It’s been roughly three weeks since I’ve posted, and I’m sure many of you have wondered where I’ve been. Unless I’m mistaken, that’s the longest gap — by far — of me not posting in three years. (Even prior to that I’ve just mostly posted Twitter summaries or other things of late, where I haven’t put myself out there much.)
Partly, the lack of posting is a result of my new job and the transition of adjusting to it, but my long-time followers know I still managed to post regularly through the closing of my paper, so you true members of Mitchell’s Militia are far too keen to think it’s just me in a new job.
Partly, I’ve been super busy — Danah and I have finally gotten our company debt refinanced, and we’re still wrapping up loose ends from our company even nearly a year-plus after the fact — but my true friends on here know I’ve been busy and trying to over-achieve since the day I left for the Marines at 17.
So, what truly gives?
Well, what truly gives is I’m selling boatloads of books. And by boatloads, I mean more books than you’d probably believe. Most days, even I don’t believe it.
It began about three months ago and it’s only grown steadier and steadier, higher and higher.
And every day that it’s grown, it’s gotten a little scarier.
It’s ironic, for three years I’ve worked super hard to attract attention, gain followers, and try to earn some readers. And for much of that time, I was talking to the same crowd. In fact, there are still 20 or 30 of you that I feel like I know. That I’d love to meet some day.
And with the regulars, it was easy. You all knew me. If I got out of line, you knew deep down that I was a good guy, and you let it slide.
But as new followers have signed up and more and more “likes” have piled up on facebook from absolute, complete strangers, stage fright has seized me. It’s as if I walked around the corner with my guitar expecting to play a few songs for my friends, and instead of a few people in a cafe, there’s a stadium full of people. And media with cameras.
This sounds like an exaggeration, and in some ways it is, but in others it’s not. I’ve had a stunning, in-depth review from a nuclear physicist — Dr. Martin Fricke — who spent much of his career supporting the U.S. Intelligence Community and has even personally interacted with the Director of Central Intelligence. (Bio.)
I’ve had another reviewer say I’m “so much better than Stephen Hunter,” who’s one of my favorite authors.
I’ve had a former Marine Sniper review both books, and had another reviewer give a two-star review to “Mexican Heat” because it didn’t read as good as “Sold Out.” (I’m not linking to this last one, and guys, please don’t go commenting on any of these reviews. Even the tough ones have made my day that the reader took the time to leave a review; reviews such as those have saved all of us crucial time and money from products we wouldn’t have enjoyed.)
My only point in saying all this is that I suddenly find myself almost frozen. I haven’t been writing because I wonder how in the world I’ll top “Mexican Heat.”
I haven’t been blogging much of late because I have this new audience I don’t know, and I worry they’ll think what I post isn’t that relevant. More and more, I find myself thinking, “Now I know why mainline authors don’t blog. They’re not just talking with friends they’ve known for a long time.”
So, this is where I’ve been. I’ve been pinching myself, wondering if this is real. Wondering how my books made it in the Top 20 on Amazon (in their genre) without a dollar of marketing and no big-shot publishing firm behind me.
I’ve been almost praying it continues, because we need the money, while feeling guilty the sales are so good while my other author friends struggle.
And I’ve been worried I’ll somehow screw this up, or say something stupid, or write something that tanks.
That’s the truth, for my regulars who’ve been wondering. Thankfully, I know I can go to bed tonight feeling confident that no matter what, there’s about 20 or 30 of you who will stick around, even if the rest were to go away tomorrow.
And I’ll end with a pledge. From here on out, I’ll try to be the same ol’ Stan. I figure folks will either like me or they won’t. They’ll either stay or they’ll leave. But in the end, I can’t operate in fear. It kills in battle. It freezes you up in life.
So, expect more to come, and I’m hoping most of you stay. (Actually, I hope each of you stay. It’s taken way more than even just three years to get to this point.)
To my regulars, you true members of Mitchell’s Militia, many of whom have been here since way before it was cool, I owe you. I owe you big time, and I hope with every ounce of my being that I don’t forget you or take for granted what each of you has done to spread the word about my books.
You all were the ones who got this ball rolling, and I’ll be forever indebted to you.
Keep the faith,
Stan R. Mitchell
Oak Ridge, Tenn.
About me: I’m an action fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years in the newspaper business. Please consider subscribing to my blog — I mostly post about things that either motivate you, inspire you, or make you laugh.