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TBD
by TBD

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Kindle Edition published 2016-01-12
Bestseller ranking: 757432

Product Description
With the odd disappearance of her parents, Gussie Gibson has lived her entire life with her granny on a peaceful pecan orchard, owned by the meanest man in all of Georgia—Mr. J.P. Combs. Granny teaches Gussie many valuable life lessons as a black woman growing up in the still-segregated south. Mr. Combs is an evil underhanded banker who takes liberties beyond his privilege. When Granny dies, Combs informs Gussie she owes him back rent—but he wants much more than money for payment—and more than Gussie can live with.
After defending herself against his sexual advances, Gussie flees to escape certain vigilante justice when she meets a charming, handsome stranger, Sam Johnson, who is just returning from World War II.
Gussie and Sam’s friendship is short-lived when Mr. Combs hunts her down and drags her back to Green Ridge, driven by his craving for revenge and a grudge too deep to comprehend. Gussie fights to return to Sam and his lo...

Author Topic: Looking for some encouragement...Update!  (Read 12508 times)  

Offline bellaandre

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Annie,

First (((hugs))) and congrats on having the fire in your belly to get things cooking again in 2017 and beyond! I haven't post on Kboards much during the past few years, but wanted to chime in on your post.

Two things that hopefully will help you -- that have always helped me.

1. Fulfilling the promise to your reader.

This is the #1 most important thing I do, all day every day, as a writer--and also the "brand manager" :) of my "Bella Andre" brand. I am very clear about what my promise is to my readers (emotional contemporary romances with deep family bonds at the heart--even my Maverick Billionaires while not technically related by blood are a close-knit family), and after 50+ books, when I'm writing/editing I know when the promise is there and and when it isn't and needs to be rewritten. This promise is why I didn't link my Bella Andre (books that have sex) name to my Lucy Kevin ("sweet" books with no sex) name for so many years -- because I didn't want to take the risk of breaking my promise to my readers if the sex/no sex part was a deal-breaker. However, once I knew for certain that the sex/no sex wasn't a deal breaker for my readers, and also that the bulk of them weren't surprised when they learned that Bella Andre and Lucy Kevin are the same person, because they told me those were two of their favorite authors, I decided to link the names together publicly. But, again, it took me years of listening to my readers and getting to know them really well to make absolutely sure that wouldn't break my promise to them.

2. Finding the intersection between (a) what you most love to write / what is easiest for you to write (b) what my readers (and/or the readers I really want to read my books) most want to read (c) what will sell the most copies.

In the past 14 years of writing full time (the first 7 years were with NY publishers), I've written some "easy" books (although it would be nice if they were all really, really easy!!!) and also books that hurt my brain so much that in one specific case I threw the entire book away 3 times before finally getting it (mostly) right with the 4th. That was 1600 pages boiled down to 400. Not interested in doing that ever again! 

It was a huge epiphany for me about 9-10 years ago after that miserable experience that it isn't a cop out to write what comes easiest to you. On the contrary--I believe it's one of the smartest things you can do because you not only enjoy writing the books more, but the reader (at least in my experience) always enjoys reading the book way more too. Joy is always really easy to detect! This epiphany honestly changed the entire course of my career (along with the beginning of indie publishing).

So, based on those two things, some questions I would ask you are:
-- Do you find slow-burn romance easy to write?
-- Are slow-burn romances what romance readers are looking for? [Note: I want to highlight the fact that, like others have said in this thread, NA isn't really a growing market anymore. So if you're looking for the biggest possible future readership--which of course you are!--make sure to aim your slow-burn romances at a mainstream/general romance market vs. a younger audience.]
-- Is slow-burn romance a popular sub-genre?
-- What is your promise to the reader (aka core brand)?

And then I'd ask the same questions for legal thrillers, with the caveat that I'm guessing it's unlikely there would be any spillover/crossover between the slow-burn romances and the legal thrillers -- unless you made absolutely sure to include a really great slow-burn romance within each legal thriller.

Which, now that I'm thinking out loud, seems like what would actually make the most sense -- for slow-burn romance to be your core brand (aka your promise to the reader) whether there are thrills or not in the stories.

Hope that helps some!
Bella

Bella Andre | author website | facebook | twitter

Offline anniejocoby

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Every time you post, I feel like we are going through the same thing! I've had a big downturn in sales, released a series last year that didn't take off, my last Bookbub was meh... and have spent the whole day today questioning what I'm doing. From about halfway through last year things started going downhill. I thought it was a temporary thing but it seems not. One of the things I've found has knocked my income is that I'm not getting any kind of push at ibooks/apple. I'd never made big dollars on Amazon but previously made a decent amount on ibooks.



Good luck! I know it's tough. So tough. Hang in there. Maybe my insight, if it's accurate insight, can help. Stick with a brand - the sub genre that brought you success. That was my mistake - I stuck with the same genre, just went wildly off-course by putting out books in different subgenres. The big names can get away with this, but the smaller names, like myself, apparently cannot. NA, erotic romance, romantic suspense...I went in all different directions and it just didn't work.

As for iBooks, there used to be something on their page where you can let them know about new releases and ask them to promote these new releases. I can't find it now, though.

I'm pulling for you! We'll both get back on top. Persist!

Two dollars! Two dollars! I want my two dollars!!!
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Offline PeanutButterCracker

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You talk a lot about your books, but not a whole lot about your fans. I would start there.

If you want SALES: Write for your fans.
If you want HAPPINESS: Write for you and find new fans.

Some people get both of these things. Those people are very LUCKY. ;) This is just how it is. I have a ton of fans in the genre I write. So I write what they like. I'm lucky because my brand is also something I enjoy. Not really LOVE. But It's not making me unhappy to keep doing it. You gotta find that middle ground. I release a lot of very different STORIES in the same GENRE. So my fans all know what to expect and if I write something "weird" I always warn them. "Look, this might not be your thing. Know that going in." Then I go back to what they like and they're happy again. It's a give and take. But even my "weird" books are still the same KIND of story. Sexy and twisted. I don't go off and write clean romance or paranormal cozies. :)

Offline anniejocoby

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I can't help but think that you've diluted your brand so much that readers don't know what to expect anymore.

I would try to build a more solid brand by building on what you already have. Take what sells best (no matter how pathetically it sells compared to what it used to sell) and do some more of that. Make it slightly different but related and write three books. I would not start yet another subgenre before you've done that.

Then strongly build and reinforce the pillars of what you write. Angsty, non-sexy romance, legal thrillers, UF (or whatever you choose). Make sure people can see all three on your website even if you use three different pen names. Don't flip-flop about so much. If you've done best wide, don't dilute your stuff further by putting it into KU, or only do it for a complete new series for three months only.

Work like the blazes on your mailing list. Unfree your permafrees and put them up on Instafreebie instead in return for people's email addresses. Join the gazillion author cross-promos out there. Collect subscribers like crazy, market to them, and weed them out. Forget Facebook. It's too expensive, takes too much fiddling, and takes too much time away from writing.

You're brilliant, Patty. As usual. You're absolutely right - I diluted my brand. Worse yet, I quit delivering on my brand after I established it. And I was too dense to figure it out for years. For two years I've been spinning my wheels trying to force-feed my readers something that they don't want. It's back to basics.

And I love the other ideas that you threw out there. I've tried instaFreebie, but I'm not sure how to optimize it. I haven't gotten much action there just yet. Maybe I can find a thread on people who have made that work. And cross-promos...well, John Ellsworth featured me in his newsletter, and it's gone gangbusters today. I'd like to cross-promo, but I feel that I don't bring a lot to the table right now. But I'm definitely going to try to get involved more in that. And you're right - my brand is wide. I think I'll stay that way. KU tempts me but I've always been wide and I don't want to disappoint my readers by publishing books that they can't get.

Thanks Patty! Your advice is always golden!

Two dollars! Two dollars! I want my two dollars!!!
Annie Jocoby | ]Badge[/url] | Annie Jocoby website

Offline anniejocoby

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Hi Annie,
I hope that your sales pick up soon.
Have you considered sharing your knowledge and writing about how to write romance books. Or how to write [legal] thrillers?



You're sweet. I would feel like blind leading the blind. I did think about doing a book about self-publishing, though. Not necessarily a how-to, but more of a "I made a zillion mistakes, and here's what they are." A cautionary tale as it were. I might still do that one!

Two dollars! Two dollars! I want my two dollars!!!
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Offline anniejocoby

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Good luck, Annie!  There's lots of ups and downs in this business and many don't know what to do when they hit a down period. But it sounds like you've got a plan of action.  Picking a direction and fighting for it is the first step in climbing back up the mountain. Rooting for you all the way!

Thanks Rick! That means a lot!

Two dollars! Two dollars! I want my two dollars!!!
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Offline AlexaKang

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Hi Annie,

Thanks for sharing such a heartfelt post. It can't be easy to admit things going wrong. Thanks for sharing your experience and wisdom.

May I ask, what made you change direction after the first 2 series? Why diverge from writing angst clean romance to ramping up sex romance? Was it an effort to write to the market? Was it you wanting to do something different? It didn't sound like you enjoyed the later series so it not you had different interests, right?

I'm curious because I do want to expand the scope of the stories I write. But I write primarily because for myself and stories I want to tell, and not stories to please anyone, so whether I lose readers or not probably won't affect my writing very much.

Online Patty Jansen

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You're brilliant, Patty. As usual. You're absolutely right - I diluted my brand. Worse yet, I quit delivering on my brand after I established it. And I was too dense to figure it out for years. For two years I've been spinning my wheels trying to force-feed my readers something that they don't want. It's back to basics.

And I love the other ideas that you threw out there. I've tried instaFreebie, but I'm not sure how to optimize it. I haven't gotten much action there just yet. Maybe I can find a thread on people who have made that work. And cross-promos...well, John Ellsworth featured me in his newsletter, and it's gone gangbusters today. I'd like to cross-promo, but I feel that I don't bring a lot to the table right now. But I'm definitely going to try to get involved more in that. And you're right - my brand is wide. I think I'll stay that way. KU tempts me but I've always been wide and I don't want to disappoint my readers by publishing books that they can't get.

Thanks Patty! Your advice is always golden!

The cross-promotion groups are all on Facebook. I would post links if I knew which the romance ones were.

OK, I just looked and see that this group has a romance cross-promotion going: https://www.facebook.com/groups/instafreebiepromos/

I rescinded my permafrees when I realised that I was driving all the downloads. I figured I might as well get something in return.

This is what you get: an email address with the chance of turning someone into a reader of your books. You won't be successful with many of those people, but you just discard those after a while.

Offline anniejocoby

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Annie,

First (((hugs))) and congrats on having the fire in your belly to get things cooking again in 2017 and beyond! I haven't post on Kboards much during the past few years, but wanted to chime in on your post.

Two things that hopefully will help you -- that have always helped me.

1. Fulfilling the promise to your reader.

This is the #1 most important thing I do, all day every day, as a writer--and also the "brand manager" :) of my "Bella Andre" brand. I am very clear about what my promise is to my readers (emotional contemporary romances with deep family bonds at the heart--even my Maverick Billionaires while not technically related by blood are a close-knit family), and after 50+ books, when I'm writing/editing I know when the promise is there and and when it isn't and needs to be rewritten. This promise is why I didn't link my Bella Andre (books that have sex) name to my Lucy Kevin ("sweet" books with no sex) name for so many years -- because I didn't want to take the risk of breaking my promise to my readers if the sex/no sex part was a deal-breaker. However, once I knew for certain that the sex/no sex wasn't a deal breaker for my readers, and also that the bulk of them weren't surprised when they learned that Bella Andre and Lucy Kevin are the same person, because they told me those were two of their favorite authors, I decided to link the names together publicly. But, again, it took me years of listening to my readers and getting to know them really well to make absolutely sure that wouldn't break my promise to them.

2. Finding the intersection between (a) what you most love to write / what is easiest for you to write (b) what my readers (and/or the readers I really want to read my books) most want to read (c) what will sell the most copies.

In the past 14 years of writing full time (the first 7 years were with NY publishers), I've written some "easy" books (although it would be nice if they were all really, really easy!!!) and also books that hurt my brain so much that in one specific case I threw the entire book away 3 times before finally getting it (mostly) right with the 4th. That was 1600 pages boiled down to 400. Not interested in doing that ever again! 

It was a huge epiphany for me about 9-10 years ago after that miserable experience that it isn't a cop out to write what comes easiest to you. On the contrary--I believe it's one of the smartest things you can do because you not only enjoy writing the books more, but the reader (at least in my experience) always enjoys reading the book way more too. Joy is always really easy to detect! This epiphany honestly changed the entire course of my career (along with the beginning of indie publishing).

So, based on those two things, some questions I would ask you are:
-- Do you find slow-burn romance easy to write?
-- Are slow-burn romances what romance readers are looking for? [Note: I want to highlight the fact that, like others have said in this thread, NA isn't really a growing market anymore. So if you're looking for the biggest possible future readership--which of course you are!--make sure to aim your slow-burn romances at a mainstream/general romance market vs. a younger audience.]
-- Is slow-burn romance a popular sub-genre?
-- What is your promise to the reader (aka core brand)?

And then I'd ask the same questions for legal thrillers, with the caveat that I'm guessing it's unlikely there would be any spillover/crossover between the slow-burn romances and the legal thrillers -- unless you made absolutely sure to include a really great slow-burn romance within each legal thriller.

Which, now that I'm thinking out loud, seems like what would actually make the most sense -- for slow-burn romance to be your core brand (aka your promise to the reader) whether there are thrills or not in the stories.

Hope that helps some!
Bella


Wow, Bella, I'm honored you wrote on my post! You're one of my idols! And such amazing advice, as usual. I think that you've confirmed my suspicions - that I made a promise to my readers and I went back on that promise. I didn't know that I went back on my promise, but I did. And it all makes sense to me now. It's funny, when I wrote this post, it was just a hunch that I was spinning my wheels because I diluted my brand. Now I'm starting to recognize that I was right, and that's liberating. That you wrote in and confirmed that is just a cherry on the sundae. Thanks so much!!!!

I don't think I'll get much, if any, crossover to my legal thrillers from my romance, so I'm going to have to figure out how to launch it.

Thanks again for taking time out of your crazy schedule to help out a prawn like me!

Two dollars! Two dollars! I want my two dollars!!!
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Offline anniejocoby

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Hi Annie,

Thanks for sharing such a heartfelt post. It can't be easy to admit things going wrong. Thanks for sharing your experience and wisdom.

May I ask, what made you change direction after the first 2 series? Why diverge from writing angst clean romance to ramping up sex romance? Was it an effort to write to the market? Was it you wanting to do something different? It didn't sound like you enjoyed the later series so it not you had different interests, right?

I'm curious because I do want to expand the scope of the stories I write. But I write primarily because for myself and stories I want to tell, and not stories to please anyone, so whether I lose readers or not probably won't affect my writing very much.

Yeah, I started to doubt myself. And I wanted to write to market, so I wanted to get in on the E-Rom action. Big mistake. I didn't enjoy writing it because I don't really enjoy writing about sex nearly as much as I like writing about emotions and story elements. As for Temptations - I don't know what I was thinking there. That's a book that doesn't know what it wants to be when it grows up. Murder mystery or erotic romance? Either way, my fans didn't want to touch it. Lesson learned! :)

Two dollars! Two dollars! I want my two dollars!!!
Annie Jocoby | ]Badge[/url] | Annie Jocoby website

Offline anniejocoby

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You talk a lot about your books, but not a whole lot about your fans. I would start there.

If you want SALES: Write for your fans.
If you want HAPPINESS: Write for you and find new fans.

Some people get both of these things. Those people are very LUCKY. ;) This is just how it is. I have a ton of fans in the genre I write. So I write what they like. I'm lucky because my brand is also something I enjoy. Not really LOVE. But It's not making me unhappy to keep doing it. You gotta find that middle ground. I release a lot of very different STORIES in the same GENRE. So my fans all know what to expect and if I write something "weird" I always warn them. "Look, this might not be your thing. Know that going in." Then I go back to what they like and they're happy again. It's a give and take. But even my "weird" books are still the same KIND of story. Sexy and twisted. I don't go off and write clean romance or paranormal cozies. :)


Thanks! That's what I'm going to start doing - write for my fans, the ones that brought me to where I was before. :) They're the only thing that matters!

Two dollars! Two dollars! I want my two dollars!!!
Annie Jocoby | ]Badge[/url] | Annie Jocoby website

Offline anniejocoby

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The cross-promotion groups are all on Facebook. I would post links if I knew which the romance ones were.

OK, I just looked and see that this group has a romance cross-promotion going: https://www.facebook.com/groups/instafreebiepromos/

I rescinded my permafrees when I realised that I was driving all the downloads. I figured I might as well get something in return.

This is what you get: an email address with the chance of turning someone into a reader of your books. You won't be successful with many of those people, but you just discard those after a while.

Awesome! Thanks Patty! You're always so helpful!!!!

Two dollars! Two dollars! I want my two dollars!!!
Annie Jocoby | ]Badge[/url] | Annie Jocoby website

Offline Jenny Schwartz

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Annie - huge hugs for such a painfully honest post - and extra hugs for everyone contributing such good advice. I hope your legal thrillers kickstart both sales and your joy in writing.

Going back to "promise to your readers" is something I needed to hear, again, I think.

Basically, I'm posting good luck! and I think you have something better than luck: a solid plan.

Jenny Schwartz | Website | Twitter | Facebook

Offline anniejocoby

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Annie - huge hugs for such a painfully honest post - and extra hugs for everyone contributing such good advice. I hope your legal thrillers kickstart both sales and your joy in writing.

Going back to "promise to your readers" is something I needed to hear, again, I think.

Basically, I'm posting good luck! and I think you have something better than luck: a solid plan.

Thanks Jenny!!!!

Two dollars! Two dollars! I want my two dollars!!!
Annie Jocoby | ]Badge[/url] | Annie Jocoby website

Offline BellaJames

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I think Bella Andre and Peanutbuttercracker have hit a nail on the head. What do your readers want and are you keeping your promise to them.

There are bestselling romance authors that stand out because they clearly give readers what they expect.

Colleen Hoover is going to give her readers a thought provoking romance and usually a bit of a tear jerker.

Alexa Riley is going to give her readers a quick insta love story, usually with an over the top alpha male and some steamy sex scenes. Even with her novel, she kept to her brand/formula.


I think it's ok to write what you want to write but are you giving your readers what they want too. (The readers who signed up to your mailing list, followed you on twitter or facebook, the ones who pre-ordered your previous books, the ones who sent you an email to say they loved 'this book' you wrote)

Slow burn romance is selling right now. Here's a list of slow burn romances:http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/97747.Slow_burn_romance.
You could always do friends to lovers, roommates or the guy & girl who live next door to each other.

 I don't think adding or reducing the sex scenes has much to do with sales. Romance readers want the feels, they want emotion.

Some want hot steamy dirty sex and some want fade to black. There is an audience for both.

I think you have to look at what is going on in romance right now today and find a comfortable place for you. You will find readers no matter if you write angsty steamy novels or you write sweeping slow burn romances.

Write a few books in one sub-genre and build a brand. Be one of the top go to authors for family sagas or slow burn romances for the next couple years.  Or the go to author for legal thrillers set in the deep south etc.....



« Last Edit: March 06, 2017, 03:55:03 PM by BellaJames »

Offline anniejocoby

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I think Bella Andre and Peanutbuttercracker have hit a nail on the head. What do your readers want and are you keeping your promise to them.

There are bestselling romance authors that stand out because they clearly give readers what they expect.

Colleen Hoover is going to give her readers a thought provoking romance and usually a bit of a tear jerker.

Alexa Riley is going to give her readers a quick insta love story, usually with an over the top alpha male and some steamy sex scenes. Even with her novel, she kept to her brand/formula.


I think it's ok to write what you want to write but are you giving your readers what they want too. (The readers who signed up to your mailing list, followed you on twitter or facebook, the ones who pre-ordered your previous books, the ones who sent you an email to say they loved 'this book' you wrote)

Slow burn romance is selling right now. Here's a list of slow burn romances:http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/97747.Slow_burn_romance.
You could always do friends to lovers, roommates or the guy & girl who live next door to each other.

 I don't think adding or reducing the sex scenes has much to do with sales. Romance readers want the feels, they want emotion.

Some want hot steamy dirty sex and some want fade to black. There is an audience for both.

I think you have to look at what is going on in romance right now today and find a comfortable place for you. You will find readers no matter if you write angsty steamy novels or you write sweeping slow burn romances.

Write a few books in one sub-genre and build a brand. Be one of the top go to authors for family sagas or slow burn romances for the next couple years.  Or the go to author for legal thrillers set in the deep south etc.....





Thanks Bella! I love that you're giving me credence for what I was thinking! I'm so happy that I took the chance to write this post. I have hope today for the first time in a long time - I (finally) figured out why I've been spinning my wheels! :)

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Offline Dax

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Hi Annie -

As a prawn, I wanted to thank you for your open and honest discussion here! You have been so generous, now and in the past. I've always admired your "Illusions" series covers, oh la la la.

You sound so excited about the legal thrillers. I can't wait to check them out.

I took a look through your Amazon Author Central page and wanted to ask - did you publish any books past Jan 2016 last year? I was just curious if you had been publishing on a regular basis last year and still saw crickets? Trying to study this as much as possible. I hope I'm not prying too much. Thank you again for your generosity :)

Offline anniejocoby

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Hi Annie -

As a prawn, I wanted to thank you for your open and honest discussion here! You have been so generous, now and in the past. I've always admired your "Illusions" series covers, oh la la la.

You sound so excited about the legal thrillers. I can't wait to check them out.

I took a look through your Amazon Author Central page and wanted to ask - did you publish any books past Jan 2016 last year? I was just curious if you had been publishing on a regular basis last year and still saw crickets? Trying to study this as much as possible. I hope I'm not prying too much. Thank you again for your generosity :)

I published last year under two different pen names. I published five books under the Annie name and three under two other pen names. 😊

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Offline katygirl

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I'm so glad you posted this Annie.  A couple of days ago I saw an old post from you and wondered where you were.  When I first found kboards, I looked for your posts and found them helpful and insightful.  I think it's important for people to see that when you have success and that success fades, that it's not over.  I had a small amount of success last year and it's gone now.  I made 14 cents yesterday.   :(  But I've been analyzing my mistakes and I think I know what they are and I'm going to try and turn things around.  Your post came at exactly the right time.  I really needed to see this.  I hope you'll post more often and let us know how things are going.  This indie publishing thing isn't for the faint of heart.

Offline WriterSongwriter

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What would be wisdom? To rewrite the series that didn't satisfy fan demands or to start with a new series altogether? Has anyone ties to rewrite a whole series? Did the fans buy into it then?

Offline anniejocoby

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I'm so glad you posted this Annie.  A couple of days ago I saw an old post from you and wondered where you were.  When I first found kboards, I looked for your posts and found them helpful and insightful.  I think it's important for people to see that when you have success and that success fades, that it's not over.  I had a small amount of success last year and it's gone now.  I made 14 cents yesterday.   :(  But I've been analyzing my mistakes and I think I know what they are and I'm going to try and turn things around.  Your post came at exactly the right time.  I really needed to see this.  I hope you'll post more often and let us know how things are going.  This indie publishing thing isn't for the faint of heart.

Good luck!

Two dollars! Two dollars! I want my two dollars!!!
Annie Jocoby | ]Badge[/url] | Annie Jocoby website

Will Edwards

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Some background - I first published in 2013. Made a bit of money. Then, in 2014, my revenues were $139,000. 2015, almost identical, around $136,000. 2016 - uh oh, down to $67,000. 2017 - don't ask. Let's just say I didn't clear $2,000 in revenue last month and leave it at that.

I think that I (tentatively) have figured it out. I think. I don't know, though. I'm really scared that I'm a has-been, although I'm quite sure that, compared to some of the writers on this board, I'm still considered a never-was.

I can feel the pain.

Something similar happened to me. I spent 11 years building my web business and was doing 5 figures annually, selling digital products including ebooks even before Kindle began. When Google changed its algos, my site lost 90% of its traffic and I lost 90% of my income. After that, I decided to start again, this time focussing on Amazon and Kindle and, at present, I am doing a lot worse than you.

For many people (including me) the idea of making something around $2K per month or a bit less would be something of a result. I have about 20 (roughly) books under 4 different pen names, with just one of them doing anything and the total, of all of that, is not as well as you are doing right now. As far as I am concerned you are not a has-been or a never-was ... you are a bean! A human bean.

For what it's worth, here are my own thoughts:

Circa 2013, were very good years for writers. There was much less competition and even a small amount of promotion was enough to get you noticed. Within your genre, it would have been easy to get on top 100 lists and also-boughts etc.

No genre is good or bad per se. If you research any genre, you will find there are winners and losers. It's true that some genres become hot and trending etc, but you can do very well (perhaps even better) within genres that don't, where you can be a big fish in a small sea.

There are other roads to the top of the mountain. By this, I mean that you don't need to do what everybody else is doing - I understand that this is not the essence of the received wisdom (and I am not saying there is anything wrong with it) but it is not the only way.

Here's wishing you the best of luck as you work out the way forward.

Will :)

Offline thesmallprint

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Somebody just posted an old TV advert on twitter here in the UK. It was from 1975 and it was a recruitment ad for the coal mining industry in Wales. Its tagline was: "People will aways need coal"

Oh yeah?

Come August I'll be 64 years old.  Here's the main lesson I've learned from life: When it comes to predicting markets, events in geopolitics, weather, economic conditions, election results, nobody knows anything.

Nobody knows anything.

An educated guess that proves wrong has no more merit for it being educated, although I will forecast one thing: the speed of change will increase, especially in our business. Markets will saturate in double-quick time. New marketing tactics will become blunt within months if not weeks. Current stalwarts like BookBub will one day - probably sooner than we think - go under.

To try to anticipate consumer behaviour, and constantly be determined to react to it, is the road to misery. Rich misery for some, for a while, no doubt, but misery all the same.

So, write what you enjoy writing and at a pace that makes you happy. If it sells it sells. If it doesn't, at least you enjoyed writing it and, if it's good, that ever-changing market will come all the way back round and discover you again. And when it turns up in your yard it'll find you sitting on a swing in the sunshine with a cold drink and a smile.  What it will find in many yards is a grave with a wooden cross marked "She wrote and marketed herself to death".

AnnieJo, I suspect that one of the toughest things you've done was hit publish when you finished your original post. You might have spent many sleepless nights worrying and condemning yourself, but coming here now took guts and heart and humility. You might not be earning as much as before, but the experience has done you no damage as a human being. You're a star.

The strength you had to write this will stand you in good stead. So will your experience. People sometimes talk of experience without, I think, realizing what is at the heart of it. Its value is much underrated. Experience comes to your rescue in the dead of night when you cannot write another word. When you are exhausted. When you are done and you know you are done. Finished. But the trick with experience is that it won't appear unbidden and rescue you. You must call on it. You must say to yourself, "I know I can do this because I have done it before. If I have done it before I can do it again. This is nothing new to me. This is not a challenge. I have done it. I passed the test a long time ago. I can do it."

Good luck AnnieJo.



Will Edwards

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But the trick with experience is that it won't appear unbidden and rescue you. You must call on it. You must say to yourself, "I know I can do this because I have done it before. If I have done it before I can do it again. This is nothing new to me. This is not a challenge. I have done it. I passed the test a long time ago. I can do it."

^ A lovely post and quite lyrical too :)

Offline This_Way_Down

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The fact is that we are entertainers. I know some people imagine themselves artists. But readers of genre fiction want to be entertained. So if they want a certain type of book from you, give it to them. Be entertaining. You just can't take your fans where you think they should go if they don't want to go there. I'm not saying abandon other types of stories. But I think the lesson you have learned is you had better dance with the one that brung ya...