Day 135 . . .
. . . or something like that. I’m not keeping exact count anymore. Kind of like when you get a new car and you’re all like, hey don’t bring that bottled water in here, it could spill. And then a couple months later, you’re licking the chocolate from a candy bar wrapper before chunking it in the floorboard.
That’s what publishing has been like for me, anyway. I was manic at first. Someone I don’t know must buy it. I must get a hundred or so downloads a week for it to be even mildly successful. And I have to have at least 30 or 40 five star reviews. My e-book no longer has that new book smell, that 0 to 60 feel, that ego boosting kick from parking it in the driveway for the first time. (Confession: I’ve never bought a new car and probably never will. I have no pride in knowing I’m paying someone else a shitload of interest over a five year period just so I can stroke my fragile ego. Four years old with decent mileage for me.) I’m not saying Sorry, Charlie is a yard car just yet. I’m saying that reality is sinking in.
So what’s the status quo? It’s about to hit month 5, and I have sold, at the most, about 10 or so per month. During a KDP Select promotion, I gave away almost a thousand. I received two good reviews. This month, I sold nothing on Amazon.com and the only blokes who saved me from a literary skunk were the UK site. They bought one. Thanks blokes.
So I’m trailing off to nothingness. How do I handle this? What’s the plan of action? Do I go networking crazy or hatch some more marketing schemes for a 115 page novella?
No. I’m going to write. Write. Write. Write.
One thing I’ve learned about readers is that they feel more comfortable when a writer has a stash of books to choose from. It makes sense, psychologically. Here’s a guy with five or ten books behind him. He must be a writer for real. And if I like his works, there’s more to choose from. It’s a comfort level thing that doesn’t get much attention because I think it all happens in our subconscious in about a tenth of a millisecond. So, I need to put another out there. Together, the two books can support each other, an online symbiosis. Then a third, a fourth, and so on . . .
Another thing I’ve learned is that although self-publishing is fun and rewarding, as is with most DIY projects, it’s also very tough. Not the getting-the-book-out-there part, anybody can do that, and a lot of people are. It’s what comes next that’s hard. Getting seen. There’s only so many things you can do to get noticed in a flooded market. That’s when having the big guns are helpful. Publishers already have a set process, a network, and a tried and true workflow. I don’t. So one of the next few books I put out needs to be a book worthy of the big guns. The more I write, the better each one gets. At least, I hope so. And so furthers my chances of getting noticed.
And then there’s the books themselves. I don’t write life-changing works of art. Not yet, anyway. And I haven’t put in my 10,000 hours yet either. I believe that when I do, that when anybody does, they will reap the rewards. So my goal then, as it has always been, has remained virtually unchanged by all this.
Write a lot and get better with each iteration.