Thursday, September 10, 2015

Expectations, Disappointments, and Stress. Let it Go #Opinion @KarynGerrard #Writing

There is a lot of truth in the statement above. Ever since I was a kid, I do not take disappointment well. Is it a sign of selfishness, that its all about me and my little world? Maybe. I'm not perfect. Who is?

But the stark reality of being published is you are going to be disappointed more often than not. Let's get the depressing stuff out of the way.

Another small e-pub just closed making 5-6 romance ones that I know of this year, and there may be more yet. Book sales (mass market) are down again, 6%, and e-book sales continue to drop as well. Sales of e-readers are in free fall, (most people are now reading on tablets and phones) and the dire predictions digital was going to kill print for good has not come to pass. I'm sure New York is exhaling in relief.

But the outlook is not rosy (not even for NY). Social media is useless for trying to sell your books as the algorithms have been tweaked so tight, no one is seeing your posts or tweets. It's an exercise in futility. So how do you get your name out there? Good luck. All those so-called experts can pound sand. No way am I going to stress over marketing and branding any longer. It's not worth it.

Nor would I recommend checking your sales rankings constantly. Sales are down everywhere, right across the board. In one group I'm in, a top seller (NYT, USA Today) in erotic romance e-books says her sales are down, so if she can't sell any books, what makes me think I will? Or you?

Dire? I'm not sure. Maybe the market is correcting itself. The previous e-book/small e-pub sales strategy is not sustainable in the current market. The Big 5 and other large NY pubs have gone all-in on romance e-books which I'm sure has put the squeeze on smaller pubs. They use the 99 cent price point constantly, have bigger ad budgets, and really, how can small e-pubs compete with that as well as self-pubbing authors also pricing at 99 cents and all you can read programs like Kindle Unlimited? And let's not forget the flood of box sets, there seems to be no end to them.

Everything has changed. No use lamenting the good old days of 2008 or even 2013, because they are GONE. If you are in this for the money, then you will have to write to the market, which seems to be bear shifter billionaire bikers/ultimate fighters/cowboys. Which is cool. I admire writers who can shift (no pun intended!) and adapt to what's popular.

But not everyone can do it or chooses to do it, and that's cool, too. You have to do what's right for you, what your gut tells you. Personally, I've taken a couple of steps toward more mainstream romance, I'm writing what I want to write.

Another piece of advice, don't get your hopes up if you do sign with a bigger pub (big 5 or not) that it means instant big sales and recognition. It doesn't. While it may be a notch on your own personal belt that a well-known NY pub likes your writing, it doesn't mean all your wishes will come true.

Wow, I sound like a sour puss, don't I?

Well, here's the good news. You are a published author. Do you know how many people out there wish they had the talent and discipline to sit in front of a computer monitor and write a story worth reading? Outside of some people snickering over the romance genre, they do look at me and say "I admire you, I wish I could do it."
I know there are a lot of self-pubbed stories out there that many say should never see the light of day, but I'm not a literary snob. Thanks to  self-publishing, those snotty gatekeeper days are over (well, for the most part)
You wrote a story and published it at Amazon? Hurray! That took guts. That took courage. Did it make you happy? All the better!

And finding joy in writing is really what it's all about. If pressure over marketing, sales, branding, reviews, dodgy publishers, and social media are getting you down, LET IT GO. You have to or it will kill the joy and satisfaction out of writing and crafting a story you love. Also, don't let it eat into your family time. Try not to let yourself become overwhelmed. It's not worth it. Really, it isn't.

Things I need to keep reminding myself about over and over. The pub business is what it is, take your successes where you can find them, and no, the successes are not just all about money. If you gauge your writing success by the $$$, you WILL be disappointed at one time or another. You love to write? Good. Keep doing it. But don't ever lose the joy. Don't raise expectations too high and do not let the peripheral stuff stress you out or take over your life.

Let. It. |Go.

Cheers. Happy Writing~


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