Often the fear of failure prevents one from stepping out and trying something new. I published the first book of my series in paperback and it was a dismal failure. It cost me a lot financially.
My wife later demanded that I attend a class on how to publish eBooks and I refused. I had learned my lesson and didn't want to suffer another failure. I told her I absolutely refused to go to that class.
After I got out of the class, I published the first three books on kindle eBooks. They all three became bestsellers. The rest is history. Now all seven books have been the number one bestseller at my genre and I hope my next series will do as well.
The real failure in life is refusing to fail. It is from those failures that we become stronger and better able to cope with those things life will send our way. That's why I say to new authors (and I am one)
"Never...Ever...Give up." Success can happen to any of us. You just have to give it a chance.
I have had to reINVENT myself over the years as a writer again and again; have likely had more failures than most people would have ever had the patience to bounce back from. Have had more rugs pulled from beneath my feet by agents, editors, and publishers, and the system. Have had agents tell me, "I love it...can't get the scenes outta my mind, Rob, but I can't sell it." That was Children of Salem....my life's work -- huge amount of research, writing, rewriting and failed so many times, rejected so many times, my then wife at the time claimed the book about witchcraft had a CURSE on it. The agents predetermined that no editors they worked with would go for it, any editors who saw a partial package presupposed their publisher or the committee would not go for it.
I started out writing YA historicals and got so excited when my first ever accepted got a response that it was in a class with Johnny Tremain! Wow....then the company went out of business....like a kick in the teeth because I had gone ahead and written four more YAs for them in the meantime....DEAD End...
Went on to do msytery but was told they need horror....One editor turned down a mystery I waa calling Downfall. I called her up and insisted she tell me why this perfectly good book was not purchased. This was Dorchester bks. when they were known as Tower....long time ago. Jane responded, "We are moving to 80,000 words and horror is what we need, not mystery. Your book is mystery and it is 60,000 words. My reply was, "Give me a contract and I'll rewrite the book to with 20,000 more words with a monster." Jane said OK...right then and there over the phone. The end result was published as Brain Watch published in paperback and out of print for over 20 years until I became an Indie Author thanks to Kindle and ebook technology when I brought it out as BRAIN STEM.
My dream as a young person was to do historical books; with the end of my medical examiner series and my other police procedural series coming on the same day from my agent of the time passing along the bad news, I decided to go back to historicals recently -- Children of Salem was dusted off and redone and put up as an ebook. This after I did the 1893 City for Ransom tales, a trilogy with HarperCollins. Since then I did a 4th Ransom in Titanic 2012, and I followed this up with Bismarck 2013 - mixing historical with horror and science fiction.
Failures need be turned into helpful experience, the crooked road to where one is today. I have had four pen names to accomodate various genres I have had to reinvent for. But as I was trying to say ealier, as a kid, I dreamed of being my own damn publisher as I just needed to do it myself but there were no good ways to self-publish without going to the poor house until NOW. I have embraced Kindle publishing like no one else -- in fact all my books are kindle titles, and my last five titles, maybe six now have been Original to Kindle titles. That is I did not bother any further with NYC but went straight to Kdp to publish the finished book.
Children of Salem was turned down by everyone in NYC and many another place, by every agent who looked at it, by the editor who worked on the three Ransom titles with me, etc. and so on. Titanic was turned down by the editor who worked with me on the three original Ransom titles even though this was placing Ransom on board the Titanic and chasing down an ancient evil that has also gotten aboard. Children has been my top seller, Titanic is starting to gather a following, and Bismarck was placed up a couple of weeks ago. Others I put up straight to kindle are Bayou Wulf and Dead On Writing, a how-to. My next title which could never find a home in NYC publishing due to its being a Dead Series continuiation will be Criminal Instinct, a 13th Instinct title, defying the out of print nonsense of traditional publishing.
Well, my foreclosed cover change and freebie were a complete failure. They did not lead to any sales at all, but in fact to two new returns and of course 1400 freebies flying off of the shelf. I'm trying not to be too disappointed. Daniel pointed out that sales really effect my mood. He's right. I shouldn't let it but you know...orthodontist bills for a seven year old and all that. Whine whine whinge whinge. I keep on keeping on by after a spectacular last coupla days I wish I had left well enough alone, you now? Ah well
That's not exactly true, Joanna. Noddy is famous for having a very tidy house, amongst other things. But just to look at Noddy, he's obviously OCD.
I go with Rob's dare to fail mantra, but sometimes the risks are too worrying for us to try to dare to fail.
A couple of weeks ago the girls at karate had me try to learn how to do a cartwheel for the first time in my 49 years. It wasn't great, but I went straight to the swimming pool and did a tumble-turn for the first time in my life. On the other hand, I've decided not to attempt Select. I have some Smashwords sales and I had a good free run with Peril in November, shifting 15,000 copies on dot com (about 15 returns). Sales have improved as a result but not massively.
.> I go with Rob's dare to fail mantra, but sometimes
the risks are too worrying for us to try to dare to
Only the dead know peace -- Spanish Proverb
On the other hand, I've decided not
to attempt Select. I have some Smashwords sales and I
had a good free run with Peril in November, shifting
15,000 copies on dot com (about 15 returns). Sales
have improved as a result but not massively.
SELECT on kdp is NOT for everyone, and it s a hugely experimental trial deal going on, and while authors are racking up big big numbers of Take Away's, Freebies....well these are not earning a dime, so unless you are playing the odds that the freebies will act as dividends for future sales (which may or may not be true...many believe NOT), then it may well not be for you. A lot of cheers and jeers going on about the program already. Cheers for giving a person a chance at rankings even if for a short time, being places alongside bestsellers there from Clive Cussler to Patricia Cornwell, etc., cheers for the sheer numbers of people with the book within some proximity of actually being read (on their Kindle readers but so too are hundreds others they have picked up as freebies, so when will they actually be read? Jeers from some who say this is only hurting REAL sales, and this looks to be true at least until the novelty wears off, which may or may not come soon. But for now it is a fact of KDP life; no matter which side of the argument one is on, we are having to deal with it. As when a storm comes. How we deal with it is more important than anything else....attitude, the one string we can play, the one thing we can control, our own attitude.
My Original to Kindle titles - Titanic 2012, Bismarck 2013, Children of Salem are all historical thrillers; Bayou Wulf is flat out nasty fun horror, Deja Blue is sequel to PSI Blue, paranormal detective, female lead, Dead On Writing is a how-to to die for... None of these have ever seen print anywhere else ever! I am nowadays "all in" via Kindle Indie publishing. Have not written a query or pitch letter or rec'd a rejection letter in about four years now. My stress level is way down as a result.
I am having to take on more editing jobs, ghosting, doing what I call "book autopsies" and "resuscitations", and doing more online classes to make ends meet but that's OK, too.