I am going to tell you the bad news first, so strengthen yourself if you are an author or are an aspiring writer. Then I’ll give you the sunshine.
I was on Facebook the other day and saw an author despairing over her non-existent sales. Here are some awful truths, she may not know.
- Writing a fiction book is hard work. Marketing that book is just as hard, harder if you don’t know how to market. What makes it tougher is that marketing is always in flux. Platforms change their rules and up their prices. What worked 10 years ago won’t work today. Studying marketing on a continuous basis ends up on being a side hobby for authors that make a very, very small profit.
- Only less than 1% of the fiction book authors in the world are rich from the sales of their books. I’ve talked to a lot of famous authors and they all tell me the same thing. They started making real money when they sold the movie rights to a huge studio. One author told me, “God bless, HBO!” They made a series out of her books. But (there is always a but) always bring an amazingly good entertainment lawyer with you to that meeting with the movie people, or you could lose everything you hope to gain.
- Historically, authors who were well-off before writing a word do better. They have connections with other well-off or rich people and some of those people are in the publishing field.
- The best authors are not necessarily published by the Big 5. Many of the best authors I’ve read have been in the indie world of authorship either with a small press or self-published.
- Even if you get the Big 5 3-book deal, you may be amazed at what happens. It did happen to a friend of mine, and she discovered that the covers were only a vague resemblance of her books. Unless you are a favorite top 10 author of that publisher, you still have to pay for most of your promotions and go to conventions on your own dime. The hardbound book cost $25 in the bookstore, but after all the publisher’s expenses and her agent taking his cut, she made 25 cents per book sold.
I could go on. I have been reading a book on the truth behind publishing and it’s depressing like you can’t imagine. Now that author on Facebook not only lamented her lack of sales but asked the question, “Why am I writing?”
Your answer to “Why am I writing?” reveals all. What do you want from your writing?
For me, I write because it makes me hugely happy. After all these years of all the different kinds of writing I’ve done, I found my niche and love it. It makes me cry and laugh while I write. I have the edge since my books come from my dreams. There are several authors who say they are writing their dreams too.
It makes me happy when I get a private message through social media or email that my books made a difference in readers’ lives. One reader told me how she read Lady Fallon’s Dragons to a dear one in a coma and that person woke up saying they dreamt about my wonderful dragons. I have received other emails about how an aspect of my books moved them or made them very happy. Take into consideration that I write mostly vampire romance. Smiles.
It is possible to find a group of dedicated readers. Actually, they will find you on social media and on blogs, or at in-person events. The question is: “How fast can you write?”
Before the pandemic, I enjoyed in-person events. I usually sold books if I had a panel beforehand. Placement in a program is important. Think panelist or reading then signing/selling books. I am normally shy, but I love talking to people. I’m waiting on my doctor’s okay to go to these events again.
People love meeting authors, but it’s important to also talk or give a reading at these events. Sometimes just doing signings doesn’t work out well. Marion Zimmer Bradley once told me, “Susan, you must be seen!” So I’m telling you to go to these conferences and be seen!
Surprises happen: I was put in an unfortunate spot at a book signing. Instead of the large, main room, 3 other authors and myself were put in a little room across the hall. A couple came in and came right to my table. The convention had put out a large ad in the local newspaper with the list of signing authors. They had seen my name and came to look for me. They said they kept asking people in the main room where I was. They had bought all my books in Kindle but wanted to buy the copies in print too, which I inscribed to them personally. Then they asked for a photo with me. It was the highlight of my experience there. The idea of someone coming to a convention just to talk to you and buy your books! It can happen to you!
On my Facebook profile page which anyone can join, I wrote: “I know everyone is tired and overstressed. I write to give the world sheer fun.”
That’s why I write: I write for me but I always write for those that need sheer fun!
Some people write to leave a legacy to their friends and family. Some wrote for the world but didn’t get noticed during their lifetimes. They became famous after they were dead like Anne Frank, Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Herman Melville (author of Moby Dick), Stieg Larsson (author of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), and others. It happens. Are you willing to be okay with that?
So if you’re writing, write for personal joy. If it’s for the money, I wish you good fortune.
Be safe! Be happy! Have sheer joy in life! Read indie authors!
Susan Hanniford Crowley, Amazon Kindle Bestselling Author of Vampire Romance and now YA novels too.
Where love burns eternal and whispers in the dark!
More detailed descriptions for all my books are on https://susanhannifordcrowley.com or https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Hanniford-Crowley/e/B004YXOGXG
New Release: (sweet romance) EverWarm is available in Kindle and Paperback at Amazon.
New Release: (sweet romance) Lady Fallon’s Dragons is now available at Kindle and Amazon Paperback, Nook, Kobo, Smashwords, Scribd, and a Paperback through BAM’s online store, paperback by ordering with Waterstones.
The Vampire with a Blanket of Stars, Arnhem Knights of New York, Book 3 is available in Amazon Paperback and Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Apple, Walmart ebooks & Smashwords.
Vampire Princess of New York, Arnhem Knights of New York, Book 2 available in Kindle and Kindle Unlimited!
Vampire King of New York, Arnhem Knights of New York, Book 1 now in Kindle and Print! Walmart Bookstore Online
Vampire in the Basement, Vampires in Manhattan, Book 4 available in Kindle.
Poseidon’s Catch(mythology romance) is available in Kindle.
Mrs. Bright’s Tea Room (steampunk romance) is available in Kindle.
A Vampire for Christmas, Vampires in Manhattan, Book 3 available in Kindle.
The Stormy Love Life of Laura Cordelais, Vampires in Manhattan, Book 2 is available in Kindle and Print and Barnes and Noble Print
When Love Survives, Vampires in Manhattan Book 1 is available in Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Smashwords,