This can’t go on. Really, it can not go on.
You say this to yourself every time you flush the toilet in your bathroom and find yourself pulling the lid off the tank, pushing up your sleeve, and reaching in to adjust the stopper so the toilet won’t run. That stopper has failed to properly seat itself upon flushing for over a month now.
A month. Maybe two.
There’s no excuse for letting it go so long. There’s a plumbing supply store and 2 hardware stores around the corner from your apartment. You wouldn’t even have to cross the street to buy whatever you need to fix it. Of course, it offends you that you cannot figure out what’s causing the stopper to fall askew and let water leak into the bowl (it’s not a faulty chain or balloon, all you plumbing experts). You want to fix what you already have, not throw it out and replace it with a new mechanism. Yet when you’ve lifted the tank and fiddled with the various screws and joints, nothing pops out as being wrong. Perhaps fixing a running toilet requires more expertise than you possess. You need to accept this as fact and either buy some plumbing repair manuals and study up, or find a decent handyman and send him (or her) to the plumbing supply store around the corner.
Isn’t it ironic you have the same frustrations with your fiction career as with your toilet? Every day you say the same thing: this can’t go on, and yet it does. You let opportunities slide from the tank into bowl and slip down the drain, only occasionally trying a stop-gap measure in the form of a tweet or a blog post. In this case, you have all the parts you’re supposed to have: solid writing, a blog, a Twitter account, a Facebook author page, but these pieces don’t function properly because you don’t use them often enough to maintain the flow of readers.
You do like to complain about your lack of success. (You’re doing it right now.) Once when you were bemoaning your dismal sales, a writer friend asked, “what’s your marketing strategy?” That’s a laugh. Your strategy has been to run and execute whatever tactic somebody’s blog claimed as the key to success, but never have you sat down, determined your target audience, and developed a plan to reach those people.
I’m no marketing expert, you say. True, but you also have put no more effort into studying marketing than you have plumbing. I would gladly pay someone to do it for me, you say, but you haven’t invested any time into finding an expert. Admit it: you haven’t hired someone to market your work for the same reason you haven’t hired a handyman to replace the flushing mechanism in your toilet. While you’d love for someone else to just take care of it, you’re afraid whoever you hire will do a bad job and you’ll have wasted your money. Plus, you think you ought to be able to do it yourself. Look at all the people who aren’t as smart as you, and yet who successfully fix their own toilets and market their own books.
This can’t go on. But only you can fix the stopper and prevent more missed opportunities from disappearing down the drain. Stop complaining, start doing your homework, and figure out a plan. And for gosh sakes, get yourself over to the hardware store. Tomorrow, latest.
To read more of Amanda’s letters, click here!