I'm in the same boat you are. May and so far June have been disasters after a promising start to the year. But I don't think writing is pointless. It keeps you off the streets and keeps your mind and wit sharp.
I write for three reasons. First, I love to write. I love to pour my imagination into something. Second, I have to write. If it wasn't for writing I'd go mad. Third, I have a hope that I might win approval of the reading public. I want their approval because I feel I have created compelling characters that deserve their day in the sunshine. I want their approval for the money, too.
But if the money never comes. I will write anyway. It's who I am.
[i]True, but really wanting something is a great motivator. Certainly, one must really want to be a doctor to make it through med school.[/i]
Absolutely, but they must still study and work to achieve their goal.
Anyone can write and publish a book these days, but the hugely successful authors are the ones who work at the craft and continually hone their skills. That's not to say that everyone has the talent to succeed as an author. Some will work their tails off and still not succeed, but it's not going to just fall into someone's lap.
I've read a lot of posts lately where people complain that the old-timers have 'locked up' the sales on Amazon and newbies cannot succeed. That's ridiculous. This isn't the old west where the first settlers to arrive staked out claims to the best land and everyone else had to suffer with the leftovers. What they're ignoring is that the old-timers were here first because they had already been striving to be accepted as authors for many years. They had completed manuscripts which had been written and rewritten numerous times as they tried to find a publisher, and recognized the opportunities here when they were presented.
Everyone has an equal chance to succeed here, but too many arrive with unrealistic expectations. They see old-timers who have been working at the craft for years, and even decades, putting up terrific numbers and then look at their own sales and lament that the opportunities are gone. To be successful here it takes a quality product, some marketing effort, and time to develop a following. The quality product comes from studying the craft and learning the 'secrets' to writing a good book, then working to produce something that people want to buy and will tell their friends and relatives to buy.
Like I have said about a thousand times in the last two years -- the only way to really lose is to give up.
First, take a look at your cover art and your blurb. You can promote until the cows come home, but if your blurb doesn't grab them and if you cover art is a turn off, you are wasting your time. The good news is, you can chance all of it repeatedly until you find something that works. I am always happy to help when I can. Post your blurb here and I'll do what I can. If you would rather, just post a link to your book.
Be advised, sometimes it sounds harsh when people try to help, but it isn't meant to...from most people. There are some, but just ignore them. If you don't want to expose yourself to a little harshness, see below.
This will sound like an ad, but frankly, I don't have time to help everyone, so I put some of what I know in an ebook ($.99) The short version is this:
1 Chose a character
2 describe the problem
3 add a hook ( a hint of what's to come or a question the reader will buy to get the answer to.)
All I can say is that if you give up, you are guaranteeing that your books never will sell. Ever heard of the analogy of the man who gave up on digging his gold mine just a foot from the seam? It only takes one book to catch the public's imagination and you are off. You might have to write ten books to reach that point or you may be lucky and reach it earlier, but if you give up now, you will never reach it.
It is true that the market is swamped with free books, which is why I am no longer a member of KDP Select, but the other thing to consider is the quality of your work. A lot of those free books are badly-written, poorly-edited nonsense that would be very lucky to find a reader willing to pay for them. They will drop out of sight sooner or later. The good stuff will remain. Ensure that your work is part of the good stuff.
When I had just one book on KDP, it took me two years to make payout. I didn’t publish my second book until two years later - Dec 2011. I made payout that month. I continued to add titles, and my sales continually increased.
For the last four weeks, I have been selling an average of 100 a day. Yet, I have 40 titles. That doesn't include what I do at Smashwords and B&N.
Some might say that is not much for 40 titles. Is it worth it to me? You betcha.
Personally i started to write simply because I enjoy it... it started out as a small hobby that I took up in my free time (while waiting for clients in between therapy sessions). If you wanted to make it a career, get a massive pay out for it or are in it just to make some cash, then indie publishing is not an appropriate option. That's what this is... indie publishing.... like an independent film that usually makes no money.
I do it for fun... hey, maybe it'll turn into something I can do for a pay check, but I wouldn't bet on it.
If you're in it for a point other than personal growth and entertainment, then yes... it is pointless. If you really love it, then continue to do it :] If not, then find a new hobby... c'est la vie....
Take some time to post other things on Twitter and Facebook besides your book. Post interesting articles about a variety of subjects to your followers. I post things from Publisher's weekly and Publisher's market to other writers. On twitter you can use hash tags and post about interesting books to other readers. Hash tags (#) extend your reach beyond your followers. When people see you posting interesting things, they want to follow you. As you gain more followers, tweet an occasional link about your book.
What was almost pointless was the traditional way of getting published. Why put all of that energy into writing a book and maybe never even finding an agent, much less getting a publisher? Why spend $5000 dollars having books printed by a vanity press and have boxes of them in the garage years later?
But with this new publishing model, the question should never be "is it worth the effort?" The question should be, "what can I do better?" Both for your readers and yourself.
[i] It only takes one book to catch the public's imagination and you are off. [/i]
This happened to me. Six books all up for sale and selling in ones and twos for a year then BAM! One book took off and the others all started selling. I am guessing the readers liked the book and used the links in the back to check out my other genres.
I cannot live on my royalties yet, but i can pay the rent. In a year? Who knows, maybe I will be paying the rent and buying my groceries too
I also feel the same way. I had one book and people advised that if i put more on site I would begin to have sales. I have followed every scrap of advise but have only had one sale from anyone other than friends. I give my books away now just because i can't bear the brown bar. I have nearly finished my third but with the wolf knocking on my door and family issues I am wondering whether I should call it a day. I love writing but the real world keeps interrupting my dream. Good luck to you all.
I honestly think you have to be careful when you are first putting your book out to the public. I know we sometimes want to rush things, and it comes back to bite us in the butt. Take the first time you publish your book for example. This is the way I see it. You only have one shot to make that first impression. So, you need to make sure your blurb is good, cover is good, and your book is formatted right. Why did it take me a year to figure this out? I don't know! However, you have to be methodical about the process. Take Smashwords of example. Once you publish on that site your book is easy to find. However, it you have to keep taking it down time and time again, you lose your footing.
So it isn't pointless, you have to continue writing. If you want something you have to fight for it.
It certainly is very difficult at the moment but I'm taking the optimistic view.
I've written 5 novels over the past 10 years and like many people here got no where with trad publishers.
I put the first one up on Amazon in Jan and I now have 3 published with a 4th due later this month. I'm happy with my sales- 30/40 a month so far in total...nothing, I know, compared to some of the big hitters but that's way above my expectations as a complete unknown and that's 30 odd books per month more that my novels were selling while gathering digital dust on my PC.
The thing is, a lot of writers see these "breakout" kings and think--why isn't it happening to me? They don't take the time to really look past the impressive immediate media coverage or blurbs to see that "breakout big selling author" has been working hard at their career/craft for 10, 15, 20 years. Okay, some get lucky and are immediate hits, but even those often have a huge following for something else prior to their first novel release. http://www.tamiparrington.com