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Author Topic: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move  (Read 57575 times)  

Offline jackiegp

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Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« on: May 02, 2014, 07:39:39 AM »
Hi everyone,

I'm feeling very disillusioned by the entire Self Pub Journey, and I'm looking for insight, support, commentary, discussion...anything really.

Ok...I'm going to lament. I have a good product (reviews show this, I'm not being vein) a great cover (again, reviews support this), my book has been edited, the blurb has received praise, I've messed with meta data up the wahzoo, changed my categories, fiddled with the price, READ every book put out there by EVERY successful self pubber, devoured all of J Penn's blogs, viewed her aids, listened to HOURS of podcasts, (hers and other), have a healthy twitter following and FB following, am very active on both, PAID for advertising (which yielded ZERO, don't do this), ran a successful countdown deal (in conjunction with reasonable advertising (do do this), ended up #1 in Steampunk (been there a few times) and #46 in YA SCI FI, THEN fell directly off within days, (had people download the book in that flurry only to return it the next day...sigh) have thrown successful FB parties, solicited and received reviews (despite being turned away by most over being SP), I've even broken into the big box stores  securing SHELF SPACE (on my own) and conducting successful signings (in store) selling 100's of books in person (which don't show on Amazon or anywhere else) and yes, I'm writing another book to feed the monster...and yet...my book has recently ground to a disturbing halt.

I don't get it. I seriously know what more to do. I'm soooooo disillusioned by stories of all these self pubbers who did ONE of something on the list of things I've done above and broke out, usually around the 3rd month mark and started selling gang busters (small but well at first then bigger, or some say 100's of copies daily/month). (To be clear, I don't expect to become an instant success, I just want to start steadily selling books with a goal to make enough to pay back what I put into creating it by the end of the year, and perhaps dinner with my freakin' supportive hubby...at this point.) Was it just the times? Was it because SP was relatively new? That the market wasn't swamp? That the rules of Amazon allowed them to gain notoriety over free sales rankings? Has it all changed now Amazon is preventing sp from doing this? Is it getting more impossible to get anywhere? Is anyone else experiencing this?


I don't know what to think anymore...
Thoughts?

Offline ER Pierce

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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2014, 07:46:36 AM »
Welcome to self-publishing, where nothing makes sense, and there are no absolutes. I'm sorry you're frustrated. I feel you.

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Offline Quiss

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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2014, 07:47:16 AM »
That all sounds rough.  :(

What is your baseline for success? With all that are you selling a book a day or are you expecting hundreds? You seem to follow all the recommended steps, but what are your expectations?
One thing that may well be holding you back is having only one title out. Don't give up!
Also, this is a generally friendly bunch. Put up your cover and blurb for some critical eyeballs.
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Offline Lisa Grace

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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2014, 07:48:52 AM »
Your expectations of what one book will do (without major publicity) is out of whack.

One book rarely just takes off. You have to write more. Hugh Howey had seven out before WOOL, all getting great reviews and not many sales. HM Ward had over ten out.... and the list goes on and on.
I'm working on my seventh release, just released number six on April 29th...

Over night success is rarely overnight. More like 5 - 6 years and at least ten books.
 
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Offline Ronny K

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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2014, 07:51:19 AM »
One thing that may well be holding you back is having only one title out. Don't give up!

This is what sprang to my mind, and it will be the most common advice you receive here (even though it's the most frustrating advice). Unless you've written that one in a million hit that catches on by whatever luck, the way to build a career and steady sales is with more books.

Offline Rick Gualtieri

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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2014, 07:57:39 AM »
Ok...I'm going to lament. I have a good product (reviews show this, I'm not being vein) a great cover (again, reviews support this), my book has been edited, the blurb has received praise

What others have said, but adding to ask if you can point us to your book?  All of the above is well and fine, but you have a lot of experience available on this board and in some cases what one thinks is an awesome blurb / cover / etc is actually in need of some tweaking.  Also, it helps with the context of what you're asking. :)


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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2014, 07:58:46 AM »
If it was easy - we'd all be doing it.

Some books take off, some genres need decent material desperately, so when you produce something half way decent it flies.

Sometimes, you take a while to break into the market because the reader needs time to get to know you. As is already said, one book, is probably not enough.

Sometimes it's your blurb, others its the cover. My gut reaction is the same as others - one book plus a conservative reader.

Keep at it. When it happens you still won't know what it was that shifted. If we knew - it would be patented, bottled and sold over the counter for an extortionate sum.

:)

Offline fallswriter

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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2014, 08:00:23 AM »
It sounds like you did your research, have been keeping up with the status of your book, and are trying to figure out the magic behind sales. That's a frustrating place to be. However, consider that you're in some very tough categories and sub-genres. Not only is the readership for those different than others, the readers of steampunk & sci-fi are harder to pin down what works and what doesn't. Then you add in YA, which is another hard genre to figure out what works and what doesn't. There are many good threads here that can help you figure out the best things you can do next.

One thing to remember is that this is a long game. Sounds like you've started building a very nice foundation for your work. Writing the next book is definitely the best step you can take. And then get another one out there. If you search through the KB threads, you'll see the same sentiment over and over - build your catalog. There are many threads here that would say that paid advertising will work better when you have follow-up pieces to encourage readers to join your "team" by reading the first book. Things you haven't mentioned - do you have a good platform for fans to find you and interact with you? A blog? Twitter? Google Plus? One of the perks of being an indie author is having a more direct relationship with the reader. Since your work is in the YA category, are you trying to get your book into schools & libraries? There are some good threads about how people have been forging their way into those spaces. But again, your best strategy will be to keep going
This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It's that easy, and that hard.~Neil Gaiman

Offline jackiegp

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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2014, 08:03:23 AM »
I think the point is being missed here. I am not expecting to be a break out success. I may not have written that one book in a million, but I am looking to generate steady sales. 5-10 books a day would be amazing at this point. More than a book a day would work...or a book a day would be amazing...
I guess I'm just tired of all the hype about selling 100's of books a day if you tick all the boxes mentioned above...I think things have changed drastically...and no one is adjusting the stories...

Offline EB

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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2014, 08:03:45 AM »
I have a good product (reviews show this, I'm not being vein) a great cover (again, reviews support this), my book has been edited, the blurb has received praise, I've messed with meta data up the wahzoo, changed my categories, fiddled with the price, READ every book put out there by EVERY successful self pubber, devoured all of J Penn's blogs, viewed her aids, listened to HOURS of podcasts, (hers and other), have a healthy twitter following and FB following, am very active on both, PAID for advertising (which yielded ZERO, don't do this), ran a successful countdown deal (in conjunction with reasonable advertising (do do this), ended up #1 in Steampunk (been there a few times) and #46 in YA SCI FI, THEN fell directly off within days, (had people download the book in that flurry only to return it the next day...sigh) have thrown successful FB parties, solicited and received reviews (despite being turned away by most over being SP), I've even broken into the big box stores  securing SHELF SPACE (on my own) and conducting successful signings (in store) selling 100's of books in person (which don't show on Amazon or anywhere else) and yes, I'm writing another book to feed the monster...and yet...my book has recently ground to a disturbing halt.


Who is J Penn?
Just curious. Maybe I'm missing something. :-[

Offline Rick Gualtieri

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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2014, 08:09:53 AM »
I think the point is being missed here. I am not expecting to be a break out success. I may not have written that one book in a million, but I am looking to generate steady sales. 5-10 books a day would be amazing at this point. More than a book a day would work...or a book a day would be amazing...
I guess I'm just tired of all the hype about selling 100's of books a day if you tick all the boxes mentioned above...I think things have changed drastically...and no one is adjusting the stories...

That's kind of the point a lot of folks here are trying to make.  One can do quite literally *everything* right and still not sell.  That's the risks in this business.  There's only opportunity, no guarantees.   There's definitely a right place / right time element to it all which no amount of planning will necessarily trigger.  Really the best thing one can do to hedge their bets is to keep writing, keep improving, and keep putting more books out there - and even then there is still a far greater than even chance of lightning not striking. 
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 08:15:23 AM by Rick Gualtieri »


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Offline Quiss

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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2014, 08:11:46 AM »
5-10 books a day would be amazing at this point. More than a book a day would work...or a book a day would be amazing...

5-10 books a day for a single title would be amazing to, I'm guessing, 80% of all indie publishers.
The trouble is that the outliers are the ones that receive the "overnight success" media exposure. After all, who cares about those who sell 20 books a month? Lots of those around. So, yes, the hype is over those success stories but they are NOT the norm.
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Offline Jana DeLeon

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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2014, 08:12:10 AM »
I guess I'm just tired of all the hype about selling 100's of books a day if you tick all the boxes mentioned above...I think things have changed drastically...and no one is adjusting the stories...
For 99.9% of authors, that only works if you have more product and are releasing at least quarterly. You're trying to launch a career off of one book. Hardly anyone has ever made that happen. No book, even a top five trade bestseller stays up forever. A lot of people don't even published until they have three books in a series. I'm not sure who you've been talking to that tells you one book will sell hundreds a day as the only offering, until the ends of time, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say they're probably wrong.
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Offline jackiegp

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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2014, 08:12:41 AM »
I'm sorry, I'm fairly new to the boards and I can't figure out how to reply to you individually, so I'll just do it here. Thank you all first, for the comments, in particular fallswriter...and yes, have gone to the schools but I live in Canada and they don't let you in here unless you are backed by Trad Pub (ONTARIO) they are leery of who meets students and their message and trust only the traditional stream. J Penn...is JoAnna Penn...quite the wealth of information...look her up...

Here is the link to my book and blurb...http://www.amazon.com/Lumire-Illumination-Paradox-Jacqueline-Garlick-ebook/dp/B00H9GXS1Q

Thanks again...

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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2014, 08:14:02 AM »
Having multiple books out is what made the biggest increase in sales for me. Once you have a second book you, you can play around with different promos, including free and may see an increase then. It's hard to get much going with just one book.

Offline jackiegp

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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2014, 08:16:15 AM »
If it was easy - we'd all be doing it.

Some books take off, some genres need decent material desperately, so when you produce something half way decent it flies.

Sometimes, you take a while to break into the market because the reader needs time to get to know you. As is already said, one book, is probably not enough.

Sometimes it's your blurb, others its the cover. My gut reaction is the same as others - one book plus a conservative reader.

Keep at it. When it happens you still won't know what it was that shifted. If we knew - it would be patented, bottled and sold over the counter for an extortionate sum.

:)
That's kind of the point a lot of folks here are trying to make.  One can do quite literally *everything* right and still not sell.  That's the risks in this business.  There's only opportunity, no guarantees.   There's definitely a right place / right time element to it all which no amount of planning will necessarily trigger.  Really the best thing one can do to hedge their bets is to keep writing, keep improving, and keep putting more books out there - and even then there is still a greater than even chance of lightning not striking. 

Thanks for this...really feeling like I'm missing something...not doing something right...losing my mind trying to keep up with the marketing...and feeling like I could be doing MORE, I guess...

Offline Quiss

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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2014, 08:16:41 AM »
Here is the link to my book and blurb...http://www.amazon.com/Lumiere-Illumination-Paradox-Jacqueline-Garlick-ebook/dp/B00H9GXS1Q

Thanks again...

Wow, you're right. Beautiful cover, decent blurb, excellent reviews.
I don't read YA, so I'm no help there.
All I can say is KEEP WRITING and don't look at the numbers.
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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2014, 08:17:46 AM »
Your expectations of what one book will do (without major publicity) is out of whack.

One book rarely just takes off. You have to write more. Hugh Howey had seven out before WOOL, all getting great reviews and not many sales. HM Ward had over ten out.... and the list goes on and on.
I'm working on my seventh release, just released number six on April 29th...

Over night success is rarely overnight. More like 5 - 6 years and at least ten books.

^^^^^THIS^^^^^

You wrote one book and you expect that to carry you.  It usually doesn't work that way.

Offline Carina Wilder

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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2014, 08:18:22 AM »
Quote
Welcome to self-publishing, where nothing makes sense, and there are no absolutes. I'm sorry you're frustrated. I feel you.

This is all true ^, as is the advice to write more books.

I was just thinking, because of another thread, of the number of times I've seen people write, "Why isn't my book selling?" And usually the answer is in the question---the singular 'book.' Your cover and reviews are great. Write more like that and you'll sell.

I remember an interview with Amanda Hocking where she said, "Who knows why people suddenly started buying my book?" She was very gracious about it, and attributed a lot to being in the right place at the right time. I think you'll find that with a lot of success stories, be they in writing or elsewhere.

Keep doing what you're doing, because it looks like you're doing everything right. :)

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Offline Rick Gualtieri

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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2014, 08:19:03 AM »
Here is the link to my book and blurb...http://www.amazon.com/Lumiere-Illumination-Paradox-Jacqueline-Garlick-ebook/dp/B00H9GXS1Q

Thanks, and I will concur with what you said, that is quite the awesome cover.  :)

However, I think the number 1 thing that is going to hold you back right now is that it's book 1 of a series and the only volume out right now.  In my case I didn't see an increase in sales until I had 3 books (in my series...5 overall) available - at that point you're kinda telling people you're here to stay and not going to disappear before the series is over.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 08:25:56 AM by Rick Gualtieri »


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Offline jackiegp

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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2014, 08:20:28 AM »
For 99.9% of authors, that only works if you have more product and are releasing at least quarterly. You're trying to launch a career off of one book. Hardly anyone has ever made that happen. No book, even a top five trade bestseller stays up forever. A lot of people don't even published until they have three books in a series. I'm not sure who you've been talking to that tells you one book will sell hundreds a day as the only offering, until the ends of time, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say they're probably wrong.
Truth. Truth. It is portrayed like it's the norm. I left Trad pub to do this and I'm now feeling the pull from friends to return. People saying what would it hurt to try to sell your next book trad way again? I'm torn thinking, well, it would mean it would sit on someone's desk for about six months, back and forth, agent to me, then editor to editor...when maybe it could be helping my self pub market to open up...I'm torn...
I guess I'm just to that point where I'm feeling lost at the moment...

Offline vrabinec

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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2014, 08:21:30 AM »
Try sacrificing a goat, and then writing another book.

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Offline jackiegp

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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2014, 08:22:46 AM »
Wow, you're right. Beautiful cover, decent blurb, excellent reviews.
I don't read YA, so I'm no help there.
All I can say is KEEP WRITING and don't look at the numbers.
Thanks... thanks so much... I'm just feeling lost. So this helps. I think I spent too much getting this off the ground, and well, I'm never going to make it back at this point...and funds are low...and I honestly can't spend the money needed to make the next cover...I may have to look for a bit of Kickstarter help...

Offline Mark E. Cooper

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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2014, 08:23:01 AM »
It took me 11 years and 7 books before I even started seeing real numbers, and by real I don't mean thousands a month, only hundreds. It was book 7, lucky number 7, that saw a change. Also, it was my second series, not my first that took off. I have 4 series, and only one "made it" the others provide a decent but low backlist income.

One book will not cut it.

Promoting one book, unless its to build a mailing list for later, is pretty much a waste of money. Free promos, fine, but your time will be better spent building a body of work.

EDIT: Being disillusioned is understandable, but a bit pointless. You would be no further ahead going the "other" route I assure you. What would you be doing while waiting for all those agents to send their form rejection letters? Writing another book correct? That's exactly what you should be doing. Writing more books and getting them out. Write Publish Repeat.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 08:24:52 AM by Mark E. Cooper »

Offline NRWick

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Re: Disillusioned by the whole Self Pub Move
« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2014, 08:23:20 AM »
I'm sorry, I'm fairly new to the boards and I can't figure out how to reply to you individually, so I'll just do it here. Thank you all first, for the comments, in particular fallswriter...and yes, have gone to the schools but I live in Canada and they don't let you in here unless you are backed by Trad Pub (ONTARIO) they are leery of who meets students and their message and trust only the traditional stream. J Penn...is JoAnna Penn...quite the wealth of information...look her up...

Here is the link to my book and blurb...http://www.amazon.com/Lumiere-Illumination-Paradox-Jacqueline-Garlick-ebook/dp/B00H9GXS1Q

Thanks again...

Jackie, the number 1 most important thing for selling YA as a self pubber is to have a series. I don't know if your book is set up to be a series or not, but if it isn't, find a way to organically make it a series and get the next 2-3 books out. Even if you can't find a way to turn it into a series, that's fine, but start writing a new series instead. YA and stand alone books from self-pubs are much much harder to sell a lot of. Like others have said here, you can't expect what you are describing to happen with an arsenal of one book.

(Also, gorgeous cover for sure!)
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