reduced work schedule, is it going to be too difficult to juggle these disparate online worlds? If I'm going to end up dropping all the balls again, it would be better not to pick them up in the first place...