Book sales have been . . . horrible, terrible, and almost nonexistent.
According to my financial advisor, as of today, we made $18.21. We spent $6,485.43 to publish three books. To break even, we need to sell approximately 9600 more books.
Hindsight: Invest the $6,485.43 on one roll of the dice at a crap table where the odds are slightly better, instead of wasting 5 years to write three books which could have been used for doing something else like being a Circus Clown, Wal-Mart Greeter, or Professional Wrestler.
Truth be told, I’m not complaining about the choice I made to self-publish nor am I upset about the money I spent. I actually like writing, though I don’t consider myself to be a writer in the true sense of the word or an author for that matter. I’m just a guy who wrote some things down and put them out there for people to read, much like this blog. Making money is optional.
So, why am I exposing my dirty laundry to the world?
I am writing this because some young or old wanna-be indie-authors out there might not know what they are getting themselves into when they pursue a career in novel writing.
Editing, attractive cover designs, and printing are just a few of the things you will have to pay for, unless you’re lucky enough to have someone who will do them for you, or you do them all yourself. Never edit your own work!
The long hard road to being a successful novelist is paved with frustration, but it doesn’t have to be so painful. Educate yourself before diving into the deep end. Ask a lot of questions. Go to conventions and talk to other self-published authors. Establish a budget. Manage your time effectively.
Yes, all this advice is coming from a person who did none of those things, but it doesn’t mean you have to be as stupid as me.
What will make your book a success?
Write an interesting story is a good place to start. Work hard to eliminate as many errors as possible, and if anyone tells you that your book has to be perfect before publishing, that person is crazy. I find mistakes in books all the time. It happens. It’s not the end of the world. Normal people will understand.
An eye-catching cover is nice, but more importantly, it should be applicable to the story. Same can be said for the title.
An intriguing blurb to attract a reader is essential. (I’m horrible with blurbs)
Effective marketing is also necessary; a subject I am not qualified to offer an opinion on. I have no clue on how to create a buzz for books. “Hey, I wrote three books!” is not working for me.
If you are a new and unknown writer and hoping to be traditionally published, I suggest you write a marketable novel. I’ve been rejected 247 times and have stopped sending out query letters. Yup, it took 247 times to make me final realize that my story wasn’t what they wanted. It should have also told me that being a Circus Clown was a better career option.
After all is said and done, I did learn one thing in five years.
Looking forward is the same as looking backward if you do nothing.
Therefore, I will write another book this winter.
“Seriously, Mr. Kafka!? You’re gonna write another book? You promised to take me to the North Pole this winter to find out if Santa Claus really lives there!”
“I’m sorry, jimmy, but this is something I must do, and besides, there is no Santa Claus. He doesn't exist.”