We had great weather over the weekend. So much sun! Which led to all sorts of other things being done, and not much writing. Rest assured, I’ll be doing more of the latter soon enough. We may have experienced a milder than normal winter, but spring isn’t here. Yet.
When you’re a relatively new author (in my book, anyone without instant name recognition whose works have been out for under 5 years is a new author), sales get slow. More often than you want them to. And it can get depressing.
For all the bravado, authors are mostly really insecure about our work. Strange questions dot our minds when you don’t see your ranking going in the right direction, or you offer your title up for free and it gets almost no takers. Aren’t people interested? Is my writing that horrid? Should I rewrite the blurb? What am I not doing right?
The thing is, you’re probably not doing anything wrong.
Getting to the level of sales where you can contribute to the monthly bills in a significant way takes time. Lots and lots of time. It’s not going to happen in a single day, month, or year. For some authors, it never happens. Most of us, despite how good our books are, how enticing our blurbs are, how well done our covers are, will never be able to make a living off of our words. It’s a simple fact.
So, raise the expectations for your work but lower the ones for your sales. Concentrate not on how to spend your royalties or who to blame when the sales aren’t rolling in, but on improving your writing and promotion. Think long term in relation to 5 to 10 years down the road, not 5 to 10 weeks. Look for new, inventive ways to let people know you’re an author.
Here’s an example:
Later this month, on March 28th, I’m going to Emerald City Comicon with family. I don’t have the cash to set up as an artist and sell all weekend long, and I like to wander the con, so I had to rethink things. I’m going to be surrounded by 50-60k other lovers of pop culture/comics/fantasy/scifi. How can I get these people interested in my books?
I got a t-shirt and put “Published Author Cosplay” on it. We were going to take a backpack anyway (so much easier to stash stuff we want to come home with us!), so I’ll put in the few limited print copies I have in there before we leave. Along with postcards, presigned. I’ve been putting out information on the ECCC FB page that I’m wearing the shirt, will have books on me, etc.
Do I think I’ll come home without postcards or books? Nope. I don’t even think I’ll be approached once. But it’s better to be prepared than not have a thing to hand out.
I know I’m not nearly a household name among readers yet. I’m still fighting tooth and nail for each and every sale. But I’m never going to get sales to go up by sitting back and waiting passively. You have to keep writing, keep improving, and keep promoting.