How to drive a writer crazy

I know that I am not a well-known author. I am about like many of you who are writing in the indie-publishing field. My family know I write and a few friends. My family do not buy my books. I am too worldly for them.

I do some promotion on Goodreads and Twitter. Plus I have a Facebook author page. I also have a Goodreads author page. These are all ideas that I have picked up a long the way for “branding” and possibly “selling” books.

I have done the KDP select program and given away books. I used to see a small bump after giving away hundreds sometimes thousands of books. Unfortunately the KDP program doesn’t show a bump like it used to. When I look for indie published authors’ books, they are not in the top 100 Amazon books. Even though the indie published are selling more books on kindle, they are not showing it in the lists or numbers. I wonder why?

I published a novel Perchance to Dream, and two short stories on the usual channels the first quarter of this year. It has been an extreme uphill battle. I received two low stars on the short stories. One reviewer thought the story was fun, but too short and cost too much. It was a short story. I make sure that the description has short story in it.

The other reviewer left a rate without buying the story. The rater said that I should stand at corners and beg people to read my story. That review drove me crazy. I have now decided that reading reviews are extreme torture for the writer and shouldn’t be endured. Still I see a rate I want to read it.

So what is going on?

I think first off, there is a seasonal drop in book selling. There are a few months where books just don’t sell.

Second, it may have to do with the tax sticker shock this year and a drop in disposable income. Obama healthcare will come due next year, but the cost of healthcare (I should know because I deal with a chronic disease) is higher this year than the year before. It will get higher.

Third, I suspect the trad pubs have found a way to pressure Amazon into pushing their books above other books. I am seeing the edges of it right now. In 2011, it was much easier to sell a book than 2014. I don’t have proof, just what I see when I look at the top books in Amazon and talking to other indie-published writers who are trying to sell books too.

Since I have a couple of new books out, I am obsessively checking my numbers — another way that I drive myself crazy. I need to quit checking, and only check once a week or never. When I took some writing courses with Dean W. Smith, he warned about obsessively checking numbers. Books will sell or not. People will like them or not. Just write the next book and story.

So yea– I apologize if this sounds like a rant. I am just trying to organize in my mind why I am not selling and even why I am going nuts so I can make a course correction.

As for what I am writing, I am concentrating on a cozy mystery novella. I am trying a 30,000 word story of a real estate agent (woman) in Carson City. There won’t be any supernatural or paranormal elements in this story which will be a change for me.

So good Monday and hope you have a good selling week. Right now I am settling for a good writing week.

12 thoughts on “How to drive a writer crazy

    • Yea– very discouraging. I wish that the family and friends would buy my books. I have a large family and it would double my rating lol. So that accusation that writers get their family to write reviews? Doesn’t happen for me *sigh.

  1. Reviews are so subjective, not even worth our time to read. But yes, I check em out too. The worst thing is our numbers echo the doubts we have in our own minds. This has no basis on reality, but we have our doubts so that is what we see.

    Really the best we can do is keep writing, keep pushing through the wall. Eventually it will crumble before us and we can look back and say, ya, it wasn’t that tough after all.

  2. I admit, I got down in March and early April when sales tanked. They are slowly picking up again. I suspect between the last minute insurance surprises in March, taxes, and weather-related costs, people are watching their pennies this spring. And I admit it, add me to the list of people who check their stats too often. (I also track UPS packages too closely.)

    I got the “book is too choppy and lacks flow” review on a short story set. Labeled “short stories.” *shrug* At least he left a review and paid for the book. 🙂

    • Oh yea– at least he paid for the book. 🙂 I read your last short story (I need to write a review) and I didn’t think it was choppy. But, I also read all your other Cat Among Dragon books.

  3. Family readers can be a two-edged sword. My mother, an avid reader, read my second novel and commented “Well, it’s not as bad as some of the garbage that’s out there on the shelves.” Hope your writing week(s) will get better. With a novella, perhaps you could break it into sections and sell it to a magazine (Strand, etc.) as a three or four part sequel?

    • Thanks DJ Yea– I can see family as a sword 😉 I’ll see how it goes… I am at 9,000 words on the novella. My mother used to be an avid reader. Now she only reads approved church material. I find that sad.

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