IWSG – Show Me The Money

Happy September. I hope you enjoyed your Labor Day weekend. I spent it doing “family bonding” by watching all the Marvel Universe movies. My sister was/is majorly offended that I hadn’t seen Infinity Wars or End Game among others.

It’s not like I hadn’t seen any, but since I hadn’t seen all, she was on a mission to change that. I didn’t finish due to work, so the cosmetic joke to all that is I STILL haven’t seen the two she wants me to see most.

But you guys aren’t here to read about my weekend, so let’s move on to the reason. It’s the first Wednesday of the month, so that means it’s time for another IWSG post. I’ve been not sharing a ton of my issues in the last months because I didn’t want to be Debbie Downer, or seem like a whiner, but this group is about sharing our ups and downs.

You remember those old cartoons where the character would have an angel version of them on one shoulder and the devil on the other? I feel like that a lot these days, but I have two devils, self-doubt, and the Why Bother Monster’. Both are happy and cozy perched up and seemingly not going anywhere anytime soon.

I’ve tried to move passed it. To keep forging on, but man it gets harder each day. And it’s not just one thing, it’s a collective of issues/stresses that pile on and make me question my sanity oh why I keep on this path. I seriously must have some sort of masochistic traits to keep willingly putting myself through this much stress, and heartache.

So, what’s with the title? Well, at the end of the day, no matter how much I enjoy the writing aspect (some days) enjoyment doesn’t pay the bills. And honestly I’m not expecting my royalties to, but it would be nice if they could buy me a cup of coffee or treat the family to dinner. There is so much behind the scenes that goes into the business. I’ve heard it before, to make money you have to spend money. However the reality of the situation is not everyone can.

Being an indie author means I have more costs on my shoulders before the book even sees the light of day. There’s editing, proofreading, and cover design. That on top of shelling out cash on ads, tours, and whatever other marketing idea I try. All of it means, that with five books out, even with two being through a publisher, I’m still very much in the red.

Technically I’ve been published since 2014, though I took three years off so have been at it again actively since 2017. And it’s been a lot of disappointment. Three years, five books, and never a royalty check to even get close to hitting three digits. Seriously, I’m not asking for millions, or hell even thousands. But when the statements are ten, maybe fifteen dollars it doesn’t give me the warm and fuzzies about keeping on.

Admittedly I’m not the best at marketing. I’ve worked to improve, but it’s still a struggle. I have tried to invest in myself as the “experts” say to do. However when the return is little to none, another tally goes on the disappoint board. And I know this is a marathon and not a sprint, but man…I’m tired all the same.

Being no better off than when I first started makes me question so many things. It’s one of those “it’s not you, it’s me” type of deals. Self-doubt tells me my writing isn’t up to par or I’m not producing stories people want to read. That they aren’t memorable, and the reading experience becomes a one and done, they aren’t pulled in enough to see what else I’ve put out there. Word of mouth is the best advertisement, especially for an indie, but you don’t get that if your stories are easily forgettable, which self-doubt tells me they are.

Then I see stories with what I consider questionable story-lines whose rankings are better than mine and the Why Bother Monster pipes up whispering in my ear. I can tell myself not to compare myself to others, but it’s easier said than done. More-so when I’m already feeling down and questioning so much about my future in this business.

Then there was a Tweet I made a few months back, the original topic had something to do with marketing, but I don’t recall exactly. What did stick with me was another author commenting and basically telling me that unless I wrote a series it’s pointless to advertise and/or expect read through of the books I had to offer. I mean ouch! The Why Bother Monster did a little happy jig to that.

I’m feeling more and more these days that my writing career is a lemon. I keep sinking money into it and more falls apart. It’s never ending. So, where do I go from here? I honestly don’t know. I have ideas, I want to write, but all the other bullshit seriously weighs me down thanks to my constant unwanted companions taking up residence on my shoulders.

That’s it for this month. Hopefully I find some clarity on what comes next, but I’m doubtful.

Until next time,
~Meka

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a home for writers in all stages; from unpublished to bestsellers. Our goal is to offer assistance and guidance. We want to help writers overcome their insecurities, and by offering encouragement we are creating a community of support.
The awesome co-hosts for the September 4th posting of the IWSG are Gwen Gardner, Doreen McGettigan, Tyrean Martinson, Chemist Ken, and Cathrina Constantiner!

13 thoughts on “IWSG – Show Me The Money

  1. JenniferShelby says:

    when I started feeling like that I began writing short stories to submit to magazines. There’s a lot of rejection, but when you nail a pro sale and get a few hundred dollars for a short story, it’s such a boost. Plus, it gets my name out to potential readers for my books. We’ve all got our own paths, this just helped me break past my own discouragement. Good luck, I hope you feel better soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meka James says:

      I’ve never submitted anything to a magazine before. It’s not something that had ever been on my radar. Now maybe I need to reconsider. Getting my name out is key, and I’m trying, but there is always so much going on in publishing that at times it can be like screaming into a void.

      Thank you.

      thanks for stopping by

      Like

  2. Morgan Hazelwood says:

    I think the marketing and struggle is part of the reason I haven’t put my work out there yet. I just keep revising and querying and revising and stalling…

    You are brave. And out there. It’s a tough market and even if you do everything ‘right’, there’s a certain degree of timing and luck that’s required.

    And on that note: best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meka James says:

      Marketing is the devil for sure. So many things to try and it’s a constant game of ‘well maybe’ to see what will or won’t work. And what does work for you one may flop for you. It’s never ending. Hopefully in your querying you land a contract where the publisher does most of the marketing.

      Agreed on the timing and luck. Hunting to find those core readers.

      thanks for stopping by

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lidy says:

    I feel you Meka. I can’t say much because at least you’re further along than me publishing wise (have the one self-pub poetry chapbook and a bunch of unfinished WIPs). So far, the only royalties I’ve seen totals somewhere between the single and double digits. It’s very tiring to give so much of yourself, mind, body and soul, to writing with not much of an investment return in sight. Guess the best anyone of us can do is still forge on. And tell those monsters on your shoulders to hush up because this writing business is a marathon not a race.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meka James says:

      My royalties have been the same single and/or double digits. And when I think that I have 3 indie titles paying me out each month, it makes the low amount that much harder to see. it is very tiring. So much time and energy goes into every step. I’m trying to keep my head up and move forward, but road blocks at every turn make it hard. Plus my unwanted companions are not helping.

      thanks for stopping by

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Michelle Wallace says:

    It’s really difficult.
    I keep on reminding myself that I’m not competing with anybody else.
    And yes, it’s definitely a marathon. A person has to be in it for the long haul.
    Hang in there. Remember you’re not alone… and that most writers experience the up-and-down rollercoaster effects of this writing game we’re in.

    Have you heard of a writer’s facebook group called 20BooksTo50K? You should check it out. There are many success stories from writers who had lost hope of ever making a decent income with their writing.
    Writer In Transit

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meka James says:

      It is. A constant case of jumping through flaming hoops. I have to remind myself of the same, and some days it’s easier to do than others. I want to be in it for the long haul, but at the same time I have to be realistic about the financial implications of doing so. At some point I need a return on my investment into myself.

      I was in that group a while back but left when all the stuff went down with the author that trademarked the word cocky. The defense of what she’d done made me feel all sorts of icky and I didn’t want to stay in the group after that.

      thanks for stopping by

      Like

  5. Juneta Key says:

    I get it. We are on our 5th anthology self-published and probably won’t see a profit until 10 or 20. We do it because we love it It is fun and we help others publish, but yeah we want to earn money at it too. You just do. Do the best you can with what you can do now, and next time do more better if you can, but just do it.

    I know I am in it for the long haul and the love of it.

    The main thing is finish something because without that you have no product to publish or worrying any other cost or any of the worries you have. This is something I am telling myself about my bigger works too and my biggest failing is I got nothing until finish something. What I have learned doing the anthologies… do it, finish and do it again, before long look at what is developing and growing. Yup, that is how you get the results out of the long haul. Now to apply that to my bigger stories. Just keep growing and doing leaving a trail behind me until I hope one day…
    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meka James says:

      Oh man! Well hopefully you’ll see profits sooner. I know it’s a slow process to build up, I understand that in theory, but when the comparison game starts up it just makes everything worse. I started because I enjoyed it, and still do, but at the same time, to take my business serious means I have to look at all angles. While writing because I enjoy it is a part of it, needing to at least break even is another and equally important part.

      I’m slow, but I get things done. I have ideas and stories I want to tell. I just need to get through the fog of doubt and worry to make it happen. I have cheerleaders not so gently pushing me for the WIPs they know i have which is a big reason why I haven’t fully thrown in the towel yet.

      Good luck on all your current and future projects!

      thanks for stopping by

      Like

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