While I understand the hardship (see my last blog post for verification), I'm against all the coddling. Like every industry, the book world is changing. Part of that change is that in the last two years, the number of books available via online retailers has tripled. Let me say that again: BOOKS HAVE TRIPLED IN THE LAST TWO YEARS.
Wondering why your book sales have dropped? Look no further. While we're all supportive and friendly and all that shit, we're still small businesses, which means we're all in competition. Maybe it's not an all out sprint race (it's more like a freaking marathon that never ends), but the competition is there, in our faces every day.
I'm sure this will piss some people off, but I'm beyond caring. (No one is surprised by that)
So, in true #DawnPendleton fashion, I'm adding to this post some of the things I've heard my peers, bloggers, and readers say about the book world this past year. And I'm going to tell you all why it's a bunch of shit.
"It is what it is."
When did we become so submissive?
I don't want to be part of a world that we all roll over to. Newsflash: we're better than that. Instead of accepting what is, I say we band together to change it.
"I'm not in it for the money."
I'm not in any way implying that people ONLY write for money, but it does play a part in what we do, whether it's part-time or our only source of income. If you truly didn't care about money, all your books would be free or you'd be publishing them on WattPad.
In some way or another, we're all in it for the money.
"I don't know how to sell more books."
Instead of harboring a bad attitude about poor sales, be proactive. Talk to a PR consultant (or someone with a marketing degree), or even your peers about how to boost sales.
Many bigger-name authors (by which I mean best-selling) have written a multitude of blog posts about tips to increase sales and driving readers to your books. If you need new ideas, brainstorm. And if you brainstorm in a group, all the better. Some things work for some people. If something isn't working, try something different!
"My book should sell well, <insert bestselling author name here> blurbed it."
If all it took was a blurb, everyone would be on a list.
"I don't have the money to spend on promotion because I'm not making any money."
Aside from the fact that we pay for editng, cover design, formatting, and any other book-publishing stuff, marketing is a beast.
Think about it this way: A start-up small business out in the real world (one with no digital products or delivery), has all the initial costs to set-up, obtaining and shelving product, promotion to get people through the door, plus payroll (OR they work a million hours a week themselves and still don't cut a paycheck). Most small businesses don't last a full year. And those that do are frugal. The ones that do well, even without a lot of sales, are the ones that have a lot of capital. Be prepared to fund your business for the first five years. And I'm not talking about KickStarter or one of the funding sites - when you start your self-publishing business, you should have enough money to last you at least a year, which means you should be able to fully fund 4-8 books without any royalties. If you can't, then I don't want to hear about you not making any money.
My husband says it all the time: you gotta have money to make money. And it's true.
For the record, my husband also funded the first six months of my writing career (editing, covers, formatting) until I started making money. Even now, there's a minimum amount that I need to make in order for me to continue doing this full-time.
"I read that popular book and it's no good - why is everyone buying it?"
PS - There's a difference between disliking a book and assuming judgment over how much they sell.
In short, I'm a bitch.
Here are some ideas for you to consider, when it comes to promoting your book (AKA, this is FREE advice I've gathered over the past two years):
~Retailers - put your books on all retailers instead of just one exclusively (like Amazon). You might not get thousands of sales, but those ten sales a month could mean the difference between mac n' cheese or steak for dinner one night.
~Create and use a newsletter (I use MailChimp)
~Chapter Swaps (ask your peers to do a chapter swap at the back of a book and make sure to include buy links)
~Blog - a lot of readers like to hear honesty from their favorite authors instead of just promotion. Blog occasionally about nonsensical stuff.
~Utilize social media, but don't get bogged down - a lot of times, we spend too much time on social media and that's when procrastination comes in.
~Change something. I'm talking price, covers, story tags, anything that will draw more attention and keep your book in front of new readers.
~Use BookBub. Seriously, BookBub can make quite a difference in your sales, especially if you're doing a sale. I've done a free ad and a $0.99 sale ad and my results varied, but I still made back the money I spent on my ad, plus, my books are now on the Kindles of more people than who had it before. #winning
~Free books. I'm on the fence with this. I've used it in the past and it spurred an amazing amount of sales to the second book (first in a series free)... But lately, I've seen a decline in the carry over sales. So... I recommend trying it to see what it does, but if you don't start seeing transferring sales, I'd stop.
Love you all.