The Rumors of My Demise May Have Been Exaggerated

Just a week ago, I was contemplating my retirement. I had dropped the ball with regard to marketing my books (I hadn’t even checked my Amazon pages in a while—I just discovered I have some new reviews! Yay!). I hadn’t written anything in weeks. I wasn’t sure I could write anything. I wanted to…it just wasn’t there, and I didn’t know how to fix the problem.

The Unicorns Daughter eCover

I did know the source of the problem: this old gray mare ain’t what she used to be. My focus is nowhere near what it once was. Just a year ago, my characters were living their lives inside my head 24/7. It was crowded in there, but I didn’t mind. Now, nobody’s home. Not even me, most of the time. Not only was I not writing, I wasn’t doing much of anything else, either…the housework, laundry and cooking weren’t always getting done. More than once, I’d end up scrambling to get Collin something to eat or wash his clothes before he had to leave for work.

Why?

Because I was online—sometimes five or six hours a day. By the time I got offline, I would be so drained mentally, I was no good for anything but sleeping or sitting in front of the TV. It should have been a no-brainer, right? Just cut back on the online time. I’m no internet junkie. I’m perfectly happy with a couple of hours online a day. But in my own defense, this has been discussed among my friends and fellow authors at Facebook on more than one occasion. Too much time spent social networking is cutting into a number of authors’ writing time. It’s an epidemic! Nobody intends to do it. It just happens. You start chatting with friends and the time gets away on you.

I’ve cut back because I have to, if I want to ever publish another book. No more email, Facebook, etc. after lunch.

But that’s only half the problem. Now to decide the direction I want to take. Do I still want to write fiction? Yes. But I’m not sure it’s in the cards. The projects currently in the works have been in limbo for a while. The nonfiction project, on the other hand, is flying along.

I’m not sure I want to bother with print editions in the future. They’re a pain to create and earn very little. In my opinion, they’re too expensive, anyway. I might sell half a dozen copies (total) of each novel—and those are usually to my friend Carolyn, who brings them to me for signing as soon as she receives them. My friend Shelly Arkon does well with paperbacks. I don’t. Ebooks are where I make my profits…so doesn’t it make sense to put all of my focus there?

I had a brief discussion with fellow author Rosanne Dingli on Facebook the other day. Amazon doesn’t allow us to separate our own books from used copies of our backlist books being sold from third-party vendors—for which we get no royalties. I’ve considered switching to a pseudonym so when anyone clicks on the page for my current books, those third-party offerings aren’t there to usurp my profits!

Before I close…The Unicorn’s Daughter is still available for free at Smashwords today and tomorrow. Just use coupon code SP26W!

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9 responses

  1. Well, as for the paperback. I have to purchase them and sell them myself. And the profit thus far has gone to purchasing more. Planning on more book signings in the future. I guess marketing is a shot in the dark.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

  2. Love the honesty of this post. Although I’ve never known you to be dishonest, but there is another truth in there which is kind of tricky. In order to promote your work on Facebook, blogging, and other social networks, you have to reciprocate and go to everyone’s blog, FB, where they promote their work. It is very time consuming, but also important and I can see where you can use up 5 to 6 hours a day. Hard stuff. Just know you have a bunch of fans who love your writing.

  3. Here’s the thing: as my good friend and fellow author Mike Saxton has pointed out repeatedly, we tend to market to other authors, which is akin to preaching to the choir. The bottom line for any author is to keep writing. As Joe Konrath, who has found tremendous success in this nutty business, points out, the most important thing any author can do is keep writing–because the more books we have out there, the more books we’re going to sell.

    Besides, I wasn’t marketing. I was just goofing off. That gets nobody anywhere.

  4. I’ve long discovered that print copies are little ore than a pain in the bottom. I always do it just so that I can have one of my own novels within touching distance. Alas, until or unless I become a well known author, they’ll make me no money and be troublesome to produce.

  5. Norma, you are an amazing author, so just keep on writing! And I agree with William that scheduling is so important. We do have to do online marketing and need social media, but it should not usurp all our writing time. It is fun to ‘goof’ off from time to time, and I think as writers we need to let off steam, but if we schedule it in like only a couple of hours a day, then this should help us rather than hurt us. And as far as fiction or nonfiction, just write whatever inspires you and finish up the projects you are motivated to do; that way you will get it done faster. Good luck! I probably spend more time online than I should, but really my problem is the people around me respecting my working hours; doesn’t always happen, and then there are the kids. So, I’m juggling so much, and there are days I just want to give up, but something inside keeps pushing me because writing to me is like breathing. And Norma, I know you must feel the same about writing, too. You still have a lot of stories to be told. Take care!

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