Sunday, November 30, 2014
Outlasting the Storm [of Indies]
If you've noticed, this pine cone is nearly white! How did it become that way? Well, it didn't happen in nature. Someone bleached it. The process is, shall we say, a bit of a challenge, dedication, and work. And if you don't know what you're doing, it might not come out right. You see, you take a pail of water, add just the right amount of bleach and let the cones soak over night--or something around 12 hours or so--and then you take them out and rinse them thoroughly, and then, you have to let them dry (either in the sun or an oven). But when finished you have a beautiful ornament--if it works!
So, what's this got to do with writing? As you can see there is a process, an amount of time devoted to making it, and a formula. And if this isn't done quite right, you'll come out with mushy pine cones that smell of bleach. If that happens the only thing you can do is--WHAT? GIVE UP?!!!
No. you go back to the starting point.
I've used this analogy because it is simple. Today's blog is about NOT giving up, but having a bit of a break. And I wanted to bring up a point, too. Something I've been thinking on, recently, and lo-and behold, someone blogged about it. James Scott Bell's post goes into great detail about how some are saying the profits from ebook sales for Indie authors have dropped. He explores/examines the reasons, and gives a couple of links from the Passive Voice blog, where someone has also expounded upon the reason, and goes into more detail than I will here. But, I think you've seen it too. More people are putting up their works over on Amazon than ever before. Bell describes this ocean of titles as "sprouting like steroid-laced Kudzu". And it really is. Why not? Anyone can do it if they've got a cover, and figure out how to get the formatting down. A ten-year old could do it. But should he?
If you are an author, you must have noticed this wave of new authors out there pimping their books/titles on facebook--you know, those groups for writers where you try and pimp your ebooks--to other authors. I think there must be hundreds of them now. I've talked about this before. The only people who you are putting your titles out to are other authors who also are trying to get sales. You aren't gaining new readers by doing this. Not really. Your readership has to come from regular (non-writing) folks. The only way to do this is gain them one at a time, and if they truly like your work, it will be from word-of-mouth. Not by hitting the share button on your book's page over on Amazon a couple hundred times a day. I've done it, yes, but sparingly. I find that the same people are popping up on those groups I belong to on facebook. I'll see the same one or two people over and over down that list, Is it a wonder I've given up trying to compete with them? It's nuts! I don't have the time to waste on this. And it is a waste of my time when I could be doing other things--such as writing or anything else I want, or need to do throughout the day.
But back to what might be going on with sales on Amazon. Okay, I've thought about this a lot. This is why I'm doing something else right now, and not worrying about whether or not I get the 8th book done in the series, because the 5th, 6th &7th are written. They just need some editing, and I'm basically done. My sales were good, and then they went flat. They might pick up when I put out #5, but I need the photo for the next book cover, and my people (photographers), aren't supplying. So, *shrug*.... I won't get all hyper about this. I'm exploring my other creative venues, and I'm just chilling from writing. I don't know how long I'm going to take a break(this time), but it's going to be a break of more than a few weeks. It might be months, or longer.
Some authors who may quit writing because they are experiencing this drop (or stoppage) in sales, or let's just call it a brick wall--because everyone they know has bought their ebooks. They don't understand why no one else will buy it. They'd have to write another book, and then another book, and yet another book... well, you see where I'm going. Yep, in order to get more sales they'd have to simply keep on writing the same old crap. I think the majority of these new Indies are a one- or two-book author, and can't come up with another book idea that would be as good as the first. So, I'm just going to wait this (storm) out and see what happens. Some of these Indies who are considering quitting really should because they aren't really "writers". They had this "great" idea for a book, thought it would make them a lot of money, maybe their initial sales were good--yeah, they probably have a lot of friends and family who supported them and bought their book, but after that, they're finished. They can't come up with another idea for another story. Or, if they did, maybe somewhere in the middle, or the beginning of that next "great" novel, they can't come up with the rest of it, and sort of lose interest in working on it so hard. Well, here's a news flash: they aren't writers. Yeah. I've weathered 30 years of trying to get published either by trying to interest a publisher, or an agent. I didn't quit then, and I'm unable to simply quit writing, so, that seems to pin it down for me.
Let me give you another quote from Mr. James Scott Bell: "...the successful writers are the ones who can't not write. Who exhibit persistence, discipline, production of words. Who write in the face of serial rejection or dismal sales." Well, if this describes you, congratulations! If not. Just get off my cloud.
I'm taking a slight hiatus from writing. When I feel the need I will jot a few notes down, if I have an idea for a scene (which is constant, and I have ideas daily), I will write them down. In the early '90's I took a four-year break. I went into crafts. I worked at a craft store and had a booth there, I also had my crafts in two other stores. But although I made money--checks monthly--I found that I was putting the money back into my crafts. This time, I'm going to concentrate on a few things. I'm not going to broaden my horizons to the point I'm looking over the ocean. Even though I can do just about any craft I put my mind to (including the above one, which I'll try next summer), I'm thinking that working on just a few crocheted things for now might be the best way to start out. Branching out will come later. I've a couple of places nearby who still take crafters--one takes rent, but the rent is beyond me right now (mainly because soon the big season of Christmas will be over, and coming up with $30/month might become impossible, depending upon sales). So, I'm going to play it smart.
Do you have what it takes to outlast those who are out there, hawking their books and finding difficulty in finding new readers? Can you last through the low sales/storm of Indies, and keep on writing? If you truly can't not write, then you need to keep going. I encourage you to keep on going.
As for me... uh, well, this sums it up. I think I'll take a cat nap for a while.