We write a mediocre novel, give it to beta readers, focus groups, writing groups, and make it better. We take some writing courses, improve our skills, then write something else entirely different. We set our own deadlines. We break our own deadlines. We have to do all of our own publicity unless we pay a lot of money to hire someone.
And then we only sell 10 books in a month.
Let’s face it. Being an indie publisher is really really hard. It seems that every person and their dog, cat and fish are writing a novel these days. The reasons are that everyone thinks that their idea is so great that if they put it in front of a possible audience (or just uploaded it to Kindle) that it would be an instant best seller.
When this game began and we saw the rise of the self-published novel, many of the big name publishers began to close their doors because so many books were being downloaded online. Brick and mortar book stores had to change their approach to selling books or close. Along the wayside fell Borders and some others. But now there are a massive glut of novels out there and a great majority of them are horribly written or edited drivel.
There is a sea of self-published books out there. This sea is more like an ocean and that ocean covers the surface of about a billion worlds. When you publish your new tome, it barely makes a splash much less a ripple in this vast multi-world ocean.
So why not hang it up?
God knows I’ve thought about it.
I do a lot of things to try to get the word out about my books, to help them make a bigger splash. I do a writing podcast with my friend Ryan McKinley entitled Fanboys on Fiction. I write this blog. I have over 1300 Twitter followers. I tweet out tips on writing and publishing daily (and whatever articles I find fascinating). I engage when I can, but should probably do better at that but then there is time (I have a day job and four children). I’m on all the other social media hangouts and I try to stay active on them.
And for what?
I sold about 10 copies of my new novel since it released last month. Bummer, dude.
I plan to spend a little dough on advertising soon, but am not sure if that will make any splashes. I will spend the next few months re-evaluating my strategy of reaching more readers. Hopefully these plans will work.
However, I will not quit writing. I will keep at it. You may think that I’m nuts, but the reason I keep at it is because I enjoy writing and publishing books. I enjoy getting reviews on Amazon good or bad, and I enjoy seeing how I can improve my writing for future publications. I will continue on. I have a series to finish and that’s at least 5 more books. One of them has to click.
So I encourage you, dear writer, to keep working. Keep writing and publishing. You may not see the fruits of your labor this year or the next, but one day perhaps you can get a little bump in sales and that will make you happier. However, that is not the reason I am doing this.