Keep Calm and Carry On

My friend asked me the other day, “are you super relieved you finished your books?” She was referring to my seemingly gigantic undertaking of finishing the latest book in my Sex, Life, & Hannah series, and then redesigning and republishing all three books in that series so that they can be available on Amazon and I can get out of the distribution and shipping side of things. Seven years ago, when I first started this crazy book writing and publishing venture, I would have answered, “yes.” But now, I feel like the writing and publishing is the easiest part and the relief only comes when you’ve successfully convinced enough people to buy your book.

The book world has changed dramatically, and even though the Internet has opened up a slew of opportunities for people like me (authors with no agent or major publishing house backing them), the road to becoming a commercially successful author is not any easier. Consumers have more options than ever before, and there are more opinions than ever before on what they should preoccupy their free time with, which feels like less time than ever. Content is fragmented, quality seems to be secondary, and while word-of-mouth is still king, luck feels like the only thing you can rely on.

Last week, while searching the Internet on new ways to get the word out about my Sex, Life, & Hannah book series, I stumbled upon a post by author Joe Konrath that I think every aspiring author should read. It reminded me that becoming a successful author was not something I was just going to be able to check off my list and move on from. It was something I was going to have to dedicate to the long haul. It was something I was probably going to have to do on the side, and grind away at, until I hit that stroke of luck. And until I hit it, I would just have to keep calm and carry on.

Here are my fave quotes from that post:

“Sales involve luck. Luck is all about random chance, which can’t be predicted or planned for. There is no magic bullet for generating big sales.”

“The more books you have for sale, and the more you keep adding to your virtual shelf-space, the better you’ll do.”

“If your sales are in the gutter, switch genres. Get a pen name. Try something different. Play with the cover art and product description. Switch the category label. There is no surefire path to success, but if you want to hit a home run, you gotta swing at everything.”

“People seek out two things: information and entertainment. Offer them freely, and they’ll come to you.”

“There’s a word for a self-published writer who never gives up… rich.”

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