One of those Weeks
It was the best of weeks, it was the worst of weeks, it was a time of great toiling, it was a time of great fun, it was a time of triumph, it was a time of failure, it was a time of joy, it was a time of grief.
Seriously. The publication of Jessa and the Lost Goddess was a high point in my week. Completing the second novella in the Chosen by the Masters series was another. I got to go to the zoo with the kids for the first time. I got to hang out with friends that I hadn't seen in a while and that's always a blast. Work wasn't as stressful as it has been in months past.
The Andromeda's Captain was entered into a cover contest (I submitted it into InD'Tale Magazine for a review and I guess they liked the cover enough to enter it in their weekly contest, which was very flattering). But after promoting the crap out of it on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter every day this past week, and asking my newsletter subscribers to please, please, please vote for my cover, I still ended up losing. Which was hard. I mean, when I saw the other covers, I thought to myself, "That one is probably going to win. It's REALLY pretty." Still, a part of me hoped to be recognized. Death's Curses won an award earlier in the month and I guess, now that I've gotten a taste for it, I want more validation. I want more proof that I'm not wasting my time and everyone else's, that I'm not just another voice clogging up the internet with my content and my books.
Despite the positive reviews I've gotten for Jessa so far, I haven't seen very many book sales yet. And that's hard too. I want to be that author who is, like, "I'm not in this for the money. I just love to create!" But I can't. I do love to create. I love it so much that I want to be able to quit my day job and write full time. So, yeah, I have to care about book sales. Despite all of the articles I've read, all of the free marketing seminars and paid classes, despite all the advice I've gotten from other indie authors, I still feel like I don't know anything about book marketing. Because nothing I've tried has boosted my sales.
Promoting myself is exhausting. Scheduling social media posts, putting books on sale, coordinating with book advertising and promotion sites, creating ads, emailing reviewers, cranking out those newsletters and these blog posts every month; it's a lot of work. And to not see any significant growth after all of that work is discouraging. I go through phases where I'm super positive, dedicated to researching new marketing techniques and coming up with new ways to promote without sounding like a used car salesman. And then there are weeks like this past week where I look at my sales reports and feel like....like crawling under the covers and never emerging again. Like sitting in the shower and bawling my eyes out. I'm never going to stop writing. I wouldn't even know how to stop. But the possibility that I may never be able to quit my day job, that I will have to balance work, writing, mothering, and adulting forever and ever amen? Soul-crushing.
I would love to hire someone, a publicist, a book marketing specialist, a social media expert, what have you. But there's this little green thing called money (which I don't have) that is needed if I'm to hire anyone. If I knew how to acquire said green thing, then I wouldn't need to hire someone. It's a vicious cycle.
Someone once said that getting published was only the beginning, that getting published was the easy part. It WASN'T easy, by the way. But, I have to admit, this is harder.
I'm not sharing any of this to get sympathy, honestly, I'm not. I want to be a positive influence, someone to entertain you, make you laugh, maybe distract you from some of the difficult stuff you're facing right now. But I want to be genuine too. I want to be able to admit that I'm not always okay. I don't live in a land of rainbows and unicorns. I struggle too.
Despite it all, I'm a woman of action. I can't stay down forever. I'm kind of obsessed with progress. So I've downloaded another free book marketing manual. I'm concocting a plan for my next book launch. I'm trying to build my reviewer list a little bit (if anyone is interested in reading any of my books in exchange for an honest review , PLEASE contact me!). I'm trying to figure out which book promotion services are actually helping and which I should stop using. I'm looking at other indie authors, following who they're following on social media, joining the groups they are, in the hopes of gleaning some new nugget of wisdom that I might've missed. Moving forward the only way I know how. Because, yeah, it's hard and it sucks and I would love to give up this part about being an author, but I can't right now. If I just drop off the face of the earth, then there's REALLY no chance my books will ever make a profit, right? I'll survive until I've saved up my pennies and can actually hire an expert.
PS: To those of you who faithfully follow my blog, or follow me on social media, or have subscribed to my newsletter, or have reviewed my books: THANK YOU SO MUCH! You are the reason I'm doing any of this. Knowing that SOMEONE out there is reading keeps me going in the darkest of times.