Time for my bi-monthly blog update. I think that if you are one of the fifteen people who have stumbled on this page, you’ve figured out by now that I am not a huge blogger. I do, however, like to keep people updated on what’s going on, and touch on a few thinsg now and then.
Item #1: Thanks to everyone who signed up for the Goodreads giveaway. As first attempts go, I think it went well. If you are a numbers person, a little over 400 people signed up for it. Will it generate interest? We’ll have to see.
Item #2: BLOOM has been on a mini-blog tour. You can get an idea of that here. The exposure has been good, and I’m glad to see the book getting attention. A little sad that it isn’t reaching more people…
which brings us to…
Item #3: So here you’ve written a book, and you think it’s great. It’s a fantastic book. Everyone who reads it loves it and you’ve gotten nothing but five-star reviews on every possible review site. But…
The numbers suck. You sell maybe one copy a month and most of the reviews you’ve garnered are from free giveaways. So you spam about it on Twitter and Facebook and you try to get more reviewers. Then you start to see that your usual reviewers are sick of doing reviews because of the HUGE influx of indie-published novels floating around on the internet. So now, even the people you thought you could count on for a review don’t want to review anymore. So you tweet again, post on Facebook again (which is really sort of preaching to the choir in this age of social media. If they are following you, they’ve read your stuff. Unless you can count on them to buy a fresh copy every week… which would be weird…) And you wait.
And wait, refreshing that Amazon page, watching your book barely hit that top #100 in its category but still scramble around the depths of the #450.778 on the Amazon rankings.
This, my friends, is why authors drink. Because writing is a science, storytelling is an art, but publishing is a business. It’s a small business, your business. It’s one of a million small business calling themselves indie-published authors out there in this huge ecosystem of indie literature. The rules change like the tide and you find that some of those guys are WAY better at it than you are. Like, way, way better.
So there you sit, gin in hand, staring at the numbers that don’t move. You then fall asleep in the crook of your numb arm, drowning in drool and tears. Sweet, sweet tears.
So, you write something new. You get back up and you start a new project to take your mind off the old one, the magical one that you loved more than anything, but nobody knows about. You work on this new project and suddenly it all doesn’t seem as bad. A year later, you’ve almost forgotten about the last book (it still sells a few here and there but it never caught fire like you hoped). You publish, get reviews, put it out there, and lo and behold people love it! They leave 5-star reviews, can’t put it down! You race to the Amazon page…
And you are #387,900…
You move up to whiskey. You drink and stare at the numbers and you can’t believe it. Another flop, another disappointment. You pour another whiskey and start talking to the monitor until your wife pulls you away from the desk.
But the next morning you look at the stats, the actual stats, the numbers that show what’s really going on. Turns out the people that read book #2 also bought book #1. And now that book #3 is out, people are buying that one AND book #2 and #1.
Do you see where this is going. Fast-forward five years and four books later. People are buying #5, 4, 3, 2, and 1. Maybe your rankings aren’t Neil-Gaiman-good, not Chuck-Wendig-good, but they aren’t bad either. You have what we in the industry call “fans,” people who dig your work and want to see you make more of it. They are the folks where once you hook one, they want to see more of your work–and you’d better have that work ready for them to see.
The harder you work, the luckier you are in this industry. The more books you put out there, the wider a net you have to capture more fans, capture them and store their frozen bodies under your shed–I mean capture them and give them plenty of material to read, plenty of ideas and memories to discover, plenty of feels to feel. And those fans tell other fans and on and on and on… We are sharks in this ocean and we simply don’t have time to rest at the bottom and hope that seal comes to us. We have to keep moving and keep producing or we simply don’t eat at all.
So thank you, fans, all fifteen of you. Every review I read of Bloom is humbling, ever five-star rating feels like a big sloppy kiss on my forehead. Thank you for buying my books for you, for your friends, thank you for telling me you like the stuff I put on a page, because if it wasn’t for that, I’d be working in fast food.
*raises whiskey glass*