Wednesday, March 4, 2015

March 2015 IWSG - The Little Things Weigh A Lot

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

It's March! To me, the month of March has always been that month of transition. Where Old Man Winter might sucker punch us here in the Midwest one day, and then Spring tries to tease us with temps in the 50s the next. March is also the end of the first quarter, from a business standpoint, so it's a good time to reflect on how the firs 25% of 2015 has been shaping up.

Luckily, nothing catastrophic has happened to make me go into full-blown meltdown mode.

Thinking about the first quarter of 2015, I'm still bothered by the little things not going my way and filling me with doubt and insecurity. These little things do tend to add up.

* My sales continues to barely make a blip. I now have four books out. Two from my steampunk series, and another two from my teen paranormal/thriller series with Quixotic Publishing. Overall, sales have been almost non-existent in 2015

* My beta readers are dropping like flies. I was hoping to get feedback from all my betas by now, but I've only received one. Life happens, and I'm not sure if they rest are going to be able to help me with my third book.

* I have my first author event in a little over a month. This event was my very first show EVER last year, and it was a lot of fun. I learned a lot. My sales didn't cover my cost of driving to Indiana, my hotel room, or other expenses, but I needed that experience. But this year, I'm wondering if I'll experience dismal sales yet again.

* Where's my muse. Anybody seen her?  I haven't written anything new since January.


* Wizard World Comic Con is a huge event here in St. Louis. The cost of an author/artist table is $325. Yikes!!! A couple of authors said it's a good event, but it's a big gamble.

* My official author website has been up and running for about seven months. I've gotten good feedback from people who visited. Yet, I hardly get visitors that aren't from Russia trying to hack it. Thank you Google Analytics for letting me know that, by the way.

So yeah, these little things are like tiny needles poking me. Not enough to kill me, yet enough to draw blood. My first year as a full-fledged author was filled with so many highs and lows, and my second year hasn't started out with much of a bang.

It's been more of a whimper.

35 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'll go visit your site.
Are there other authors you could share a table with at the con?
Don't stress the sales. You never know when they will spark again.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Jay, most of the time events aren't about sales, but about networking and exposure. Just go into it with the attitude that this event will lead to something else.

Pat Dilloway said...

That always seems to be the problem with beta readers, which is why I don't have any. I hope you get some good sales going. Making the first book of my Chances Are series free helped to sell the other two books, so once the third is out maybe you can try that.

Melissa said...

Don't forget you can write those expenses off on your taxes. Just keep good records.

Hang in there. I know it's hard when you don't see much return for your efforts, but give it some time before you throw in the towel. ;)

IWSG #142 until Alex culls the list again.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Something I'm trying to do is ask myself more positive What if questions. Maybe try asking yourself "What if, at my next author event, my sales are really good? Or I meet some awesome new beta readers? Or fans?" Not to sound all Pollyanna, because it doesn't fix everything, but it does sort of help get me out of a funk and into a more open to possibilities place. :)

Pat Hatt said...

Oh sales tend to come and go, it takes a while to get any traction and even then it doesn't always last long lol

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Keep on writing. It was my 8th book that really started my sales taking off. The expense of going to events is a tricky thing. Is it worth it? I don't know.

Robin said...

I would offer to beta read for you, but I don't feel all that qualified in the steampunk genre. Does it matter? I know you sent me the first one a while ago, and I haven't had time to read it. (I didn't consider myself a beta reader... was I????) Anyway, seems like my non-beta reading has been more along the lines of books I think will inspire me to get over my own lack of writing hump, improve my writing (books on writing), etc. However, I'm willing to help since I fully understand the beta reader situation. I think you have my email. If you're interested send me something.

As for your site... 1) I can no longer follow non-blogger sites. I have too many blogs in my blogroll. The manage content widget seems to be permanently disabled, so I can't delete wordpress blogs (or blogspot blogs without the google connect follow button). It's annoying. 2) I think it's really important for your "author blog page" to offer content other than book covers and the like. Honestly, I think it should be more like THIS blog. So, I'm not sure why you went through all of that effort. Upshot: (Honestly) I don't have any interest in reading ANY author blog in which the only substance is stuff about their book(s). I didn't thoroughly look through your site so I have no idea how you're doing your posts, but if they are all about your books... I'd think about introducing content more like what you post here. You could even recycle some of your old blogs posts here, there.

Sharon Marie Himsl said...

Since my novel hasn't been published yet I find it interesting the advice others are giving. I went to your site and really liked it. The only thing I would do is to make sure the 'blog' has content (as Robin comments). Honestly, I hadn't thought about that. In fact I was considering a static page for my book, linking it to my main blog---which also needs a thorough update, as it is not strictly about writing. Much to do, much to think about. But the good news for you is you have the finished product, so huge applause for that!! Stay the course....you'll get there! _/)

cleemckenzie said...

Some writing years are better than others. Heck my writing plusses and minuses come within minutes of each other. Just hang in there. Keep writing.

Cherie Reich said...

Your site looks awesome! I know what you mean about sales. They're lower than last year. I can't remember who said it, but when you self-publish, you are like a publisher. Some books will do well. Others will just not sell. You have to have a lot to hope for the few that will sell. It's a bit depressing to think about, but it's true. There are authors who have a book/series that will sell like mad, but another book/series that barely gets a blip of love. The key is to keep publishing and find the book that does sell. And you never know when an older published book will catch on and find an audience either. :)

Kimberly said...

I think we're always going to have ups and downs in this business. :) We just have to keep our heads up and keep plugging away and remember why we love it so much and we'll get there.

I just saw an author that has a request for Beta Readers on her website (she lists what a beta is, what they do, and what type of beta's she's looking for (specific projects she's listed) and what type of feedback she's looking for), and a form to sign up if they want to be a beta reader for her - I thought this was a great idea and I'm considering doing the same thing. Maybe you can post something like that on your website too. :)

Stephanie Faris said...

I was disappointed with the sales at events but I found that it was a great way to get out and meet people and build awareness of your work. Does it pay off? I don't know...I think perhaps it does more for YOU than it does for your books. You get that boost you need that reminds you why you do this!

farawayeyes said...

I totally get it with the little things. That's so annoying. Hang in there, there seems to be a lull in the world going on right about now. I personally think that always happens the first quarter of the year.

M.R. R. said...

The official website does look good. Here's hoping things improve at least a little by 2016.

Jay Noel said...

Alex: I found another author to share the table with, and split that $325 cost!

Diane: I've always enjoyed every show. The people are amazing. But at the same time, I'd like to be able to cover at least some of the expenses.

Pat: I think I'm going to do that for sure. That's the plan!

Melissa: I am keeping good records this year, as I will probably spend more this year on business expenses.

Madeline: Good point. Just have to see it from a positive point of view.

Pat: Yup. That's probably why we're all a little crazy.

Jay Noel said...

Susan: You know, I've heard that the magic number was 8 from other authors too. What's up with that?

Robin: I don't remember if I sent you a copy or not! Lol. I guess you weren't an official beta. And my website has a lot of "extras." Fun content like maps and character descriptions.

Sharon: Right. I'm pretty happy about having actual books out there. Who cares if nobody is buying them!

Lee: I'm starting to see that now.

Cherie: Thanks for the feedback. And you have a good point there. A little sad, but true.

Kimberly: That's a great idea. I will have to do that too!

Stephanie: You're right. I always have a feeling of satisfaction after an event. That's until I add up my costs. But even then, I still feel pretty good.

faraway: Yeah, things are pretty sluggish. Maybe it's the weather here too.

MR R: Thanks so much!

authorcgcoppola.com said...

Overall you sound optimistic. Yeah, I don't even get sales, so I can definitely empathize with that. Re: your missing muse... I would do something that inspires you. Watch a favorite film, reread a favorite book... something that gets the juices flowing. Or just sit down and start a stream of consciousness. Characters have the funniest ways of popping up when you don't even realize it. Good luck to you!

Maurice Mitchell said...

That is harsh Jay, but cream always rises to the top even though it takes a while. Year 3 go!

Beth Ellyn Summer said...

ugh I hear you, this biz is just plain brutal at times! hang in there!

Mark Noce said...

It's definitely a challenge to keep writing and get people's interest, but that's part of the fun and challenge too. So long as you're still writing and still enjoying it, you can't go wrong:)

Sheena-kay Graham said...

If you want more sales I guess you are going to have to put your nose to the grindstone Jay. But always remember to stay positive and best of luck.

Feather Stone said...

All of us who write (well, most of us) have to come to grips with the fact that we are not going to be able to give up our day job. What is important to remember is that you are one of the rare authors who is published. You have a book out there. Do you know how many zillion writers wish they could say that? Congratulations. Blessings.

Milo James Fowler said...

Keep on keepin' on, Jay. Write the stories you were meant to write, come what may. But I'd be leery of shelling out that much for a table. Mainly because I'd rather be a hermit who writes in the woods (with WiFi, of course).

Loni Townsend said...

Sorry to hear it's been a rough time, Jay. I know that life is busy everywhere, and I know how nerve-wracking it is to not hear from beta readers. I had a couple disappear on me too. I hope your sales are more than a blip, and I hope your event uplifts your spirits. And I hope your muse returns soon!

cleemckenzie said...

I think we need to contact the Russian hackers with an offer. We let them practice hacking our sites. They buy our books. Seems fair.

Emily R. King said...

Russian black-hats? Crazy!

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