Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December's IWSG

Oh yeah. I'm feeling insecure right now...

So, this is my last Insecure Writers Support Group post for 2014. I'm so glad I decided to join this gaggle of amazing and supportive writers. For a couple years, I shared in everyone's struggles and felt their pain. It's so much more cathartic to jump in and share my own insecurities.

This writing/publishing gig has made me manic. My highs are really high, and my lows are pretty darn low. And my mood about this first year seems to change as quickly as the forecast here in St. Louis.

As I wind down 2014, I'm left with that same tug-of-war of conflicted feelings. On the plus side, my paranormal YA thriller with Miranda Hardy broke into the Top 20 on Amazon's Best Sellers List thanks to a nice little promotion that gave us some sales. On the minus side, sales of Dragonfly Warrior have sputtered. Sales of its sequel, Shadow Warrior, have been pretty abysmal.

Here's what I've learned though fighting all of these insecurities:

1) I suck at marketing online. Despite my 9+ years as a blogger, I'm terrible at promoting myself on here.

2) I suck at being patient. I've only been at this for twelve months now. Dragonfly Warrior came out a week before Christmas last year, so I need to give it more time. Not so easy to do.

3) I suck at pulling myself out of my writing slump. I got burned out right in the middle of NaNoWriMo, and I'm still in that abyss. Nothing creative is coming out of my brain.

4) I am awesome at selling books at events. Seriously. Maybe it's because I'm a sales ninja in my day job, but no one will outsell me at an event. No one. I will toot my own horn here: I kick ass at selling when I'm face to face with readers.

5) I'll be okay. The crazy heights and terrible lows that come with living this life is enough to make me into a drinker. But in the end, I'll be alright.

Oh yeah, I'm still feeling insecure. But that's what happens when you take risks.


Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Well, I for one would probably stink at selling books at an actual event so kudos to you on that. :)

Hang in there on the rest - those highs and lows are part of being a writer. At least they are for me. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sales Ninja!
Sometimes it's all in the timing, or in the slow build, like with my books. Just keep after it.
Maybe the new IWSG book will give you some fresh marketing ideas.

Melissa said...

Want to know a secret? Blogging and tweeting are not what generated sales for me. It was Kindle book advertisers, and then, subsequently, the exposure from my rank on Amazon.

If you're great at event sales, then do more of that, but consider combining that with ads. ;)

Melissa said...

P.S. I did the high/low thing, too, at first. I've finally accepted that I need to get a backlist going before I get worried. Part of what helped was getting into a private FB group of authors who'd been around longer than I have. Hearing them discuss sales and such helped me put things into perspective.

IWSG #151 until I miss two posts or Alex culls the list again.

Jay Noel said...

Madeline: I think we all have to be a little insane to go on this crazy trip!

Alex: That's what I'm hoping for....I'm going to be bookmarking all the awesome tips from everybody.

Melissa: I'm starting to form an ad budget. Brinda Berry just let me in on how she did with Free Kindle Books & Tips. Going to try that one too. EReader News Today was pretty good for me too.

Loni Townsend said...

Yay for #4! At least you have some sales strength. I have zilch. :) I hope Dragonfly Warrior and Shadow Warrior pick up again!

M Pax said...

Climb out of the abyss. You're not alone. I need to hang out with you. I suck at selling in person. Many of us are moving to paid promo if that's any help.

Anonymous said...

I found out with my last book it was and still is hard to sell, but perhaps I chose the wrong time to have it published. Good luck with your writing.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I miss live book events. I used to do really well with book signings and loved talking to people in person. Probably why I still enjoy my work as a professional speaker.

Learn from what didn't work and try something new with the next book.

Birgit said...

I think you need to utilize your strengths and sell like you know you can. I see some people be able to produce so much results from blogging but i don;t have that skill either

Sarah Foster said...

I'm definitely with you on #3. Writing slumps sure are hard to get out of, but don't let it get your down. Just wait for the inspiration to strike again and don't let it slip away when it does.

Kimberly said...

I have lots of highs and lows too and I know I would not be good at selling in person - that takes serious skill! (remind me to book a table with you if we're ever at an event together) :)

Pat Hatt said...

I sure can take a looooog while, but once the build up is there it becomes easier.

Anonymous said...

Don't beat yourself over NaNo. I didn't make my 50k either this year but as long as we have more than we started with, we're winners. I love that you rock at live sales events! I've never tried anything like that before, so I couldn't tell you if I'd choke. :) Wishing you a wonderful holiday and thanks for participating. Eva, IWSG co-host

Cynthia said...

I think what you're experiencing is very normal. Most writers I know, including myself, have slumps. Sometimes when I write while feeling slumpy, I tell myself it's okay if I end up editing out what I'm writing, that what I'm producing doesn't have to be perfect. Sometimes we put a lot of our pressure on ourselves to have things come out a certain way, and it doesn't have to be like that.

Btw, I saw the Wheat Belly book at the library the other day, and I thought of you.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

It's great that you know your strength is face to face promotion over online. I'm the opposite! Sales are down right now everywhere as the competition with millions of ebooks heats up.

Christine Rains said...

Marketing is a tricky and difficult thing, but at least you know your strengths. Now if only you could connect with every reader face to face!

Cindy said...

Selling well at an event has got to be an advantage. I've never tried but already know I would be horrible at it. Believe

Tammy Theriault said...

the best part is admitting it, moving on, and doing your best. plus you have an amazing support system at home. she's kinda amazing!!!

Beth Ellyn Summer said...

Still waiting on that book deal but I DREAD the marketing stuff! I'm so shy!

Mr. Shife said...

Good perspective Jay, and I can totally relate. Being self-published and promoting yourself is a tough gig. Look forward to meeting up one day to discuss it all with you. Take care buddy.

the weirdgirl said...

Dude, I so hear you! I sputtered halfway through November. I've been so jammed up I haven't written even my blog in months. I even had a psychic tell me to get off my ass and start writing again! Seriously! I just turned off my syndication feed so I can try to start over. I should join IWSG because I could use the support. (We really should just email each other more often.)

But know this, my friend, you're still doing better than I am. :)

Jenna Howard said...

Sometimes to get out of a slump (and I have a lot) I give myself permission to write something that's total shit. At some point (usually a week into it) I'm all "Okay...I'm done" and I refocus on my wip. It's like I've kinda forgotten why I was writing in the first place and the crap writing is fun (though so bad) and it reminds me that I love writing. Write something so terrible it makes you cringe to admit you're writing it. Don't worry about genre or plotting or'll get tired of the crap soon enough to get back at Iron Warrior. Really.

Think I'm going to go indulge myself for a bit...

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