Wednesday, March 13, 2013

These Books Are Not Going to Write Themselves

I have been working so hard on promoting The Hunter’s Son that I forgot the most important part of being an author: Writing. Writing has become a bit of an afterthought in my life and it is starting to stress me out. I’m not sure I will ever be at the Stephen King level of production (read “On Writing”, it will make you want to be an author even if you don’t right now) , but I try to put down at least 5000 words a week plus blogging, Facebook and Twitter. All this plus my full-time job is starting to wear me down. I am battling the voices in my head that scream for sleep when I’m writing and scream for writing when I should be sleeping. I definitely need to find a bit of balance in my personal life, writing life and career. That should be easy, right?
I have taken a few days off from writing The Hunter’s Vengeance (currently about a quarter of the way finished) and am considering pumping out some short stories over the next week to get up on Amazon in the near future. I have some ideas for some short story collections I may try to put up for free or 99 cents to get some buzz going for The Hunter’s Son and because I think I have some pretty good ideas. I figure the more I have online for readers to stumble across the better off I will be.  
I know I need to get my priorities straight with my writing. I decided to become an author so I could share my love of storytelling with the world, not so I could be Don King behind a keyboard. The land of promotion for self-published authors appears to be uncharted at times. That being said, I have run into some really great people out there who are more than willing to share their ideas, experiences and tricks. I figured self-publishing would be like anything else; a cutthroat competition to see who can move the most units the quickest. I have seen over the last few weeks that I was totally wrong.
All the self-published authors I have run into have been friendly, gracious and helpful. It truly is one of the nicest communities of people I have been a part of online. Everyone seems to have the same goal in mind and they are plenty happy to see other authors succeed. I have tried to pass this on to some of the people I have met recently and have had the opportunity to share what I have learned. Heck, maybe my next book should be about self-publishing. Someone has to write the next 99 cent bestseller on how to sell 99 cent bestsellers.
Where did all the sales go?
The Hunter’s Son was doing pretty well on Amazon for a few weeks. I figure this is because my family, friends and Facebook acquaintances were busy snatching up my book as soon as it came out (mostly because I bugged them like crazy until the submitted). Then things started to dry up. I did a free promotion through KDP Select without much outside promotion to get the book in the hands of a few hundred people, which is exactly what happened. For a few days, I was #13 on Amazon’s list of Teen Horror books. That was pretty cool, but I did not enjoy the post giveaway bump (something most authors have been saying has disappeared without further promotion).
At first I was pretty upset about this, but was talked back down to Earth by my editor. Did I really expect to sell 10,000 books because I gave away 400? Part of me answered yes to that question. I mean, my book is pretty awesome so it should just sell. Those crazy ideas are gone and have been replaced by my first Orangeberry Book tour. I am going to hit 10 blogs over the next 15 days and will get some promotion on Twitter. It was a pretty cost effective way to get some promotion and I will update on how things go as it progresses. Hopefully, I will sell a few books, get some more good reviews on Amazon and start getting back to writing.
That’s what this is all about for me after all. I want my life to be about family and writing. I just hope I have the time for both. We shall see. 

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