Thursday, June 8, 2017

Spiraling into disaster

#ActorKid asked me why I was sad this morning so I told her. I figure if I lied then I'm just as bad as all the people who've lied to me, so, I told her what's been going on and how I feel like I'm getting nowhere.

The thing is - she's an actor and I'm a writer. Rejection is part of our world, it is, in fact, normal and you get used to hearing no. It is what it is.
This, however, is not rejection. 
It's not something I can brush off and move on to the next agent/part/whatever. 

This has stemmed from having no one in my corner professionally, from trying to do everything I'm supposed to do (but not getting any feedback so I don't know if anything I do works), from feeling ignored, and I suspect mostly from tackling this industry alone and from having no one capable of offering professional advice - that could’ve headed this mess off before disaster. 

I do know that this isn't new and this has been impacting on my ability to write over the last four years. It has eaten away at my confidence and crushed any belief I had that I can write and tell a story.

The bit I enjoy is writing the book but if the book doesn't sell then what is the point putting in all that time and effort? 

Well-meaning writers have told me all sorts of shit over the last four years (adding a caveat here - generally speaking these well-meaning writers are self-published):

1. Your covers need re-doing, that'll make a huge difference.
- Publisher did that, re-did the whole series. The covers are amazing. Made zero fucking difference.
2. You should ditch your publisher and go it alone.
- If I'm not selling with a publisher and a freaking good editor, I'm not going to sell on my own.
3. It's all about keywords and categories.
- I note no one helps you find said 'magic' keywords, that'll be because they don't freaking exist.
4. Why don't you self-publish?
- um, see above. Also, I have and are they selling hand-over-fist? NO.
5. Facebook ads are good, you should do some.
- Tried that. No difference. Cost me though, so yay.
6. Are you on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest? 
- Oh yeah, all over it, all the time. I've even still got a MySpace account. 
7. Amazon's Author Central? Do you use it?
- Yes, I do. 
8. How about Amazon giveaways?
- Actually yes, I have done a few. Got a ton of followers on Amazon through a giveaway, but, can't see how that's of any benefit until maybe the new book is released. 
9. You're on Kindle Unlimited, right?
- Yep. 
10. Have you a blog and website?
- Of course. is me.
11. Youtube?
- you betcha
12. Book trailers?
- yep, new one is up there now.

And my personal favorite:

13. But you’re such a good writer and your stories are fantastic - you just need more reviews.

Uh huh. Because we all know they’re easy to get, right?
You can give books away in exchange for a fair-review.
You can ask readers who’ve read the books to leave a review - you know those people who tell you how much they love your work to your face or in an email. 
You can bribe people with freebies to leave reviews.

It all sounds so easy, except, I’ve discovered very very few people will follow through.
(People will take free books and you’ll never hear from them again. I’m not even kidding.)
And then there are the ones who loved one or two books and didn’t like one other - so write a review about the one they didn’t like and don’t write any for the ones they LOVED. (Because that’s fair?)

14. Another favorite:
How about running a competition and giving away the first in the series or short stories or whatever?
  • I have lost count how many times I’ve tried that and can count on one hand people who have entered or even put their hand up wanting a copy over the last three years.
Yep - can’t even give them away.

Bonus is they download like hotcakes from pirate sites. I make nothing and the pirate sites make a killing off me.
And still no reviews. Really if you steal the book at least review it.

So yesterday I scoured the internet, I checked stats and rankings from all sorts of authors. Pretty much all the authors with my publisher, then some others who’d cracked on about how well they are doing, and some from some big publishing houses (but not big named authors).

Upshot is - no one with my publisher seems to be doing much of anything.
The indie authors who have been telling me how well they’re doing - appear to have embellished the truth with liberal brush strokes (and potentially a lot of whiskey).
Authors with big houses sell.

Kinda feels like I’m doomed.
Actually, that is exactly what it feels like.
I have no idea how to turn this around especially after having spent the last four years struggling with the problem and having found nothing helpful.

I do not know what my next step will be professionally but I do know I need help and advice. I can't do this on my own anymore. It's too isolating and that becomes dangerous as the rabbit hole deepens. I guess this is the problem when you don't have an agent, there's no one looking out for your best interests, or offering timely advice. 

If that's my lesson, then I've learned it the hard way. 
Writers need an agent or a manager - they need someone who is on their side and can prevent disaster. 

I do know I probably shouldn’t shorten the 10th Byte book by blowing everyone up in a car bomb … no matter how much I want to.

It's so tempting.


Anonymous said...

Cat, I really do feel the same about all you've said here. I've ticked all the boxes in your list as well. More than anything, I tell myself to bring it back to the writing and I'm enjoying writing smaller pieces for online and print publications (plenty of rejections involved in that too). I'm running Goodreads giveaways at the moment, not because I think they will eventuate in reviews and sales, but because I had the opportunity to produce new covers and I spent a great deal of time revising content, so the books deserve more attention though it will be at my expense. No solutions to offer here, but empathy and maybe an encouraging word to keep doing something you love, that is part of your identity. Stay well. Antony

Cat Connor said...

Nice to know someone else is smashing up against the same wall, Antony.
May we both figure this shite out. :)

Charlotte Hawley said...

Done.... I've tried to comment here like 3 times, so if I look like I'm loading the plot (more than usual) it's Google's fault :)

I see you...

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