Well not many anyway. On my latest novel ‘Bleak – The story of a shape shifter’ I’ve spent some money on promotion but it is not even coming close to paying for itself. I know this is common for self-published authors and I’ve ready many times that it can take five, seven or ten books before you finally start to see a return.
Am I disheartened?
Yes, well a little anyway. I’m not expecting to have that best seller, but it would be nice to sell a few more to cover those costs and maybe show some profit. And it’s not all about the money. I enjoy my writing and as an author I want people to read and appreciate my work. Those that have read my books tell me they have enjoyed them, even that they couldn’t put them down. I have had some positive reviews. All that’s great and tells me that I have something even if I’m not the finished article (If you ever are?).
So why back to basics?
Because, although I think I’ve got a good product, so have many thousands of other self-published writers out there. Also, clearly, for whatever reason I am not capturing the attention of readers. Now I know that can be for a variety of reasons, such as marketing, advertising, covers, cover blurb, reviews etc. etc. However, I also have to be big enough to take a long hard look at the product I’m selling, my books. I need to make those as good as they can possibly be. And it’s no good blaming everything else if they’re not.
Well I have just completed the drafts of books two and three in the trilogy starting with my first book ‘Ancestral Dreams’ which was quite an undertaking. Also, I have always intended to go back and look again at the original book, just because it was the first one I published and I’ve learnt a lot since then. I’m also been working on another book and after about 35,000 words I’m starting to question it, in so much as I’m not sure where the plot is going, does it make sense etc. So put all that together with lack of sales etc. and yes I’m having doubts, which I know is not unusual for an author.
So what am I doing about it, what’s the plan?
I’ve seen the ads for a masterclass by a best-selling thriller writer and wondered for a while what it could do for me. I read the blurb and it sounded interesting, thoughts around plot, characters, hooking your readers and more. All topics that could help any of us. What persuaded me was an article (follow this link) by an author who obviously had the same doubts as me. So I have finally taken the plunge and signed up. I am also going to go away and read Sol Stein’s book ‘Solutions for Writers’ which is recommended by many. Perhaps, I’ve been a little afraid of taking this step for fear of finding out that I’m not as good as I hoped I was, that there are some fundamental flaws with my writing. But if there are I need to know that. And what have I got to lose? Other than that several hundreds of thousands position in the Amazon listings?
It’s back to those drafts, crafting that story. Follow the advice, plot, revise, rewrite. Even if it delays publication by another year. As I say above, I write because I enjoy writing. However, if I can sell a few more books then I’ll enjoy it all the more. And at least I’ll know I’m giving it my best shot.
So, I’ll keep you posted via this blog as to what I think, what conclusions I come to, what I’ll change etc. and ultimately if I sell any more books.
As always your thoughts and comments are welcome.