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,