Between Heartbreak and Hope

The other day, I came across this series of tweets from author @veschwab.


For any of you unable to view the screenshots, it reads as follows:

3 years ago, THE ARCHIVED hit shelves.

2 years ago, my first publisher discontinued the series.

2 years ago, my career could have stalled.

2 years ago, I decided to keep going.

2 years ago, I decided to write through it.

By the time THE UNBOUND hit shelves, I’d been told it was over. Told the series wouldn’t finish. Told it was my fault.

And now we’re here together, lovelies. 16 books under contract. 9 on shelves. 7 earning royalties. Thank you for believing in me.

This is Victoria “V.E.” Schwab, guys. The author I discovered when the world could not shut up about her novel of superheroes sans heroes. The author who had me jumping out of bed and running to the door to see if the mailman brought my story of multiple Londons. The one who kept me up at all hours, engrossed in a tale of grief and guyliner. Pretty much the most popular / beloved / raved about author I follow on Twitter.

And this is her backstory.

Vicious Cards, All
To say nothing of my giddy state when these trading cards arrived in the mail.

Reading that was like a left hook to my emotions. I sat there, not quite in tears, my spirit spinning somewhere between heartbreak and hope.

This author life is hard. Not just the writing part, which is its own special breed of struggle, but what comes after:

The constant fight to be read.

To be reviewed.

To be seen at all in this cold and noisy world.

To make a living off of all your exhausting work.

To make any sales, period.

Anyone who tells you, “If you just write a good book, it will sell”? I’d love to live in the reality where that’s true, but tell you what: It ain’t here.

Victoria knows this. Victoria was dealt a blow that could have flattened her – or me – or any of us in such a devastating situation. But she didn’t let the hurt stop her. And look at her now.

Y’know what that says to me? Maybe this isn’t forever. Maybe this blue period I’m slogging through … these on-and-off feelings of anonymity and discouragement, anxiety and fear … maybe this is my “2 years ago”. Maybe I’m still waiting on my “Vicious” to explode and put me front and center on the reading community’s radar. Maybe my “A Darker Shade of Magic” is still out there, poised to become all the buzz.

If I just keep going.

If I just write through it.

We the-“E”-stands-for-“Elizabeth” fantasy authors can be tough to kill.

4 thoughts on “Between Heartbreak and Hope

  1. Sometimes I think one of the best things successful authors can do for aspiring authors/people in our shoes is to share these stories. The “my life is perfect” effect of social media is horrible everywhere, but it really gets tricky if that’s where you get your knowledge about your professional world.

    Rooting for you, btw. 🙂 …and for myself. We must root for ourselves, as you know. 😉

    • I’m beginning to think you may be right. I’ve gone for years striving to keep my cheerful face forward and my struggles to myself, but am now looking to strike a more healthful balance between the two, being more honest with myself and others about both the highs and lows. Here’s hoping it does someone’s heart good to hear. Rooting for both of us, too, Susan!

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