Hey everyone, it’s been a little while! I thought, given everything that’s happened this year, as well as the influx of new readers, it’d be a good idea to let you all know what’s going on, and what’s coming :)
What’s Happening Now
Recently, I held my first Goodreads giveaway, and as of today, 100 lucky winners have received free copies of the Kindle edition of Legacy – Chronicles of the Sentinels Book 1! I’ve always been told that getting reviews is key to helping generate more new readers, and that the Goodreads giveaways are a great way to do that.
And let’s face it – I’m a relatively unknown writer still, and this is my first published urban fantasy novel, so I can understand people’s hesitancy to give my book a shot.
It…didn’t help that the very first rating Legacy received (within hours of going live) was a 2 star, on both Goodreads and Amazon, from the same person.
I was devastated to see that.
I still am. Since then, I’ve received several more ratings on Amazon, mostly 5 stars with I think only one 4 star, but the Goodreads listing still shows just that one 2-star rating.
If you didn’t know if an author was worth reading or not and saw that, would you give them a shot?
It has been a difficult, emotional roller coaster since Legacy released. I had a very good feeling about it, and the trilogy as a whole, from the moment I started writing it, and beta reader reactions were extremely encouraging. Then came release day, in which I had pre-sold more copies than I have ever done before. The hype was real!
Needless to say, I’ve been feeling down. I’ve felt like the energy has just been sucked right out of me, and now I’m worried about the future. Very worried. For whatever reason, getting folks to rate books, let alone review them is a grueling struggle.
Recently I read a study about people’s willingness to buy a new book based on reviews. In the example, the study indicated that a book with about 20 five-star reviews is far less likely to attract new readers than a book with over 1000 reviews averaging between 3 and 4 stars. So between such a negative first rating and a continued lack of ratings, I was thinking, “What can I possibly do to fix this?”
Step 1 has been the Goodreads giveaway. According to multiple sources, a large percentage (numbers vary, but average 40%) of recipients of a Goodreads giveaway give ratings and write reviews. I gave away 100, so even if the average of 40% of recipients write a review, that’s 40 reviews.
Now the question is…will those be good reviews or bad?
The Future – What’s Next?
Despite the disappointment and the depression, I’m pushing forward with my current plans for the trilogy, and that is releasing book 2 of Sentinels six months after book 1, which puts it around February 2022. And then book 3 in August 2022.
The next step in preparing book 2 is to commission the artwork. The artist I commissioned last time is still taking commissions, so I will contact him again, but that’ll be in a few weeks. Right now, I’m more concerned about Whimsycon, the only convention I’ll have a table at this year.
In addition, I’ve begun writing a story that has demanded to be told for years (I remember developing it actively in the middle of my wedding preparations!) It’s a YA Sci-Fi that starts out in what appears to be a fantasy realm, but very quickly the reader finds out it’s Sci-Fi. (I’ll talk more about that in future blogs.)
Finally, I have committed to finishing the Sword of Dragons book 4 this November, which means you can expect it to be released in 2022, probably after Chronicles of the Sentinels book 3 is released.
Three books in one year O_o Yup, I’m crazy! ;)
And…this will be a bit of a test. I need to see positive movement in my writing career by the end of 2022, income-wise. And at this very moment in time, I’m not sure what to expect. I thought Sentinels would push me in the right direction, but as of right now…I’m scared.
I’m scared because I’ve made a lot of sacrifices to write this much, to publish this much, to get this far. I’m scared those sacrifices will end up being for naught. I’m scared that I’ve spent my life, over 25 years of it anyway, working towards something only to end up wondering…am I any good? Have I gotten better like I thought, or am I just a crap writer? Will I ever ‘make it’? A few months ago, I was sure I would. Now, I don’t know.
Maybe I shouldn’t be writing that on my blog. Maybe it’s not good marketing. I never was good at marketing. But this blog has been dedicated to chronicling my journey as a writer. If all I do is write about the good stuff and leave out the bad, then this blog becomes a lie of omission.
So, what do I do if, at the end of 2022, I’m not making any more income from writing than I was in 2020? Do I stop? NO.
I can’t stop. Writing is too much a part of who I am.
But working a day job full time and putting damn-near equivalent of full-time hours into writing, publishing, and marketing is exhausting. Unsustainable. So I’ll have to re-evaluate how I’m doing this and come up with a new game plan.
I wish I could say “Oh just switch back to trying to go traditional,” but based on everything I’ve been reading in the past five years, that market has shifted so much that even if I did get a traditional publisher, a lot of the work would still fall on my shoulders. Reportedly, most publishers only put a lot of marketing effort towards already well-known authors. In other words, safe bets, safe investments, guaranteed ROI.
So…I don’t know. I don’t know what I’ll do.
The only thing I know for sure is that I won’t stop. I won’t quit.
Maybe it’s because I love writing. Maybe it’s because I’m stubborn.
Maybe I’ll just make myself succeed to spite all of those doubters out there. Including that nagging voice in my head that says “You’ll never be anyone’s favorite. You’ll never be successful.” I’d love to shut that voice up forever (spoiler alert – even if I become a best-seller, it’s unlikely to ever stop :p )
Either way, I’m going to keep going.
Thanks for reading,