Wednesday, November 2, 2011

#ROW80 - Hi, My Name is FailAuthor

I'm in a bad mood today. This whole writing this can be rough on the self-confidence sometimes.  I've made a habit of trying to relay my sales data since I started.  I look at it as sort of a monthly report card for my "public" company.  (That isn't to say there's stock or anything, just that I'm out there for people to see).  A lot of it stems from wanting to commiserate with others, I guess.  We're all sort of in this boat together, and y'all may be able to learn from what I'm doing right/wrong (today is one of those days when it feels I'm all "wrong"). I know I'm certainly learning from you.

With that firmly ensconced in my mind, here's the skinny: I sold one book the entire month of October.  One.  Uno.  Eins.  (And I've exhausted my languages).  I feel like that's just awful.  Ironically (or not, I don't know), that one sale came through Smashwords through the iBookstore.  Didn't really expect to sell much there, but, woot, it's keeping me afloat.

I sold zero through Amazon.  Zero.  It's freaking Amazon.  I think they sell copies of Ode To Horse Manure each month.  (Seriously, I hope that's not a book).  Talk about a hit to the confidence.  What sort of shit am I shoveling?

This is where rational thought should intrude and assert itself.  I'm basically not promoting.  I'm trying hard to write more, because one book is really a pitiful offering.  No one reads/follows an author with one book.  Even if it was hitting huge, then I'd be the literary equivalent of Right Said Fred.  (I'm too sexy for my second book?)  That's not the kind of success I'm looking for.  It's a marathon, not a sprint.  [Insert other unhelpful platitudes here.]

I probably need to do things like tweak the cover and work on my description.  That bugs me though.  Then it feels like I'm trying to "pull one over" on people.  I don't want to be a Tupperware salesman.  I want my books to sell magically.  (Where did that rational thought go?)  Plus, doing these things takes away from my meager writing time.  This whole doing a 9-5 day job AND trying to successfully navigate the Wild West of indie publishing is freaking hard.  There's so much you could be doing, and so little time to do it.

I know, I know.  I'm just whining.  Better writers than me have struggled and surmounted far larger odds.  Many of you handle a whole bunch of stuff gracefully day in and day out.  I just wanted to bitch today.  Likely, we all have those days where we sit down with ourselves and think: "What we were thinking... we suck, Selves.  There are so many of them, and they're so much better than us.  And you know next to nobody in this big mixed up world.  Go back to your farm and milk cows.  The big city is no place for you."

Now, I know there will be people out there reading this and thinking: "Well no shit.  What did you think it would be easy?  Put on your big boy businessman pants.  Writing is about $$, not about <3."  It's true, this is a business.  There really aren't shortcuts, and it does take some luck no matter what you do.  Perseverance is the name of the game.  You have to be like Rocky and take a whole bunch of punches to tire the other guy out and then, maybe, you get yours.

I'm okay with that.  I knew what I was getting into when embarking on this whole journey.  I just wanted to rant.  Writing is cathartic.  It's who I am, it's what I'll keep doing even if no one pays me a dime to do it and everyone everywhere says I suck and pulps every hard drive that ever stored my ebook in order to print more copies of the hugely successful, aforementioned diatribe on equine dung.  (I realize you can't pulp hard drives to make print books.  That would be the ultimate slap in the eface, though, wouldn't it?)

Bah.  Okay.  That's it.  Sorry for the rant, but it's going to happen sometimes.  Like I said, I'm in a bad mood.  Hopefully you got a chuckle out of my misery.  That's okay, yuck it up.  I laugh at myself too.  If you can't laugh at yourself... and all that.  Laugh, get it out, move on., work harder, keep your eye on the goals:

  • Lesson Learned - Ode to Horse Manure is a cowboy poem.  Manly Poetry Man is a hilarious idea.  Kudos.  Also, a bag of manure exceeds my Amazon sales rank.  I knew it.  (Now, the comparison is unfair, I'm sure, because the manure market is less niche... or something.  Also, fortunately, B&N doesn't sell manure.)
  • WIP Pages - 7/6.  Can I finish this book already?  So. Many. Words.  I'm sure at least half of them are unnecessary.  (I'm FailAuthor today, remember?  Everything I touch is doomed to fail... want a courtesy read?)  
  • Blogging - 4/3 there and 3/3 here.  If consistency were book sales, I wouldn't be in this predicament.  Not sure what the conversion factor would be, though.  Oh, I knocked out the monthly personal post as well.  Great bit about how making a sandwich can be hard when you're depressed.
Some words happened:
  • Project Fiction: 2,611
  • Since last check in: 6,478
  • Grand Total for Round 4: 27,756
That is all.


KH LeMoyne said...

7/6? Okay, I'm laughing here - what it needs to be two hundred percent? And because I know exactly how you feel...and I'm a sympathetic now have one sale on kindle. Please do the happy dance or something. :-)

Writing is cathartic, yes. And promo and marketing are a pain! There, how's that for honesty?

Now go set up an author login for Kindleboards and then setup of a book profile page for your book -> how to is here(,40577.0.html). Also post your book release on the kindleboards under the Bazzar section. Nook has a forum to do this as well (nookforum - go figure). It may not garner many sales, but it gets you some visibility and you might get some interaction. Once you post, you can kept updating the post with new marketing, reviews, tidbits, whatever.

The book cover - I actually like it, but the whole thing is quite dark. The ebook could have the filter behind the book title and the author changed to a lighter color so the pretty kitty stands out more (small change - no big deal)

Matt said...

Aww, thank you so much! I hope you enjoy it. I honestly wasn't going for the pity-buy (though, tbh, I'll take what I can get XD)... it's just a zero is so depressing, you know? Like, 1 is fine because it means someone came across it and you're "getting somewhere." And I suppose I did get that ibookstore sale, but it actually happened the last day of September and didn't show up until the October report... lol

Great tip on the boards. That really is something I need to do, just haven't gotten around to it. Thanks for the linking pointing me to the proper place... half the battle is finding it!

Thanks again, and for the feedback on the cover. We'll see what we can do.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell said...

Now I feel really, really bad. I should really, really write the review. *hangs head in shame*

I do think you gave me the title for my next poem, though. :)

Seriously, you've done the right thing by ranting. This group is one of the best around for advice, because as you say, there are a bunch of folks trying to juggle this marketing/writing chainsaw.

DarkWyvern said...

Sometimes we all need a rant, and the more amusingly-worded they are, the better :D I might try to pick up a copy of your book closer to Christmas, when I (hopefully) am not shelling out for phsyio etc anymore, it looks like it would be a good read.

Matt said...

@EAM - Ha. Don't worry about it. I know at had at least one review go up and did a guest post and several other things that should have given me increased exposure and perhaps netted AT LEAST ONE sale. Point being, likely any and all reviews wouldn't have turned the sales gods away from their vendetta against me (or w/e happened).

I'll probably feel sheepish when it turns out that there were sales, they just like broke the system or something.

I debated about posting because I didn't want to be a whiny-Gus (or whomever is traditionally whiny), but the potential for advice, support, and commiseration outweighed any concerns about perception. I made the decision when embarking on this journey to be "me" and only me. I believe that there is a market for me, it's just not as easy to find as, say, a market for a writer that writes x or y popular thing.

Also, if it turns out I don't have the chops and I fall on my face... I will have fallen doing it my way, and there's something to be said for that.

@RJF - Yeah, I try to balance whining with some humor... because why not. Plus, anytime you can reference Right Said Fred is a bonus in my book.

If you do get around to it (and definitely no rush... it could be a year from now, when hopefully I'll have more that one book out anyway), I hope you enjoy it.


Leigh Ann said...

Okay Mr Whiner ;)just so you know, we gave your Uncle Ed (whom I've never seen read a book in the 30+ years I've known him) his copy of the book we bought for him (we were going to get it autographed before we gave it to him but they are leaving for Florida this week) and he read it in 2 days. He said he couldn't put it down. So there. Keep pluggin' away! You're a FAB author!

Matt said...

Ha. He's still probably flabbergasted that someone from his family can have that many words to say about one topic (that doesn't involve certain movements. Or baseball. Or golf). I get that from my mother's side, of course. ;-)

I'm sorry I haven't been around to sign it before they left. The football season has keep me firmly ensconced here at home, though we will be up for Thanksgiving.

Tia Bach said...

I appreciated your rant. We are all in the same boat. It's like parenting, I don't just want to hear how well-behaved everyone's kids are, because then I look at mine and wonder what the Hell went wrong.

We need to share, that's what a writing community is for (go ROW80!!). My sales are all over the place. Some days, RAH, some days, Blah!

Your total wordcount is great! Keep it up. And feel free to rant whenever you like. I'll just listen, learn what I can from it, and leave a supportive comment. No solutions. Not that I wouldn't share if I had them, heck I'd publish a book on them if I knew, but because I sit with you... sometimes baffled by things.

Matt said...

Thanks. Misery loves company, right :-).

It's crazy because, really, no one has answers in this industry... now more than ever. What will sell has always been a guess at best. There's a lot of luck involved.

The cool part is that at least I've shared my first story with ~50 other people (and growing), and I've gained experience that will make my writing and publishing better in the future. Before this whole ebook revolution, I would have just garnered up a host of rejections, maybe got better at queries. It's frustrating, but still a step in the right direction for writers in general.

Nadja Notariani said...

Hey Matt...I'm feeling your pain. I sold about 7 copies in October...Das ist nicht kiet! (Okay, I threw in a little yiddish to keep it exciting over here)
After my September kick off...I was quite disappointed. But - (there's always a but in these things,right?) you made all the right points! We each have only one book out there. That's nothing in this industry. Just keep writing - and I'll do the same. We'll get there. ...uuhhmmm, marathon, remember. Ha!

Besides, we're going to be doing some 'super fabulous' promotion through the 12 Days Of Christmas Reading Gift List!

I will be sending out an email to you about it all in a week or so...with all the details and such. It's shaping up nicely, and working with J.R. Pearse Nelson is a dream!

..Oh...I'm glad you so enjoyed my "Muse of the Accumulating Word Count" - although I had in mind am impish cherub-like naughty boy - and now I have a terrifying spidery claw wielding monster - so, thanks for that! Ha!

Take care, and excuse my 'tome' here...I just haven't talked to you in awhile! :)

Matt said...

Ha, romance vs fantasy? Cherub vs Spider.

Yes, I am excited about the holiday season. It's shaping up to be a big one. Should be a lot of new readers out there with new e-devices, which is always a plus.

I'll look forward to your email :-).

Post a Comment