The Madness of Ambition

Evening, all. Always a delight to sit down and share my thoughts with you. Some of you might have noticed something of a shift in tone on the blog lately, and to you I say: very perceptive! This site has been witness to several transformations in both tone and purpose over the 18 or so months that it’s existed, and I expect it will see a few more before its day is done.

See, the thing is, I was having trouble motivating myself to write here. Kind of funny when you consider that I’ve posted something like 25 posts in the last three weeks. I kept pushing myself to get those posts done and make sure you guys had something to read, but I had failed to account for something: a blog is essentially a form of dialogue, and in the rush of trying to bring a book to market and finishing a short story I had gotten mentally exhausted and put my emotional walls up. The site had become something of a monologue, rather than looking to you for inspiration and ideas.

In the process, I also erected a wall between Jonathan the person and Jonathan D Allen the author. This is unfortunate, as one of the main benefits of being an indie author is being able to present yourself as you are to the readers, without a middle man or a false layer of formality separating audience and creator. It’s something that I’ve valued in the past and something that needs to be resurrected on this site.

So here I am at the very beginning of the Room 3 release experience and I find myself…well, scared is not the right word. Frustrated might be a better word for it. The best metaphor I can think of for how I feel right now relates to my weight loss situation. Probably not a surprise to you, but I’ve been overweight pretty much all my life, to varying degrees (believe it or not I was an athlete once upon a time). Now, it turns out that my weight issue is likely related to my celiac disease, but much of my life has been defined by my battles with dieting and exercise.

One of the biggest things that has sabotaged my previous efforts has been a desire to do it all at once. For example, back in 2005-2007 I lost about 100 pounds, and by the end of that cycle I was working out twice a day and food monitoring had become something of an obsession. I had to get the weihgt off now or all would be lost. Now, we can debate methods all day (and my fault there was eating for weight loss and not good health), but I think we can agree that such an approach is destined for failure. Success is really only achieved through a slow, steady accumulation of good decisions.

That’s where I am with Room 3 and my career in general. I absolutely see progress from where I was when Corridors launched, but that self-sabotaging voice in my head insists that success has to come now or it will never come at all. This leads to me pursuing any little lead to its ridiculous end, hoping that it will be the one domino that I push over, resulting in an avalanche that ends with Best-Selling Author.

You can drive yourself crazy thinking that way, and yet here I am, trying to declare my emancipation from it once again. Ambition can be a good thing, but it can also drive you downright mad. Here’s to hoping I can balance it moving forward.

Speaking of ambition, the current promotion on Room 3 only has a little bit of time left. Someone is going to have a very easy time of winning an Amazon gift card if things don’t pick up!

I’m offering a special 2-for-1 deal and giveaway. Here’s how it works:

  1. Purchase Room 3 between now and Midnight on November 18th on any qualifying site. Really, I’m happy with anything, even through this site.
  2. Send me an email at with the receipt and/or screenshot of the receipt.
  3. Indicate your preferred eBook format and preferred eBook (The Corridors of the Dead, The Kayson Cycle, or The Station).
  4. I’ll send you a copy of that eBook for free! I’ll also give you two entries into a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card. Pretty straightforward, right?
Now, I know – I’m not just using the giveaway as a tool to puff up my sales. Since memory is so important in Room 3, all you need to do to gain one entry is comment on this post and share one of your favorite memories. That’s it! I look forward to seeing what you have to share.

Now, where do you get it? Why, I’m glad you asked…

  • Smashwords is my current favored e-store for purchase, just because you can get it in so many formats with such little fuss. I’m offering a 10% off discount if you purchase it through Smashwords, in fact; use PL77Y as your coupon code at checkout and you can knock a little off of the price.
  • I’m sure many of you are looking for the Kindle version, and you find it at Amazon. Go go go!!
  • Barnes and Noble also offers the print edition and the Nook version, if that’s your cup of tea. I can’t offer you a discount there, but you’re welcome to check it out.
  • You can also purchase signed and unsigned print editions through my site.
  • The print edition is also available on Amazon and Createspace.


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  1. You are a great writer and I know great things are going to happen. These things take time. Most overnight successes are kind of crappy anyway – Twilight, anyone? 🙂

  2. Hey, long time no speak :). I take it you gave up on KDP Select (or were you ever enrolled)? That’s a whole weird animal, isn’t it?
    And I sympathize with your weight struggles, I battle that myself *arggg!*
    Here’s a memory that comes to mind with the holidays around the corner – I remember baking cookies with my grandmother at my mom’s house. Now this grandmother could be a bit crotchety at times, but this particular occasion, she was fun, laughing and goofing around as we baked. That memory has stuck with me for all these years.
    Good luck with your new book – I’m checking it out.

    • Hi Renee!
      Yeah, I realized that I wasn’t satisfied with the KDP Select experience. For whatever reason, it wasn’t working out – I gave out lots of copies of my work but it never really went anywhere with follow-on sales. In the meantime I find myself increasingly dissatisfied with Amazon’s attitude toward authors, so I’m trying an alternate path.

      Thanks! That’s a great memory 🙂

  3. As always, you’re preachin’ to the choir, brother. I can relate on most levels here. Trying to give up control or worrying reminds me of my single days when I would “not be looking for someone to date.” Because, you know, it happens when you’re not trying, right?

    Oh, and my new favorite memory is sharing the first Halloween with my toddler daughter, who just this year understood that it’s a holiday (or at least something called Halloween). We didn’t get a chance to dress up or go trick-or-treating, but we watched “scary shows” all day, wrapping up with Charlie Brown. Good fun.

    God speed with Room 3.

    Paul D. Dail

  4. It’s a constant battle, isn’t it? It’s hard to know what to do about it. You have to do some kind of advertising for anyone to hear about your work, but what kind of advertising? How much? And once you go down the promotion road, and still your numbers are low, then it’s easy to spiral into the dark hole that is the ambition room.

  5. Jonathan,
    It’s really interesting that you see the connection so clearly between your weight challenges and your author challenges. I think you’re right on the money to connect the two.

    I see life as a journey of learning our lessons, and all the push push push (been there, done that!) in the universe won’t get us anywhere if we don’t learn what we are supposed to learn along the way. Creativity is a great learning playground, and I’m right there with you working on patience!
    Big hug,

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