It has been a few weeks since I’ve been vocal about what’s happening with my writing and my ebooks. I’m finally ready to share what’s new in my world, as it pertains to self-publishing.
Speaking as an unknown author, writing and self-publishing my own books online have been both a blessing and a source of aggravation for me. With more than a dozen ebook titles to my credit; it’s a shame that I have to admit to myself that I’m still virtually an unknown author. I did a lot of buildup with the pre-release of one of my latest publications, Shut Up and Write. I exerted a lot of effort to effectively promote and market the book before the April 9, 2016 release. In spite of this fact, thus far, the sales reflect how really uneventful the launch turned out to be. Just as in the past, with so many of my other titles, the book is barely being noticed. Needless to say, this has done very little to elevate my author status.
Shortly after the book was released, I noticed a peculiar thing. I found myself starting to feel down, instead of optimistic about the future of the ebook. The feeling was familiar because I’d felt the same way about my first published novel in 2014. In fact, it was the same for all the publications that I actually had high hopes for. Not all of my ebooks required a lot of time or effort, even though they are nice reads, and contain accurate information. So while I clearly didn’t expect them all to do well from the start, there were some that I placed a lot more confidence in. But sitting idly by and watching your new book stats can provide a rude awakening. If you’re not careful, this can lead to a real problem. The kind that makes you second-guess who and what you are and causes you to be inactive.
In 2014, following the book of my novel, I was very happy about the future success of my book. I didn’t expect to be thrust into the realm of best seller or anything crazy like that. Only that people would read the book and provide true feedback about the story, the characters and the setting. Of course, that would spell book sales, but the reviews that I expected, would also serve to validate me as a serious author. When basically nothing happened, and my life continued on just the same as it had been, I was crushed. I quickly buried the feeling of defeat and turned my focus away from my new book. After spending a few months of desperately trying to market my novel, I gradually moved on and started writing for a new web business, thereby assisting with someone else’s dream, instead of continuing to pursue my own. I realize this now, but I didn’t see it at the time. I was too hurt, defeated, and disgusted about the lack of success my book seemed to be having. The only way I could feel that I hadn’t failed was to pretend that I hadn’t wanted it as badly as I did.
New Book “Baby Blues”
I know that there are lots of new and existing authors who can relate to the low feeling you get when the world doesn’t seem to see you. Even though we have successfully accomplished more than the average person ever will (journalistically speaking), that doesn’t stop us from beating ourselves up over the lack of book sales. Nor does it stop us from second-guessing our own talent and worth. I’m not normally one to hold pity parties, but for some strange reason, when it comes to my writing, I get extremely emotional, if not irrational. If this happens to you, particularly after having completed and published a new book, you may have a touch of what I like to call the new book “baby blues.” I believe this happens in a similar way that a new mother who has given birth to a perfectly healthy baby goes into a brief depression.
Most authors spend months working on a book, whether it is a full length novel, or a comprehensive non-fiction project containing lots of detail. Just think about all the time, effort and attention that you spend researching, compiling, writing, editing and re-writing your book. You develop a closeness with it, especially when you write a novel with diverse characters and settings. After I finished my book, Experimenting with Murder, I found myself actually missing the New Zealand island that the story revolved around!
Overcome Baby Blues
For an author to overcome this type of baby blues, it takes a conscious effort, otherwise you could lose your zeal for writing altogether. Since I was no stranger to the feelings that I mentioned above, I thought I was prepared to deal with them this time around with Shut Up and Write. The first couple of weeks proved me wrong. Just a few days after the book release and no substantial sales, I felt that dark feeling beginning to creep in. I also began to lose the initial enthusiasm and zeal that I’d been feeling. My new Self-published blog was an attempt to stay focused on selling ebooks as opposed to simply trying to promote them. I came up with what I thought was a perfectly good idea, but apparently, I’m the only one who seems to think so. My initial purpose for this website didn’t pan out right away.
Needless to say, this did very little to help me feel any better. Before I knew what was happening, I had stopped all efforts to promote and market my new guide, or anything else for that matter. But one night, well after midnight (when I do my best thinking), I sat down to my computer and started looking through some old articles I’d written. Without another thought, I simply began modifying the material, preparing to create a new ebook. I now know that the best way for an author to overcome those self-defeating new book baby blues is to write another book!
Just Keep Writing
It is almost two months since the release of Shut Up and Write, and I realize that I can’t keep looking back to check the book’s progress. The only way for me to chase those nasty blues away is to look ahead, and keep writing. Since the April release, I’ve already published five additional ebooks. My goal is to just keep writing and try not to worry about the sales (or lack of them). Of course, churning out simple little ebooks that provide tidbits of wisdom is not the same as laboring for months over a full length book. But for now, it will have to do. I’m much happier watching my book titles as the numbers increase, than watching my book stats that seem to stay in one place! When it comes to book sales, it’s like boiling water. It only happens when you’re not looking.