I’m quoting David Bowie in the title, in case you aren’t familiar with the song. Because changes are going to be made in regard to my writing/publishing.
What prompted this? I published No Man’s Land Saturday morning. When I got up today, I checked the numbers. I’d sold five copies. Five. Lots of people read my blog, follow the twitter account, and are friends on Facebook or G+, so it’s not like people didn’t know I had a new book out.
What’s worse is this is not all that unusual. Half Moon House sold about twenty copies total. Weatherboy did worse. I feel like I wasted the last three years of my life, and I hate that feeling.
I figure, why have a blog if I can’t be honest? So I’m going to give you a big dose of it right now.
I spent ten months working on NML. Then there was the time put in by the betas and the editing I did, and a cover had to be made. And for what, so I could sell five copies?
Sunday afternoon, I curled up in a ball in bed and cried. I’d sold two copies at that point. Then I tried to sleep to escape my misery and couldn’t, so I got up and opened a beer. Then I watched mindless TV for hours to avoid thinking about it.
But all along, the brain was ticking away, trying to come up with a solution to this problem.
Final result: there is no solution. I’ve never been an author who “sold,” and I never will be. I don’t write series (other than Precog, and that didn’t sell either), I no longer write graphic sex, I don’t write to formula. I’m too political on social media. I’m snarky. My bluntness offends readers. My passion is abrasive.
Pick a reason; all of them are probably correct, and that’s on me, not you. I can’t write what’s currently trendy just to sell books. I also can’t be someone other than who I am, so if I offend you, if I piss you off, I’m sorry, but that’s me. I realize it’s hard to separate the person from the work, and that’s on me again.
“You don’t promo enough. People don’t know you. You have to come up with some clever marketing thing to get your name and work out there. You’re not reaching your target audience.” And on and on.
It’s true I don’t promo enough. I don’t like it. But if even one person out of every twenty who reads my blog, follows me on twitter, or is my “friend” on Facebook or G+ bought a copy, I’d have sold one hundred and fifty instead of five.
It’s clear as glass: no one wants to read my stories. Sometimes the handwriting isn’t just on the wall, it’s written on your heart and soul.
I’m upset right now, but not at you. I’m upset I don’t fit in a neat little niche, that I can’t be happy and cheery all the time (like Edmond Manning, for example; how the fuck does he do it?). I’m sorry I don’t write the sexy stories everyone seems to want these days in the m/m genre.
BUT… here’s more honesty: I love writing. I love creating characters and telling stories, but I despise not making any money at it, because it makes me feel like a failure. When there are no sales, I’m depressed for days.
I either have to stop writing to avoid feeling like crap every time I release a new title or find a way to make it about the creativity rather than the cash.
I’m thinking about it. When I know more, so will you.
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