The One and Done Conundrum

What’s the easiest way to sell your book? Write more books. New material will always promote the backlist. I’ve even read arguments against utilizing any other form of promotion before you manage to put at least 5 things out on the market. I happen to disagree with that notion, but the point can’t be ignored. Being prolific pays off.

It’s for this reason that I always find it so surprising when authors simply give up on their self-publishing ventures after the limited success of only one novel. Enter the One and Done Conundrum (because that’s just fun to say).

We are coming up quickly on the one week mark since the release of Samara’s Song, and guys – I get it.

I’d be lying if I said the thought of “taking a break” didn’t pass through my head. In fact it did, as I spent the past two days lost in hours worth of Civ V, happily letting my creativity atrophy during a gaming binge.

I’ve been able to breakdown my hesitance into the following three lines of thought:

  • My expectations were too high. Pff, yeah they were. We both know they were. As writers we get this naive, egotistic thought in our head that if we just get our work out there, it’ll sell like hotcakes. It’s easy to get sucked in by the success of the 1% and feel like a miserable failure in comparison. In two and a half days of paid sales, I’ve moved 6 copies of my first book. Why on Earth am I shaming myself about that? That’s awesome!
  • I’ve already wasted a significant monetary investment in this thing. When you look at the numbers, it’s discouraging initially. A $300 investment with a $5 return? Yeah. The thought of setting out to invest more in a sequel seems a little questionable. But the fact of the matter is that the book is out there. It’s done. Passive income forever. Returns may be slow, but they will come eventually and once the investment is met, it’s all pure profit – or rather capital to reinvest in more books. (Help. I’m trapped.)
  • The thought of writing another book is exhausting. Physically and emotionally. I’ve already put so much energy into the first piece and I got very little in return. So sure, let me bleed all over my laptop again for just the same. It only hurts a little. I had to give myself a few days to breathe before even thinking about the project again. Does the idea still exhaust me? Hell yes. But it also excites me. Cue high expectations and starting this whole business over again.

 

Despite the slightly pessimistic tone, I am actually satisfied with the progress of this journey thus far, and rest assured I have no intention of joining the mountain of One Hit Non-Wonders overflowing on the Amazon market.

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Self Publishing – Show me the numbers!

A quick google search will reveal a plethora of articles claiming that self-publishing is the route for struggling authors to take in the new age. Just look at H.M. Ward who turned down millions of dollars in advances in favor of self-publishing. Or the million other success stories that seem to be cropping up all over the web.

Clearly those of us who are not yet millionaires are doing something wrong. Right? Well, that’s if the all the hype is to be believed. The honest truth is that these success stories do not account for the masses, and the majority of self-published titles are swept away and buried beneath an ocean of rubbish. Not to mention how rare it is for “successful” self-publishers to share their actual figures.

Okay, so maybe demanding to know someone’s income is not exactly tactful. But I’m not exactly the queen of tactfulness, so I will cross that line. We simply can’t ignore that this information is relevant. The few transparent blogs/threads I could find of self-publishers boldly exposing their entire process, expenses, and profits I absolutely devoured. And then I retreated to my corner in bitter disappointment when they stopped updating, returning to live vicariously through the google success stories overflowing on the web.

After months of wading waist-deep in that optimistic muck, I’ve decided it’s about time to get my hands dirty and figure out this whole process for myself. And I’d like to invite you along for the ride. You, the indie author who’s wondering what happens when an untested manuscript hits the kindle market. You who’s unsure where to even start when it comes to marketing and promotion. You, the skeptic who doesn’t buy into the hype. I am right there with you.

My name is Amber Feldkamp and I am an untried author with great ambition and probably a little to much optimism. This blog denotes the start of my self-publishing journey. I have a plan, a platform, a plot, and a promise: complete transparency. I offer up my successes and failures without complaint or censor. If everything goes to hell in a hand basket, you will be the first to know – well, after I cry into my husband’s shoulder for an hour or two.

Hopefully together we can learn what works and what doesn’t and if self-publishing really is a viable career path for the modern writer.