The Write Stuff: Great Expectations

I have seen a trend among indie authors of late that I want to discuss:  Great Expectations.  Or should I say unrealistic expectations.  Let me explain.

Three years ago the indie world was a booming market. There were fewer authors publishing. Fewer books to compete with.  And the trend was really gearing up. People were flocking to iBooks, Kindles, Nooks and more.  eReaders were the inPregnant Woman Reading Ebook While Lying On Sofa thing and the flood back to reading was a beautiful thing.

Then about 18 months ago a new shift in genre spawned the romance craze. Thank you Fifty Shades of Gray.

New authors blossomed overnight, wanting to be the next big smexy hit.  Bloggers turned author. Author’s felt pressured to write faster to remain in the public eye. Some authors became well established. Others had a decent following and still others were scrambling to grab any reader they could.

Good books shone bright. Some great books got buried under the masses.

Flash forward through a few more changes: algorithm shifts, social media trends, Kindle Unlimited, the explosion of box sets, etc. and we find ourselves in a time where ebook sales for authors are teetering.  Kindle Unlimited, and other platforms, allow readers to pay one fee and rent books at a low cost.  Why should readers PAY for your book when they can RENT a hundred others just like yours?  How about the thousands of box sets offering 20 full length novels for the same price as your one book?  How does an indie author compete with that?The smexy craze has begun to fade leaving some romance authors clutching to what they know until a new craze fully settles in.

I have seen countless “newbie” authors giving up over the past few months. Why?  Sales DeclineDecline of sales. Giveaway expenses. Traveling costs to get to events. A struggle to be seen in the market place.  The indie world today is not the same as when I started nearly four years ago.

So how do we move forward?  Do we give up?  To that I give a resounding NO.

If writing is your dream, your passion I encourage you to find a way to make it work. Maybe you can’t remain a full time writer.  Maybe you need to take a little bit longer writing that next book because you need that extra overtime. Maybe you need to get more creative with your swag or covers to help with cost.  Maybe you need to cut back on your personal appearances and focus more on an online presence.

BUT along with not giving up, I encourage you to consider the market when releasing a new book.  What worked three years ago will not work today.  Readers have double, if not triple the amount of books to choose from now. Write a good book, create a great marketing plan and stand out…but do so with reasonable expectations.  Not every book you write will be a best seller.  Not every storyline will entice the same people.

Be good to your readers. Be true to your writing.  Be grateful for the sales that you get, no matter how few or how many.  Be humble. Be careful in how you present yourself online. Be professional. Be realistic with your sales goals and don’t beat yourself up if your book doesn’t do as well as your last.

I know plenty of authors (amazing talent) who have never hit a USA or NYT bestseller Happy celebrating winning success woman sunsetlist but they are gaining readers, creating fans and supporting their families. It’s not about a title. It’s about the love of writing.

“Every book sale is something to be grateful for.  Measure your success not by how high your book rises on release day but by how many new readers you gain long term.” ~ Amy Miles 

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