Author Topic: I'm feeling pretty low at this point  (Read 3085 times)  

Offline Mr. Finnlee

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I'm feeling pretty low at this point
« on: December 04, 2020, 12:39:13 pm »
Hello all.
I have 6 non-fiction books published. All are on Amazon, two of them are on IngramSpark also. Amazon is selling for me pretty steady only if I keep advertising through them. Ingram has not sold a single book which is really discouraging and puzzling.

I have done all of the recommended steps such as an author page on FB and MeWe. I have built a very nice website and I blog regularly on it. I have my blog connected with my Amazon page so that it shows my posts. I keep active on Social media and try to respond to every comment and stay positive without coming across as spammy. All of this takes a great deal of time and babysitting too.

I compare my book to others in my categories all the time and what is really getting me down is that most of the time the #1 books are dang coloring books, blank journals, and low or no content crap. Are we really dumbed down as a society to the point that an adult coloring book with vulgar language is the only thing that folks want these days?

I spend days upon days writing meaningful and helpful content, I strive for impeccable formatting, and I spend hours polishing my books so that they are absolutely professional as possible. I can't get more than 5 or 6 reviews from a hundred sales, but that dang coloring book has over 1500 reviews! Who the hell leaves a 5 star review for an adult coloring book anyway? Really?

I feel like I am stuck in a huge time suck for what amounts to a few hundred dollars a month (on the good months). I just can't seem to gain any traction. Anyone else feel like this? Maybe I'm I just in a funk this week, but it sure is getting discouraging.
Any tips or ideas would be very much appreciated!

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    Offline Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #1 on: December 04, 2020, 12:51:24 pm »
    I think as long as you're determined to feel superior to others, and cast aspersions on what others like, that you're unlikely to make it in this business. I've purchased adult coloring books before. They're good for brainstorming. Crapping on other products is not the way to get ahead. As for helpful tips, we have no idea what you're offering. Non-fiction is a broad term.
    « Last Edit: December 04, 2020, 01:35:12 pm by Amanda M. Lee »

    Amanda M. Lee

    Offline BuckarooBanzai

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #2 on: December 04, 2020, 01:16:23 pm »
    A bit unfair to say the original poster is feeling 'superior'. I just think that they're frustrated and at the end of their tether. I think when your traction is modest or zero (and I am very near the zero) you do feel like you're banging your head against a brick wall. I think many of us have tried the steps suggested and nothing quite seems to click - obviously there's no guarantee but what better place to vent than a writers' forum?

    Offline Lorri Moulton [Lavender Lass Books]

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #3 on: December 04, 2020, 01:28:41 pm »
    OP, the challenge is to find people looking for the books we write.  What type of non-fiction do you write?  I have a few short historical non-fictions but mainly write fiction these days.
     
    Author of Romance, Fantasy, Mystery, Suspense and Historical Non-Fiction.
    Lavender Lass Books | Lavender Lass Books - Website

    Offline Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #4 on: December 04, 2020, 01:36:58 pm »
    A bit unfair to say the original poster is feeling 'superior'. I just think that they're frustrated and at the end of their tether. I think when your traction is modest or zero (and I am very near the zero) you do feel like you're banging your head against a brick wall. I think many of us have tried the steps suggested and nothing quite seems to click - obviously there's no guarantee but what better place to vent than a writers' forum?
    I don't think crapping on other people's products is venting. There are plenty of ways to vent that don't involve taking swipes at other people's work.

    Amanda M. Lee

    Offline CassieL

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #5 on: December 04, 2020, 01:50:22 pm »
    I'm with Amanda on this one. There was no need to bring in a different product that the OP doesn't see as having value to have this discussion. We've seen it time and time again here that some people come on and say, "I can't believe I don't sell when <whatever they consider crap> does sell" and that's not a good mindset to have in this business if you want to survive and thrive. I have some non-fiction titles that have stayed in top 100 of their category for about 3 years but I'm pretty sure that adult coloring books sell better than those titles of mine. Do I gnash my teeth over it? No. Because I couldn't create an adult coloring book if my life depended on it so I create what I can create and then try to get it to perform well within its niche.

    Setting that part of the OP aside, I personally don't spend much time on blogging to promote my books. I have a blog but rarely blog about anything that would lead to a book sale. (And it's probably a bad idea that I have it because it gives me a place to say things publicly and pretty sure no one wants to hear me tell them to take COVID seriously at this point.) What works for me is asking where someone will be looking when they go to buy a non-fiction title like mine and then making sure that my title is what they find when they go looking. Some audiences will demand more credentials than that, but my experience has been that a certain percentage don't. They see the book, it meets their need, they buy.

    8 Pen Names. Genres: Non-fiction, Speculative Fiction, Romance.

    Offline NikOK

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #6 on: December 04, 2020, 01:57:47 pm »
    A bit unfair to say the original poster is feeling 'superior'. I just think that they're frustrated and at the end of their tether.

    Ha, yeah, who hasn't said a lot of crap when they are mad or frustrated?  I'm sure the OP doesn't have a vendetta against coloring books, but is just mad in general.  Though it might be beneficial to not focus on what other people and other books are doing.  Your work is the only thing you can change or add to.  Looking at the top books out there will only discourage you in some way.  I think it's going to be hard for anyone to give concrete advice without knowing your exact circumstances and what you've put into everything, but comparing these other books to yours will always leave you salty.  You only see the ones with big numbers and you'll always be looking for the flaws.  That means that every time you look at that, it will make you more negative.


    Offline CatherineM

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #7 on: December 04, 2020, 03:10:01 pm »
    Ha, yeah, who hasn't said a lot of crap when they are mad or frustrated?  I'm sure the OP doesn't have a vendetta against coloring books, but is just mad in general.  Though it might be beneficial to not focus on what other people and other books are doing.  Your work is the only thing you can change or add to.  Looking at the top books out there will only discourage you in some way.  I think it's going to be hard for anyone to give concrete advice without knowing your exact circumstances and what you've put into everything, but comparing these other books to yours will always leave you salty.  You only see the ones with big numbers and you'll always be looking for the flaws.  That means that every time you look at that, it will make you more negative.

    As per usual, NikOK comes through with a great reply. Thank you, sir.
    OP is understandably frustrated and didn't mean any harm.

    Offline ShawnaReads

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #8 on: December 04, 2020, 03:16:34 pm »
    First, stop comparing yourself to others. That's a straight road to unhappiness.
    Second, stop spending so much time on social media. Despite what some people say, it isn't all that helpful to most authors. (For nonfiction, I'd suppose it might be helpful if you already have something of a following, but if you don't and your goal is to sell books, it's a waste of time.)
    Third, things like journals and coloring books appeal to people for an entirely different reason than most nonfiction books do (you didn't say what yours are, but it sounds like something that's meant to be informative). They are meant to appeal to something extremely broad in human nature, and they get five-star ratings because they don't have to hit many points to succeed. Informational nonfiction books usually have much more narrow niches.
    Fourth, yeah, it's frustrating. I get it. I'm still on the zero traction end of things myself. But you just have to keep working at it, trying new things until you find something that works (mostly meaning marketing-wise), and building up your backlist. Being angry that other people are successful and you think you deserve that success, not them, is pure jealousy, and it's not going to get you anything good.

    Offline NikOK

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #9 on: December 04, 2020, 04:20:19 pm »
    As per usual, NikOK comes through with a great reply. Thank you, sir.
    OP is understandably frustrated and didn't mean any harm.

    Ha, nah.  I probably just talk too much, and am bound to get one every now and then by sheer numbers.  But I appreciate you saying it.  That's extremely kind because I always respect your opinion a ton :D

    Offline CatherineM

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #10 on: December 04, 2020, 04:43:29 pm »
    The thing is OP's question in this case and I stand by my opinion that OP did nothing wrong in asking for advice.

    Offline nightwork

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #11 on: December 04, 2020, 05:05:27 pm »
    Hello all.
    I have 6 non-fiction books published. All are on Amazon, two of them are on IngramSpark also. Amazon is selling for me pretty steady only if I keep advertising through them. Ingram has not sold a single book which is really discouraging and puzzling.

    I have done all of the recommended steps such as an author page on FB and MeWe. I have built a very nice website and I blog regularly on it. I have my blog connected with my Amazon page so that it shows my posts. I keep active on Social media and try to respond to every comment and stay positive without coming across as spammy. All of this takes a great deal of time and babysitting too.

    I compare my book to others in my categories all the time and what is really getting me down is that most of the time the #1 books are dang coloring books, blank journals, and low or no content crap. Are we really dumbed down as a society to the point that an adult coloring book with vulgar language is the only thing that folks want these days?

    I spend days upon days writing meaningful and helpful content, I strive for impeccable formatting, and I spend hours polishing my books so that they are absolutely professional as possible. I can't get more than 5 or 6 reviews from a hundred sales, but that dang coloring book has over 1500 reviews! Who the hell leaves a 5 star review for an adult coloring book anyway? Really?

    I feel like I am stuck in a huge time suck for what amounts to a few hundred dollars a month (on the good months). I just can't seem to gain any traction. Anyone else feel like this? Maybe I'm I just in a funk this week, but it sure is getting discouraging.
    Any tips or ideas would be very much appreciated!

    ok is this is the meditation or New Age niche?

    keep the AMS ads going, if you have a newsletter, send them an appropriate helpful email once a month or every 6 weeks, don't bother any more w/ blogging or social media

    you can make the same few hundred dollars a month from AMS alone, the time investment is minimal once you've got em trained to deliver your ads

    i haven't found any great need to babysit ads in that niche which is good because my catalog of those books is tiny & it wouldn't get babysat

    even if i've guessed your niche wrongly from the sweary journals clue, i'm probably still right that you don't need to blog or social media
    « Last Edit: December 04, 2020, 05:07:56 pm by nightwork »

    Offline Mr. Finnlee

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #12 on: December 04, 2020, 05:27:06 pm »
    Thank you all who took the time to give some good constructive advice to my rant! I appreciate the pep talk. I'll just keep on slogging away at the keyboard as I do enjoy it. I am retired, so this is a part time gig for me. My books are mainly informational how-to's and a couple are general country-life memoir short story types. Oddly these seem to do the best overall. The how-to books are pretty specific niches.

    I generally write about two books a year, as I do try to pack in as much information as I can in each book. It requires a bunch of research and digging around to fill in the blanks that I may not already know myself because I am very careful to try to be correct or accurate in what I write. I guess my main beef is that anyone could patch together an empty journal with pages of blank lines and toss in a few quotes from famous poets and dump it on Amazon in a day or two. I just feel like Amazon could care less about the quality of their offerings and yet people seem to lap it up. At least Ingram has made the attempt to clean up and preserve the integrity of their catalog by eliminating stuff like this and serve up actual books to their customers.

    I am puzzled as to why my two books listed with Ingram have not sold a single copy in nearly a year, as these books have sold several hundred copies overall elsewhere. I may have to give them a call and make sure that they are listed in the correct categories, as I may have screwed up somehow when listing them maybe. That's about all I can figure. Does anyone know a way that I could look at the Ingram catalog online to see if I can check on my book listings?

    Again, thank you very much to those who helped!


    Offline ShawnaReads

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #13 on: December 04, 2020, 06:24:57 pm »
    You could always talk to a local bookstore and ask them to pull up the listing for your books to make sure everything looks okay from the customer's end. And, of course, check the listings on B&N and other online stores to make sure the categories look right.

    Offline ShayneRutherford

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #14 on: December 04, 2020, 06:28:37 pm »
    I am puzzled as to why my two books listed with Ingram have not sold a single copy in nearly a year, as these books have sold several hundred copies overall elsewhere. I may have to give them a call and make sure that they are listed in the correct categories, as I may have screwed up somehow when listing them maybe. That's about all I can figure. Does anyone know a way that I could look at the Ingram catalog online to see if I can check on my book listings?

    Ingram isn't a book store, it's a distributor. They sell books to book stores, not customers, and the only way a book store is likely to order one of your books is if a customer asks them to order it.
    « Last Edit: December 04, 2020, 06:51:32 pm by ShayneRutherford »
             

    Online Simon Haynes

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #15 on: December 04, 2020, 06:46:23 pm »
    You can probably search on bookdepository.  They seem to list everything with an ISBN.
     

    Also yWriter, free novel-writing software for Windows PCs. (Mac version in progress).

    Offline jb1111

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #16 on: December 04, 2020, 09:50:31 pm »
    Every indie author probably has put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into every book they've put out there. And yet a lot of them find themselves having disappointing sales. Sometimes it's that way their entire indie career, and with others there are sales drought periods. It just happens.

    There's no point in demeaning what's popular, though. It's popular for a reason: it sells, and it sells because it's what a lot of people want. That includes adult coloring books and genre fiction. It's reality. People like what they like. If you want to sell books, produce what people like.

    Non-fiction is often a tough sell to being with. If you've had 100 sales and 5 reviews on an indie book you're probably doing quite well.

    Offline Doglover

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #17 on: December 04, 2020, 11:02:53 pm »
    All I have to offer is to agree with whoever said 'don't compare yourself to others'. That's always a fast route to depression. I should imagine that in every niche, be it fiction or non-fiction, authors will find bestselling books that they know is not nearly as good as theirs. Concentrate on your own work; leave others to do their own thing.

    It would be helpful to know the subject of your books. If you have a lot of competition, two books a year is not enough to get you very far. If there are authors turning out ten or twelve books a year on the same subject, they build up a following of readers looking for more. If you can't keep up, you get forgotten about. That's why a following and a newsletter is so important. You can keep those subscribers happy with a newsletter once a month or so.

    I have only one non-fiction book. It is about the care and ownership of a Newfoundland dog. I wrote it back in 2013 and I have never advertised it, but for some reason, it keeps selling. I don't know why; perhaps it is the personal element, the antics of a real dog with a real owner, not just an abstract list of things to do and not to do. I can't believe it's because so many people want to own a hairy, slobbery, giant dog the size of a small Shetland pony. Who knows?

    Anyway, chin up as we say in England. Perhaps look into Facebook ads? They work well if you are very careful about where the money is going and you target them properly.


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    Offline Trioxin 245

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #18 on: December 05, 2020, 01:54:14 am »


    I generally write about two books a year, as I do try to pack in as much information as I can in each book. It requires a bunch of research and digging around to fill in the blanks that I may not already know myself because I am very careful to try to be correct or accurate in what I write. I guess my main beef is that anyone could patch together an empty journal with pages of blank lines and toss in a few quotes from famous poets and dump it on Amazon in a day or two.

    I guess I don't like the idea that people like you can read articles, take out information from people that have spent years researching, then package it in a neat little book......See how that sounds?

    It does not matter what anyone else is doing focus on your own work.
    « Last Edit: December 05, 2020, 02:05:06 am by Trioxin 245 »

    Offline GTurnbull

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #19 on: December 05, 2020, 04:08:31 am »
    We're all masters of the written word here. With that in mind, on the one hand, it is disheartening to here that a book by definition, having next to no 'words'. A bloody coloring book could trump our sophisticated masterpieces.
    On the other hand, this sounds like a darn good coloring book. I ain't drawn or colored since school, but it might make a nice distraction and or change of pace from own my lackluster sales... and if it spruces up your day in the least, just know the numbers in regards to your sales you quoted, well, they're well above mine at the moment. All the best mate.

    Offline unkownwriter

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #20 on: December 05, 2020, 11:40:47 am »
    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but....

    The vast majority of people trying to make a living writing make very little. If they're lucky, they might make a part time living.

    Most self publishers are constantly doing ads, and finding other ways to promote their work, without being that annoying guy/gal on other sites and social media, pounding their books all over.

    Writing two books a year as a self publisher probably isn't going to do much for you. Big, cram-packed books may not be what the market is waiting for.

    There's no such thing as passive income from self publishing, I don't care what someone has told you.

    Self published coloring books are a freak show. Why anyone would pay to get the quality of a POD book is astounding. Same for journals. At any rate, Amazon has begun clamping down on journals and stuff like that, it may be on the way out as the next passive income publishing scheme.

    Your level of reviews sounds a little low, but not that much. Years ago someone figured out that on average, you get one review for about one hundred sales, and the same for about a thousand free downloads. There are legit ways to get more reviews.

    Anyway, I get it. This can be a heartbreaking deal, especially since you hear so many success stories and you look around and can't see why. There's no accounting for reader tastes, and there's stuff you can't see from the outside about how someone might be selling a lot and you aren't. It's not a slot a into tab b, take tab c to the bank business.

    Offline nail file

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #21 on: December 05, 2020, 11:52:54 am »
    The thing is OP's question in this case and I stand by my opinion that OP did nothing wrong in asking for advice.

    No one said the OP was wrong for asking for help.

    They took exception to the OP crapping on someone else's hard work just because "they're frustrated".

    Offline wearywanderer64

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #22 on: December 05, 2020, 12:00:09 pm »
    OP

    I criticise Rubik's Cube because it's the most boring puzzle game ever (re)invented. But for some it's therapeutic and if they enjoy it, good luck to them. But I'm also jealous of Rubik for creating something so simple and making a fortune from it. To relate this to your post, I envy the people who create these colouring in books because I couldn't do it. You're not competing with them and vice versa.

    As for the frustration of not selling, tell me about it.




    A.T. Mahon | Scribbling Tales

    Offline BellaJames

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #23 on: December 05, 2020, 06:47:28 pm »
    I see people all over the internet on forums like this and on Youtube, reddit etc saying they are struggling to sell a single book. I even gave some advice to a woman who was struggling to sell her first couple books. She recently told me she now makes a little extra money every month. She thought her book would just sell if she published it on Amazon.

    This does not stop people making videos promoting self publishing as an easy passive income business. The 'Make $1000 a week writing short books about any subject' videos are frustrating.

    Look at Ty Cohen and his scam videos about making thousands selling short documents, not even books. He makes his money from selling his course.

    I listen to podcasts and videos on self publishing all the time. As far as I see it the people selling well are putting in work, promoting, marketing, finding out where their readers are, studying the current trends or bestsellers in their genre and sub genre. They experiment all the time, changing their blurbs, keywords and covers if they think it will help.

    Even some low content and no content publishers.

    « Last Edit: December 05, 2020, 10:50:21 pm by BellaJames »

    Offline BellaJames

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    Re: I'm feeling pretty low at this point
    « Reply #24 on: December 05, 2020, 07:19:58 pm »
    @OP there are a few Youtube channels and podcasts with up to date advice and tips on how to sell more books, how to promote your book, what is happening in the world of self publishing right now etc.

    You can watch some of these shows live (subscribe and press the bell to be notified when the show is live), then you can ask questions and get immediate answers. Or interact with them on social media.


    Also there are free courses and webinars featuring some of these experts and many successful authors giving advice.

    You have to find readers who like the types of books you write. Focus on sites dedicated to books/authors/readers like Goodreads, bookbub, book blogs, book reviewers on Youtube, facebook groups etc.


    Try:

    1. Six figure authors

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkgP6WIFsg3vWga2XVs619w
    https://6figureauthors.com/

    2. Self publishing formula (Mark Dawson is or was a member on this forum)

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5Qu8GvA0lUm3GmzBqmmfeg
    https://selfpublishingformula.com/


    3. 20Booksto50k

    https://www.youtube.com/c/20Booksto50kRLiveEvents/featured

    4. David Gaughran

    https://www.youtube.com/user/dgaughran

    David's Free course = https://courses.davidgaughran.com/courses/starting-from-zero


    5. The Spa girls

    https://www.youtube.com/c/SPAGirlsPodcast/videos
    http://www.selfpublishingauthorspodcast.com/


    6. Sell more books show

    https://sellmorebooksshow.com/episodes/


    7. Alliance of independent authors

    https://www.youtube.com/c/AllianceofIndependentAuthors/videos


    8. Self publishing school They seem to focus on nonfiction more but do have fiction authors on their show too.

    https://www.youtube.com/c/SelfPublishingSchool/videos
    https://self-publishingschool.com/

    9. Kindlepreneur

    https://kindlepreneur.com/


    10. Draft2digital

    https://www.youtube.com/c/Draft2Digital/videos


    « Last Edit: December 05, 2020, 10:53:25 pm by BellaJames »

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