Author Topic: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...  (Read 6639 times)  

Offline BestsellerDude

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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2018, 07:20:59 PM »
1) I don't write in standard, top-selling genres.
2) I don't push "product" out the door and onto Amazon like an assembly line.
3) I write in a couple different genres, and rotate among them.
4) Don't have a mailing list.
5) I don't spend a lot of money on marketing (dotted line to #1 and #3).
6) Other things I can't think of right now.


I see...


So do you really think that some genres help to sell books better? Is it much easier to have success in certain genres?


And does sticking to only one genre instead of bouncing around increase an author's chances of being a bestseller?

Offline BestsellerDude

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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2018, 07:22:40 PM »
Just wait until you see what I do with "cocky"!!   8)

You can do whatever you like with it now that she was told she CANNOT trademark that name lol...

Offline HSh

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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #27 on: June 05, 2018, 07:43:39 PM »
I write gay romance.

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Offline m123xyz

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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #28 on: June 05, 2018, 07:52:06 PM »
write too slow/don't write well enough to have single book be best seller aka girl on the train.
can't seem to get email list going. 4 books/shorts like 20 subscribers.

those are two biggies


Offline KGupton

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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #29 on: June 05, 2018, 08:18:38 PM »
Because I spend too much time behind the wheel of my Kenworth as I drive around the country doing my normal job instead of sitting in front of the computer getting down to it. Oh, I'd also have to write something more folks were into. Pseudo-medieval/quasi-steampunk vampire fantasy so far hasn't rocketed me into stardom. But, I like doing it so, I keep at it.

...also, my blurbs suck and I spend what could probably be my advertising budget on hamburgers.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2018, 08:22:01 PM by KGupton »
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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #30 on: June 05, 2018, 08:21:55 PM »

I see...


So do you really think that some genres help to sell books better? Is it much easier to have success in certain genres?


And does sticking to only one genre instead of bouncing around increase an author's chances of being a bestseller?

According to the RWA, Romance is 34% of the entire US fiction market, and other sources indicate that it earns about as much money as the next two genres combined. There's just more money available in Romance than any other genre.

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Online boba1823

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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #31 on: June 05, 2018, 08:23:13 PM »
Off the top of my head...
  • Kboards. The heartfelt debates about propper grammars!! and acceptable style guides keep me rapt and eat up most of my time.
  • Mark Dawson. Was gunna sign up for his course, but then my grilled cheese was almost ready and when I got back the course was all filled up. So now I have to wait until 2023 for the next opening. Argh!
  • Trademark squatters. Stupid trademark squatters. I was just about the release my six-volume series The Cocky Brothers Go to Hogwarts and Meet Harry Potter when I learned that a few obscure 'authors' - self-published, no doubt - had already used a few of the names I'd made up. I flew into a rage and promptly burned my manuscripts, which were of course my only copies since I write using an antique typewriter, like all serious authors.
  • Book stuffers. My latest tome on the theoretical implications of trans-spiritual experiences among the llamas of southern Appalachian farms hasn't been selling as well as I expected. No doubt this has to do with those wicked low-life book stuffers. If the simple minded readers browsing Amazon weren't distracted by the latest dreck about bejewelled Russians and the like, I feel wholly certain that they would be buying my clearly superior work.
  • Readers. Most of today's readers are effectively illiterate. And okay, fine, I get it, not everyone was able to go to Yale. So I'm told, anyway. I certainly don't know anyone like that. But can't the kids at Stanford and other lesser institutions stop playing beer pong for long enough to learn to read actual sentences, and not just off-color jokes coded in FORTRAN?
  • Bots. Everyone complains about bots, and botting, and robots takin' our jerbs. But when is the last time a robot stopped to read one of my books? These things must have atrocious taste in literature, otherwise I'd definitely be getting some bot reads at least.
  • Stupid literary trends. Everybody seems to be reading boring garbage like Psychological Thrillers and Romance. People just aren't willing to reach ever so slightly outside of their comfort zones to try something like, say, my book on cross-dressing zebras battling undead amoeba in space.
  • Traditional publishers. These rats. I can't even. I'd have a Bookbub feature every single week if the trad pub jerks didn't have all those incriminating pictures of the Bookbub staff.
  • Amazon. Oh, wow, can't believe I almost forgot the big one. Amazon must have like a billion customers. Is it really such a big deal to ask them to email my book out to several hundred million of them? They could even limit the follow-up emails, for those who don't purchase immediately, to three or four per week. I mean, hello Amazon, do you not want to make money?

Offline kw3000

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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #32 on: June 05, 2018, 08:27:52 PM »
Hmmm. Very interesting answers haha.

I am looking at your book covers and blurbs and they all look good! So I am kinda scratching my head as to why your books aren't selling more?

Hey, thanks, appreciate the compliment. Nice of you to say. :)

To answer your question: the reason my books don't sell is they're a bit on the short side (one is 50k words, one is 43k, and one is 34k) people prefer longer books.

Also, they're standalones (for now  ;)), and people prefer series.

AND, as I'd mentioned, I don't advertise, if nobody knows your book exists, they won't buy it. Thus far, I haven't advertised because the books I currently have available wouldn't respond to advertising...in my opinion.

I don't think I'd achieve much ROI if I were to advertise shorter books that are not in series, no matter how effective the writing, the packaging, etc. I could be wrong about that, but it's just my opinion.

Maybe in an alternate universe I'm making four or five figures a month because over in that reality I did engage with trying to get visible with what I currently have available. If that's the case I hope alternate me has used some of that money to take a trip to Iceland, because I've always wanted to go there. Then again, maybe alternate Iceland is overrun with hornets. I hate hornets. Hmm...maybe instead of trekking to hornet-infested alternate Iceland, I'll just wish for alternate me to treat his wife to a nice dinner now and then.  :)

Back on topic though, maybe once I got to Book 4 of a given series, THEN maybe spending on ads might be a worthwhile endeavor, but gotta actually produce 4 books in a series first before considering such a thing...see: original post regarding "Dude"-level of laziness. But, I'm working on being less of a lazy, procrastinating type of person/writer - so you never know, one day you may see my picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone, just like the song. Wish me luck!  8)

Ken Ward

Offline BestsellerDude

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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #33 on: June 05, 2018, 08:52:54 PM »
Hey, thanks, appreciate the compliment. Nice of you to say. :)

To answer your question: the reason my books don't sell is they're a bit on the short side (one is 50k words, one is 43k, and one is 34k) people prefer longer books.

Also, they're standalones (for now  ;)), and people prefer series.

AND, as I'd mentioned, I don't advertise, if nobody knows your book exists, they won't buy it. Thus far, I haven't advertised because the books I currently have available wouldn't respond to advertising...in my opinion.

I don't think I'd achieve much ROI if I were to advertise shorter books that are not in series, no matter how effective the writing, the packaging, etc. I could be wrong about that, but it's just my opinion.

Maybe in an alternate universe I'm making four or five figures a month because over in that reality I did engage with trying to get visible with what I currently have available. If that's the case I hope alternate me has used some of that money to take a trip to Iceland, because I've always wanted to go there. Then again, maybe alternate Iceland is overrun with hornets. I hate hornets. Hmm...maybe instead of trekking to hornet-infested alternate Iceland, I'll just wish for alternate me to treat his wife to a nice dinner now and then.  :)

Back on topic though, maybe once I got to Book 4 of a given series, THEN maybe spending on ads might be a worthwhile endeavor, but gotta actually produce 4 books in a series first before considering such a thing...see: original post regarding "Dude"-level of laziness. But, I'm working on being less of a lazy, procrastinating type of person/writer - so you never know, one day you may see my picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone, just like the song. Wish me luck!  8)

Most definitely! Good luck brother...

Offline idontknowyet

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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #34 on: June 05, 2018, 08:54:53 PM »
Off the top of my head...
  • Kboards. The heartfelt debates about propper grammars!! and acceptable style guides keep me rapt and eat up most of my time.
  • Mark Dawson. Was gunna sign up for his course, but then my grilled cheese was almost ready and when I got back the course was all filled up. So now I have to wait until 2023 for the next opening. Argh!
  • Trademark squatters. Stupid trademark squatters. I was just about the release my six-volume series The Cocky Brothers Go to Hogwarts and Meet Harry Potter when I learned that a few obscure 'authors' - self-published, no doubt - had already used a few of the names I'd made up. I flew into a rage and promptly burned my manuscripts, which were of course my only copies since I write using an antique typewriter, like all serious authors.
  • Book stuffers. My latest tome on the theoretical implications of trans-spiritual experiences among the llamas of southern Appalachian farms hasn't been selling as well as I expected. No doubt this has to do with those wicked low-life book stuffers. If the simple minded readers browsing Amazon weren't distracted by the latest dreck about bejewelled Russians and the like, I feel wholly certain that they would be buying my clearly superior work.
  • Readers. Most of today's readers are effectively illiterate. And okay, fine, I get it, not everyone was able to go to Yale. So I'm told, anyway. I certainly don't know anyone like that. But can't the kids at Stanford and other lesser institutions stop playing beer pong for long enough to learn to read actual sentences, and not just off-color jokes coded in FORTRAN?
  • Bots. Everyone complains about bots, and botting, and robots takin' our jerbs. But when is the last time a robot stopped to read one of my books? These things must have atrocious taste in literature, otherwise I'd definitely be getting some bot reads at least.
  • Stupid literary trends. Everybody seems to be reading boring garbage like Psychological Thrillers and Romance. People just aren't willing to reach ever so slightly outside of their comfort zones to try something like, say, my book on cross-dressing zebras battling undead amoeba in space.
  • Traditional publishers. These rats. I can't even. I'd have a Bookbub feature every single week if the trad pub jerks didn't have all those incriminating pictures of the Bookbub staff.
  • Amazon. Oh, wow, can't believe I almost forgot the big one. Amazon must have like a billion customers. Is it really such a big deal to ask them to email my book out to several hundred million of them? They could even limit the follow-up emails, for those who don't purchase immediately, to three or four per week. I mean, hello Amazon, do you not want to make money?

very funny!!!!

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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #35 on: June 05, 2018, 09:10:18 PM »
Hey, thanks, appreciate the compliment. Nice of you to say. :)

To answer your question: the reason my books don't sell is they're a bit on the short side (one is 50k words, one is 43k, and one is 34k) people prefer longer books.

Also, they're standalones (for now  ;)), and people prefer series.

AND, as I'd mentioned, I don't advertise, if nobody knows your book exists, they won't buy it. Thus far, I haven't advertised because the books I currently have available wouldn't respond to advertising...in my opinion.

I don't think I'd achieve much ROI if I were to advertise shorter books that are not in series, no matter how effective the writing, the packaging, etc. I could be wrong about that, but it's just my opinion.

Maybe in an alternate universe I'm making four or five figures a month because over in that reality I did engage with trying to get visible with what I currently have available. If that's the case I hope alternate me has used some of that money to take a trip to Iceland, because I've always wanted to go there. Then again, maybe alternate Iceland is overrun with hornets. I hate hornets. Hmm...maybe instead of trekking to hornet-infested alternate Iceland, I'll just wish for alternate me to treat his wife to a nice dinner now and then.  :)

Back on topic though, maybe once I got to Book 4 of a given series, THEN maybe spending on ads might be a worthwhile endeavor, but gotta actually produce 4 books in a series first before considering such a thing...see: original post regarding "Dude"-level of laziness. But, I'm working on being less of a lazy, procrastinating type of person/writer - so you never know, one day you may see my picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone, just like the song. Wish me luck!  8)

Are you going to buy five copies for your mother?

Thanks for the ear worm :)

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Offline dgcasey

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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #36 on: June 05, 2018, 09:11:18 PM »
my general "Dude"-level of laziness, excuses and procrastination and you have the near-perfect recipe for un-success. I'd teach a course in it, but that would require actual effort.  8)

I could be one of your guest speakers.  ;)

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Offline dgcasey

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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #37 on: June 05, 2018, 09:14:08 PM »
Well, selling enough books to support your lifestyle, bills, rent, etc...

Is that the lifestyle I live right now, or the lifestyle I want to become accustomed to?
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Offline VLCooke

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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #38 on: June 05, 2018, 09:28:50 PM »
There are a couple reasons why I'm not a bestselling author.

1.) I write urban fantasy with a non-traditional main character. Not everyone wants to read UF with a forty-something, plus-size, melodramatic chocoholic female lead.
2.) I pulled all my books down so I could get them re-edited. That's a long story that I'm not going to get into here, let's just say I've learned my lesson and I will vet my editors from now on.
3.) I don't advertise right now because I'm focusing on learning my craft by going to school. Going to school for an MFA and pushing the big five-oh takes a lot of my time.
4.) I write stories I want to read, but that doesn't mean others want to read them. See number one. I love my main character, but she's not to everyone's taste.

I think that covers it.

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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #39 on: June 05, 2018, 09:35:27 PM »
In my other post, we had a great discussion about whether or not a self publishing course could turn you into a bestselling author.


In this post, I'd like to ask a very simple question. Why aren't you a bestselling author? What do you think is stopping or holding you back?


What are your plans and action steps towards making yourself a bestselling author? Or maybe you are hoping someone can help you out with the right advice to help you to become a bestselling author?

Or maybe you already are a bestselling author and have some new goals? Please share them here.

Or maybe you were a bestselling author once before and suddenly your books just stopped selling so well? Why do you think that is the case? What happened? What went wrong?

Whatever the reason, I'd love to discuss it here.


This thread could turn into one of those EPIC threads with lots of power-packed information that could help LOTS of other authors who are seemingly stuck...
Your question reminds me of one a friend asked me years ago: "Who do you blame for your atheism?" He might as well have asked who had crippled me and left my life in shambles. It was funny, but of course I didn't laugh because that would have hurt his feelings.


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Online LilyBLily

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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #40 on: June 05, 2018, 09:44:13 PM »
There are a couple reasons why I'm not a bestselling author.

1.) I write urban fantasy with a non-traditional main character. Not everyone wants to read UF with a forty-something, plus-size, melodramatic chocoholic female lead.
2.) I pulled all my books down so I could get them re-edited. That's a long story that I'm not going to get into here, let's just say I've learned my lesson and I will vet my editors from now on.
3.) I don't advertise right now because I'm focusing on learning my craft by going to school. Going to school for an MFA and pushing the big five-oh takes a lot of my time.
4.) I write stories I want to read, but that doesn't mean others want to read them. See number one. I love my main character, but she's not to everyone's taste.

I think that covers it.

I would buy those books, because to me, under age fifty is young, and chocolate is on my menu every day. Also, I still use commas, although younger people have given them up. Possibly for wasabi? Who knows?




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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #41 on: June 05, 2018, 09:46:54 PM »
Off the top of my head...
  • Kboards. The heartfelt debates about propper grammars!! and acceptable style guides keep me rapt and eat up most of my time.
  • Mark Dawson. Was gunna sign up for his course, but then my grilled cheese was almost ready and when I got back the course was all filled up. So now I have to wait until 2023 for the next opening. Argh!
  • Trademark squatters. Stupid trademark squatters. I was just about the release my six-volume series The Cocky Brothers Go to Hogwarts and Meet Harry Potter when I learned that a few obscure 'authors' - self-published, no doubt - had already used a few of the names I'd made up. I flew into a rage and promptly burned my manuscripts, which were of course my only copies since I write using an antique typewriter, like all serious authors.
  • Book stuffers. My latest tome on the theoretical implications of trans-spiritual experiences among the llamas of southern Appalachian farms hasn't been selling as well as I expected. No doubt this has to do with those wicked low-life book stuffers. If the simple minded readers browsing Amazon weren't distracted by the latest dreck about bejewelled Russians and the like, I feel wholly certain that they would be buying my clearly superior work.
  • Readers. Most of today's readers are effectively illiterate. And okay, fine, I get it, not everyone was able to go to Yale. So I'm told, anyway. I certainly don't know anyone like that. But can't the kids at Stanford and other lesser institutions stop playing beer pong for long enough to learn to read actual sentences, and not just off-color jokes coded in FORTRAN?
  • Bots. Everyone complains about bots, and botting, and robots takin' our jerbs. But when is the last time a robot stopped to read one of my books? These things must have atrocious taste in literature, otherwise I'd definitely be getting some bot reads at least.
  • Stupid literary trends. Everybody seems to be reading boring garbage like Psychological Thrillers and Romance. People just aren't willing to reach ever so slightly outside of their comfort zones to try something like, say, my book on cross-dressing zebras battling undead amoeba in space.
  • Traditional publishers. These rats. I can't even. I'd have a Bookbub feature every single week if the trad pub jerks didn't have all those incriminating pictures of the Bookbub staff.
  • Amazon. Oh, wow, can't believe I almost forgot the big one. Amazon must have like a billion customers. Is it really such a big deal to ask them to email my book out to several hundred million of them? They could even limit the follow-up emails, for those who don't purchase immediately, to three or four per week. I mean, hello Amazon, do you not want to make money?

Best line: "I write using an antique typewriter, like all serious authors."

However, the really, really serious writers do it longhand--in cursive, which will be indecipherable code to future generations.

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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #42 on: June 05, 2018, 09:47:57 PM »
Define "bestselling author."

Well, selling enough books to support your lifestyle, bills, rent, etc...

The type of author that readers just can't wait for them to release a new book and as soon as you do it sells on its own with no marketing.





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Offline kcmorgan

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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #43 on: June 05, 2018, 09:55:48 PM »
How long does it take you to release a book? Please define slow for me.
I'd say I release maybe 50k words a year. Ideally, I'd release 300k words a year.

Offline notenoughcoffee

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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #44 on: June 05, 2018, 10:11:24 PM »
I would buy those books, because to me, under age fifty is young, and chocolate is on my menu every day. Also, I still use commas, although younger people have given them up. Possibly for wasabi? Who knows?
You'll have to pry the Oxford comma out of my cold, dead, carpal tunneled hands.

And I'm probably half your age.

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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #45 on: June 05, 2018, 11:16:28 PM »
I don't want to be a best-selling author. Best-selling authors have best-selling problems: more people complain, you're under fire for everything you do. There's an insane amount of insecurity around the whole thing (suddenly going from zero to big ballin') and a lot of stress and pressure I don't care for.

Why am I not making a living as an author? First, I'm green. I just started re-publishing this year and unless you get lucky and have break out success, you put in your time. I'm 100% okay with that. As far as making a living. I'm at a point where I can pay my light bill with my monthly earnings. A few more months and I think I'll be able to cover a car payment, too. I live a particularly modest lifestyle and my partner enjoys working out of the home, I don't need to make 6 figures from writing even if it would be nice. Writing isn't the ONLY thing I do even if it's one of my favorite things. If I got up to 50k a year just from fiction writing, I'd be satisfied with that. Again, I make money in other ways.

Also, I want to write what I want to write. I think I'm good at writing words, but I ignore most expectations from my genre and I don't care. I want to tell the stories I want to tell and my audience will have to accept it and want books from me and not books from the genre I write in.

Offline BestsellerDude

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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #46 on: June 06, 2018, 06:01:20 AM »
I don't want to be a best-selling author. Best-selling authors have best-selling problems: more people complain, you're under fire for everything you do. There's an insane amount of insecurity around the whole thing (suddenly going from zero to big ballin') and a lot of stress and pressure I don't care for.

Why am I not making a living as an author? First, I'm green. I just started re-publishing this year and unless you get lucky and have break out success, you put in your time. I'm 100% okay with that. As far as making a living. I'm at a point where I can pay my light bill with my monthly earnings. A few more months and I think I'll be able to cover a car payment, too. I live a particularly modest lifestyle and my partner enjoys working out of the home, I don't need to make 6 figures from writing even if it would be nice. Writing isn't the ONLY thing I do even if it's one of my favorite things. If I got up to 50k a year just from fiction writing, I'd be satisfied with that. Again, I make money in other ways.

Also, I want to write what I want to write. I think I'm good at writing words, but I ignore most expectations from my genre and I don't care. I want to tell the stories I want to tell and my audience will have to accept it and want books from me and not books from the genre I write in.

Ahhhhh ok. I see.

So basically, to make an example, you are saying that you are running a Pizzaria in a town that prefers Hamburgers?

And even after knowing that information, you are still going to press forward with making Pizza? Even if very few people buy?

Am I correct?

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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #47 on: June 06, 2018, 06:41:24 AM »
Ahhhhh ok. I see.

So basically, to make an example, you are saying that you are running a Pizzaria in a town that prefers Hamburgers?

And even after knowing that information, you are still going to press forward with making Pizza? Even if very few people buy?

Am I correct?

As long as the pizzeria nets a profit, for some of us being the other guy doing something different is just fine. If you think about it, there always is a restaurant offering something different. I don't know how the Kobe steakhouse in my town keeps open, considering how many pizza joints there are and how busy they are. But there must be enough people who prefer steak to pizza. Betting on just one type of menu (or book) that everybody else sells puts you in head-to-head competition with the big dogs. Few people can get to the top of the heap and stay there. But many people can do just fine offering something else.   


Offline PermaStudent

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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #48 on: June 06, 2018, 06:46:44 AM »

So you honestly feel that all you gotta do is put in more volume and release more books on a regular basis and that's all it would take?

No. That's not what I said at all. By "I don't put in the hours" I mean *all* the hours. The hours to learn/practice/perfect the craft, marketing, advertising, product packaging, write and release regularly, research the market, etc. It's been my observation that doing well in self-publishing is a lot of work. Some authors are made by luck, but even then, they've usually put in a lot of hours up to that point to be in a position to take advantage of luck when it hit.

Well, selling enough books to support your lifestyle, bills, rent, etc...

The type of author that readers just can't wait for them to release a new book and as soon as you do it sells on its own with no marketing.

Sorry, I was defining "best seller" differently. "Best seller" on the level of the indies that hit the top 100 regularly is a much harder goal to meet than just earning a living. For the hours I put in, I already earn more take home pay (per hour) than I did at my day job (minus benefits and job security, which is a huge consideration). It's a positive ROI for my time, and for now, I'm happy with it.
  I write urban fantasy.  There are girls in gowns and glowy hands on my covers.

Offline KylieG

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Re: Why Aren't You A Bestselling Author? This Could Get Fun...
« Reply #49 on: June 06, 2018, 06:59:38 AM »
For me it all comes down to the man keeping me down.