So, Ichabod Brooks has been out for 10 days. People are complimenting the cover, loving the character, excited by the excerpts, and even enjoying the behind-the-scenes posts I do here. He’s been called relatable and many have asked if I’m going to write more stories with him. This response really makes me happy after all the hard work I put into him and his stories . . .
Also, confused because I’ve only sold 9 copies. (This line is going to cost me with the ‘you need to quit’ crew.)
Now, I know I haven’t done as much promotion as Legends of Windemere, but I have put more hype into it than Chasing Bedlam. Some of this is due to saving money for the last 2 LEGENDS volumes and not having a laptop since late June. The rest is because Ichabod got such a big reaction on the blog that I thought I could garner enough word-of-mouth and pre-hype to boost the book. It really felt that way until I paid attention to sales and ranks. Now, I’m not sure what to think. Maybe Amazon isn’t showing me all of the sales like other authors have reported. It does feel hard to believe that I only got 9 after people were so excited.
Still, it isn’t like this is the first time. People were pumped for Bedlam when they saw excerpts with Lloyd and Cassidy. After I published, I started hearing how the characters were fun, but the violence, language, and comedy weren’t for some of the original supporters. This threw me and made me more cautious about the compliments and praise I get. Still, I thought it wouldn’t happen to the same extent with Ichabod since he was fantasy and ran in the same vein as LEGENDS. In reality, it hasn’t gone this way because nobody has complained about him and suddenly claimed that he isn’t for them. This is an understandable reaction though because not everyone is into action adventure in general, which is what I write.
Here is where I mention something that people might not realize or forget: I AM A FULL-TIME AUTHOR! Unlike many other indies, I’m not working another job beyond parenting here. I’m writing or at least outlining nearly every day because this is the career that makes me happy. So, I have to factor in a lot when I decide on projects to put my time into. When people cheer for an idea, I’ll follow it thinking I have an audience. If that excitement doesn’t pan out then I’m left confused and a little worried. Did I misjudge the reaction? Are people cheering just to be nice? These questions throw doubt into a mixture that already has a heap of anxiety and pessimism in it. I need to figure out the answers in order to move one, especially when I struggle with these:
- Do I continue Bedlam even though it gets better blog reactions than sales?
- Do I write another Ichabod Brooks collection if this one doesn’t net more sales?
- What are the chances of my next series doing well since it seems nothing is reaching the same level of success as Legends of Windemere?
- Is 2017 the last year?
I’m not making a fortune here and it seems to have become more difficult since last year for some reason. Most of my royalty money goes back into marketing or is kept for emergencies. Like Ichabod, I need to make a living and I’m trying to do it with the skills that I have. Unlike Ichabod, I’m lacking something that is drawing in enough success to ward off the naysayers. Yes, I think people should write for art and the joy, but there is the business side that always trips me up. Part of that is getting responses from fans and seeing where the wind blows. Not easy to do if the wind I’m following is actually a ceiling fan that somebody keeps playing with.
Honestly, I don’t know what I expect to solve with this post aside from getting this off my chest. I’ve talked to other authors who have run into the same problem. They have an idea that people love and support, but then the sales don’t come in. Have we become a society that loves to cheer and support with words, but stop short of taking that final step of purchasing? Is everybody waiting for books to drop to 99 cents or free? I’m really not sure where the break in the bridge between social media excitement and hitting ‘purchase’ on Amazon is. Like I said, it’s both confusing and has become rather disheartening over the last year.