In which I confess that I'm a bit of a dumb bunny sometimes
Every day I like to look at my Kindle statistics. They tell me how many of my books have sold that day on Amazon. They also tell me if any have been refunded (shock, horror.... why?). The numbers start on the first of the month and continue until the last day of the month until they restart from 0 at the beginning of the next month.
I usually look at the stats on my iPod, which has a Very Small Screen and it so happens that the size of the numbers and the different categories on the report (as above) are pretty much miniscule and thus marginally unreadable.
But I shouldn't give myself excuses.
After reasonably positive sales in March, I started watching the numbers again in April. But all of a sudden, I realised that for every sale I made, there was a refund.
That seems odd, I thought. Maybe they hate the book... maybe it wasn't what they were looking for. As the days went on, and the sales grew, so did the refunds, apparently. I'm being targeted by an evil refund scam, I thought. Also: Everyone Hates Me!
By the fourth day in, I was in a mess. Surely this can't be so, I thought. Surely not everyone hates my writing so much that they have to obtain refunds from Amazon just to teach me a lesson? Surely I wasn't a total failure as a writer.
Clearly, I persuaded myself, if people are just Refunding Willy-Nilly, I'll never make any money from my books, which would just prove that all my work has been for nothing, and that it's impossible to make a living, or even a partial living (which is all I've ever aimed for anyway... nothing flash) as an indie writer. Indeed, I continued, when the three year old goes to school, I'll just end up having to go work in a shop and sell shoes because it has all been fruitless and pointless and a Massive Waste of Time.
Oh, and I'm clearly a failure and the world will laugh at me when they realise that I've had to quit.
Eventually I began to think that the fault might be with Amazon. Perhaps there was a glitch with the file, something going wrong in the system. I wrote them an urgent and slightly terse email in which I urged them to look at the problem, fix it, and by the way, MAKE SURE I GET ALL MY MONEY PLEASE.
The poor, bemused Amazon help person got back to me in less than two hours. (Amazon, you have a fantastic help system, btw.) Um, there are no refunds. You've had X amount of sales in the US, and Y amount in the UK. But the 'number of refunds' column is right next to the 'net sales' column. Perhaps you're getting mixed up.
I looked at the stats again. Sure enough, John from Amazon was correct. There were no refunds. They were all sales. I hadn't lost any money. There were no glitches. There were also no people determined to ruin my writing career by blatantly and capriciously having their books refunded. And I was not a failure as a writer. In fact, it was almost the opposite. April sales thus far have been the strongest this year.
You know? I completely wasted a day being full of angst, misery, despair and depression simply because I believed something that wasn't true. I didn't check what I thought and I carried on, working myself up into a bigger and bigger frenzy.
When I finally had it pointed out to me that I was wrong (albeit very politely) the black mood just fell away. (Yes, okay, there was a medium-longish period of 'oh, my, I am a twit... how incredibly stupid' but by and large, I woke up the next morning pretty much A-OK.
I'd love to know how much energy I've wasted being miserable, insecure, tragic and hopeless in my life, because I've believed things that aren't true.
The one that immediately comes to mind is this: God is Angry With You. Which I certainly have believed at various points. Imagine if I'd knocked it on its head fair and square. Or had an email from heaven. Um, perhaps you're getting mixed up?
Perhaps also this one: Because your tummy is slightly flabby, you're a lazy person. Yeah. No. Definitely getting mixed up there.
I'm laughing at myself for being so stupid. And I"m amazed at how quickly my everything changed when I realised I'd made a stupid mistake and believed something that wasn't true. What about you? Do you believe things that aren't true? Would it change your life if you realised, um, I've gotten mixed up?