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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now this isn't a thread where I am trying to beg for sales.
Don't buy my stuff out of pity.

It's just that I like the people here and let's just pretend we're on your back patio having a beer (or three) and I came over to rant a bit.

So......I have to face facts.

My Crowell stories, while okay, aren't selling as good as I had hoped.
I still maintain an average of ten sales per month. Give or take.

I need money and since I can't sing or dance, I am creative and I figured that maybe I could take a stab at writing.
I've been in e-books since April 2010 and to date I've sold 120 units. ( 80 of them were Crowell sales)

Now I haven't been marketing all that much though I have tried. I have a couple of interviews out there as well as a blog that is read by 300 people around the world every week. I have to assume that many of my sales are word of mouth and I am greatly encouraged by that. People out there who have read The Crowell Files seem to like it enough to pass the word and I thank you all. Truly I do.

I am still a new writer and I know I haven't quite found my voice with my work but I guess there is enough potential that shows through where the books are still making a little money.

And yet....the bills keep coming.

So, I have to change my plans a bit.

There is one more Volume to this Crowell series planned and that should be out for Halloween.

Then I have a fantasy novel I want to put out as well as a "female Indiana Jones in space" thriller I am outlining/researching.

Still, I love the Crowell character and I want to open him up to new readers. Now, maybe the price is the problem. So in early 2012 I am planning an incredible sale the likes of which you haven't seen. Most other people I know would be crazy to give away their work.

But here it is....

Early next year I will take all 3 volumes in the Crowell series and put them into one Omnibus.
That's over 500 pages and 13 stories for just 2 bucks. Over half off the price you'd normally pay for all 3 volumes

I'll see how that goes I guess.

But while I like the character and I do have a rough idea of future stories.... I have to eat.
So I'll be doing this Omnibus thing next year and then put the character away for a while.
I can't keep at it without something coming back.

Now I see the monthly number crunching and I know full well that I do not deserve to be making 1,000 sales a month like the few dozen here make. They are much better writers than I am and they deserve those numbers.

Still.... I think I'm good enough where my numbers could at least be double what they already are.
And I know my style is a little off although I have been told my dialogue scenes are pretty good.
I'm still learning.
I'm trying my best each time out.

Maybe the story of a hard working male Detective who is stuck being visited by people with weird problems isn't most people's cup of tea. Or, there is still a chance it hasn't been discovered yet. But I think I've peaked out on this theme/character/genre.

I could have added a "Monster of the month"
Crowell VS. Dracula or a werewolf or a giant ant that happened to be in a nuclear testing site....or any number of standards.

But this character has his own style and is in a class by himself.

I don't think that there's anything out there quite like this guy.

And maybe that's it. Maybe he's TOO unique.
Or maybe my writing just sucks.

Writing is a big guessing game.
And so I'm going to be making a switch in genres.

Okay well, a bunch of you need to get back to work. I'd hate to have some of you get in trouble at work from reading my little rant.

Have a good week folks
see you on the boards.
Though maybe less often.

Frank
 

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Frank, do you have another job that pays your bills? I know that's a really personal question, but as long as you can keep writing while you're working and getting your bills paid, stop and ask yourself why you write in the first place. Is it just for the money? Or do you love to write? is getting paid to write an added bonus to the bliss of creating amazing worlds and characters, or is it your focus? Getting caught up in sales destroys the passion to write, especially if your sales are on the low side, and sometimes it's hard to keep your focus on the passion of writing if you're all wrapped up in how many books your selling.
 

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This sounds like a good plan, Frank. Hang in there. I say, give this plan a shot, do some more marketing if you can, and see what happens.
 

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Sales are hard to control. I confronted this years ago when trying to place my books first with an agent, and then helping my agent sell my books to a publishing house. This is no less true in the indie publishing world. At some point you have to hand your child her schoolbooks, give her a goodbye kiss, and send her off to school to sink or swim on her own.

What you can control is how much you write and how much time you spend improving your craft from book to book. So I think you're right focusing on the next project and letting these ones find their place in the world. Sooner or later, success will come.
 

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Hi Frank,
I wish you to reach the numbers you are looking for, so that you can write what you like. And, I read so much love when you talked about Crowell that I felt sad at the end of your post. Thank you for the beer, I brought some chips...  :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Jenny
Good question
And I'll get personal
I'm moving to a cheaper place next month (as well as closer to my job) to try to stay afloat

I'm also a cartoonist and I am trying to find a way (and a theme) to work on and try to make some cash flow that way plus the writing

I am lucky my wife allows me the time needed to write

I am lucky I DO have a day job that handles most of the monthly expenses

But I AM in a slump of late because I thought I'd be a bit further along financially, creatively.

I guess I need to make a few adjustments since what I am doing now isn't working as well as I had thought it might.

So yes, I am doing this for money. A doubling of current numbers would help out.
And yes..... I am also doing it because I love it so much and I hope it shows in the work.
Kind of tricky double edged sword there

But I have been thinking that I might need to change genres in order to get where I want to be
Hope that answers the question


To Momilp- thanks for the kind words. Yes, I do love Crowell and maybe he'll find his way after I let him go. I think he'll be okay because he's tenacious like I am. But unlike him, I live in a reality that demands I need money every month. I love the guy but hanging out with him most of the time, of late, is costing me money. Time to leave him alone for a bit. I DO plan more in the future but that depends on what I can tweak with my time/life this year and next.

 
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Publishing is a business, and it needs to be approached like any business. The typical business loses money it's first three years. You don't start a business because you have to pay the bills. You start a business because you have a long term plan to make it successful.

And this is where a lot of folks get themselves in trouble. Because we get fixated on those "big numbers" people through around. But those numbers did not happen out of a void. They developed over time, slowly and methodically, as the author used his or her resources to build a fan base.

You admit that you have done very little marketing. There are over a million books on Amazon. How do you expect people to find you? You can have the greatest book in the world, but if people don't know about it, how can they buy it?

Writing is the easy part. Publishing is HARD. Publishing requires a lot of skills that do not neccessarily come naturally to writers. These are skills that take time to acquire and develop.

If you go into this thinking "I have to sell X number of books each month to pay the phone bill" you will always be dissappointed because you are chasing the wrong thing. You will ask the wrong questions and follow the wrong path.

The questions you need to ask are:

Who is my target market, and where do they live? (i.e. where can they be found)
What does my target market need from me? (Writers often fixate on what they need, but don't think about what the reader needs.)
How can I get my product in front of them regularly (the average person needs to see something 7 times before they remember it, let alone act on it.)
Is my product ready for sale? Or have I rushed it to market because I need cash?
What are my peers doing that I am not? And is it actually working or are they blowing smoke?

You are making a switch in genres based on a personal feeling of failure, not actual research of your market or understanding of the industry. You need to develop an actual PLAN, a real plan based on definable goals. I suspect your feeling of failure is more out of failing to plan than anything you have actually written.
 

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Frank, checking out your sample, I don't see a problem with your writing or subject matter.  However, I think that you could improve your sales by revamping your Cromwell covers and blurbs. 

 

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I reviewed your book quite a while ago. You must have republished the book because my review no longer appears.

However, I vividly remember it having a lot of storyline and plotting issues, along with poor editing.

Now, that book has another one star review. While I don't agree with the reviewer's comment of "bad writing," that person did bring up one of the same problems I mentioned in my review. Obviously, you did not correct the issue before uploading a new version.

From your posts, I can only assume that you cannot afford an editor. However, you should at least try to get some beta readers to point out the issues.

 

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I think it sounds like a reasonable plan (I haven't read all the way through Julie's post yet, but she usually gives good hard nosed advice).

The French say that money wounds are not fatal, and Dean Wesley Smith just recently posted something about how nothing you can do can really kill your career -- so in the end, you shouldn't worry about mistakes, and you should go for whatever seems right for you.

The one thing I would do differently: I would make that omnibus $2.99.  There is no reason to give up more htan half the income on the paid version of the product - because the price resistance it going to be there at 1.99 anyway.  And I would  experiment with free for some or all of the shorter parts. But mainly I'd concentrate on writing more.

Camille
 

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FrankZubek said:
Jenny
Good question
And I'll get personal
I'm moving to a cheaper place next month (as well as closer to my job) to try to stay afloat

The grocery job, while paying the bills, isn't enough where I can enjoy my life

While the writing is very enjoyable most of the time and feeds my muse, I AM doing this for some money so that I don't have to worry so much about living month to month

I'm also a cartoonist and I am trying to find a way (and a theme) to work on and try to make some cash flow that way plus the writing

I am lucky in a way where I don't have to have a second 'real" job in addition to the main day job

I am lucky my wife allows me the time needed to write

I am lucky I DO have a day job that handles most of the monthly expenses

But I AM in a slump of late because I thought I'd be a bit further along financially, creatively.

I guess I need to make a few adjustments since what I am doing now isn't working as well as I had thought it might.

So yes, I am doing this for money. A doubling of current numbers would help out.
And yes..... I am also doing it because I love it so much and I hope it shows in the work.
Kind of tricky double edged sword there

But I have been thinking that I might need to change genres in order to get where I want to be
Hope that answers the question
Thanks for answering honestly. The reason I asked is because I'm going through a bit of a slump myself, and my husband, who also writes and outdoes me numbers wise literally about 20 to 1 every month had to remind me of why I'm writing. I freelance edit, that's my job and it allows me to set my own schedule while still making enough money to pay my bills and feed my family and find time to write my own books. When sales slow down or stall, it gets frustrating because you think of how much you love your book, your characters... how much time and effort you put into the story and all the other aspects in prepping it for sale. Maybe a genre-shift would help, as long as you're writing in a genre you love that's also a bit on the popular side. On the other hand, maybe reevaluate your promotional tactics. Who are you marketing to? Is it your audience?

Keep on keepin' on though, and never stop feeding your passion. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
" I suspect your feeling of failure is more out of failing to plan than anything you have actually written."

Julie   Damned good point. I'm working on that

Swolf    The covers were done by me and yes, I do not have the cash to pay for better   But I defend the covers by showing the sales of 80 books with no returns. I must be doing something right. BUT....  yes. At the current budget plan, I do think I'll have some saved up where I can afford new covers in 2012

My dearest Red Adept. I do love your honesty. And in fact I did go over the manuscript before resubmitting it with that new cover. I believe this person (who shall remain nameless) just hates. Must have had a really rotten day when he bought and read the book. He could have easily just went to Amazon and gotten a refund. I can see by glancing at his profile that he hasn't reviewed many books. And it looks to me like he just copy pasted his last review because I did go in there and fix that problem of the toys in the graveyard-- I don't think he actually read the newer version

YOU were absolutely correct with the review you gave me (thank you for the three and four stars on the stories themselves though yes-my editing did need some work.  I AM working on growing a larger number of beta readers to help me out.) Still... that one star is going to hurt me all over again. But as Alfred said to Bruce Wayne in Dark Knight Returns..."Some men just want to watch the world burn"   (That's for Mr One Star...Not you Kynn. Your low rating has served to guide me in more ways than you'll know)
 

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Frank, what can I say?

A couple of months ago I was very down and almost pulled my books from sale, I don't know what specific thing happened but my whole outlook changed overnight. Since then my sales have taken off and an agent is now touting my books around.

I KNOW it isn't easy, but try to adopt a PMA (positive mental attitude) and I'm sure things will slot into place.

Do as lynn says, get some beta readers to review your work and LISTEN to their advice.

The final thing I want you to consider is this, your books are amongst 750,000 uploaded on Amazon, only YOU can make it stand out from the rest. Be that with striking covers or blurbs or marketing. You have to market your own books, no one else will do it for you.

Hope things start getting better for you soon.  ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks Mel

Thanks to everyone who responded

I'll try to improve (as I always do) using what I have at hand (Beta readers, available cash & time and marketing etc etc)
Good luck to all of you!

 

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Jennybeanses said:
Getting caught up in sales destroys the passion to write...
This is so very true! I love writing and I love being a writer but, so far, while profits from my books make my life more pleasant, I still have to generate a more reliable income. When I joined Kindle Boards and saw the figures some people were posting I got very annoyed with my own much slower sales and started spending a lot more time marketing. This did help sales a bit BUT it also took time away from my design business. This past week I had to also face facts -- I'd have to sell between 15 and 20 books per hour to generate the income I make designing! That wasn't happening.

So, basically, if you are self-supporting (don't have a spouse with a good income or a trust fund), then yes, you have to face facts and be honest! I know now that if I want to generate enough income to live on and still find time to write, I can't spend more than an hour a day on marketing. That means sales will suffer but that's just the way life is.

Ranting can get things off your chest but, when the rant is over, the facts are still sitting there staring you in the face.
 

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Frank, we're all with you my friend. Money sucks, but we all need it! :)

I hope you keep writing, in any capacity, because as writers, if we don't write, what the hell do we do then?? I will, in being honest, I'll agree with the comment on covers and blurbs. It's important to have that cover that captures the book and looks really professional. And marketing... well, it's a bitch. But I'd get out there more then - get guest spots on blogs, etc. get on goodreads, etc... and tell you what... you pick a date, ANY date, and I'll have you come by my site and throw up an interview... talk about your books, your plans, etc. AND I'd love to have you stop by another site I run called HorrorChat (www.horrorchat.info) and talk about your books... the Smashwords blurb mentions horror, weird shit going on, which is right up our alley on HorrorChat. I'm booked for June (because it's zombie month) but we can schedule something for July.

You also mention cartoonist... do you have stuff available? I'd love to see it!

This right here is why I LOVE KB and the indie community... many of us are in the same boat and as long as we can try to help each other out, we can get there.

And remember, this is a business and business takes time. I look at my ever growing stack of bills and feel my stomach turn with each passing month.

No pity here for you Frank, like you said, but just a fellow KB friend offering help. ;D

FrankZubek said:
Jenny
Good question
And I'll get personal
I'm moving to a cheaper place next month (as well as closer to my job) to try to stay afloat

The grocery job, while paying the bills, isn't enough where I can enjoy my life

While the writing is very enjoyable most of the time and feeds my muse, I AM doing this for some money so that I don't have to worry so much about living month to month

I'm also a cartoonist and I am trying to find a way (and a theme) to work on and try to make some cash flow that way plus the writing

I am lucky in a way where I don't have to have a second 'real" job in addition to the main day job

I am lucky my wife allows me the time needed to write

I am lucky I DO have a day job that handles most of the monthly expenses

But I AM in a slump of late because I thought I'd be a bit further along financially, creatively.

I guess I need to make a few adjustments since what I am doing now isn't working as well as I had thought it might.

So yes, I am doing this for money. A doubling of current numbers would help out.
And yes..... I am also doing it because I love it so much and I hope it shows in the work.
Kind of tricky double edged sword there

But I have been thinking that I might need to change genres in order to get where I want to be
Hope that answers the question

To Momilp- thanks for the kind words. Yes, I do love Crowell and maybe he'll find his way after I let him go. I think he'll be okay because he's tenacious like I am. But unlike him, I live in a reality that demands I need money every month. I love the guy but hanging out with him most of the time, of late, is costing me money. Time to leave him alone for a bit. I DO plan more in the future but that depends on what I can tweak with my time/life this year and next.
 
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