06-18 Sarah Raplee – WHY PSYCHIC AGENTS?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Authors: Avoid Sales Comparisons, Stay Happy

By Linda Lovely
Do you get upset when you discover that a book you think less enthralling than the Sears catalog achieves outrageous sales success while sales for your own (excellent!) book languish and your author ranking has enough zeroes to be confused with mileage to the moon? 

If you compare yourself to other authors and get upset when they achieve greater sales/accolades, you probably need to find another profession—or get a prescription for Prozac.

Would you keep writing fiction if you never made enough money to—
…quit your full time job
…pay off your mortgage
…put your kids through college
…or maybe just make a profit?

If you’re writing fiction solely for financial gain, you will likely be disappointed.

It’s fine to have goals (somewhat realistic) and dreams (they can be unrealistic). Hey, I’d like to hit it big enough to have my own “team” that takes care of minutiae so I can spend all my time writing. Yet even if my dreams remain just that I’ll never quit writing.

So what’s my advice to my fellow writers who are just beginning—or frustrated? Ask yourself why you write. Then remind yourself of those reasons each and every day.

I write because I love making up stuff, creating characters, and yes, killing off (on paper) folks who annoy me. Those reasons are good enough to keep me writing even if the only people who read my books were family members or prison recipients of donated paperbacks.

There are realities every author should remember to keep his/her sanity—
·         Publishing is a business. Publishers select (and reject) books for many reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with quality. You can’t take rejections personally. And, if your book is chosen, you shouldn’t assume your writing is superior to unpublished authors having a hard time finding a publisher. Yes, quality matters, but there’s a lot of luck involved, and timing is important. Genres wax and wane. Your submission may arrive just after a publisher’s filled the last slot in a given niche. And the list goes on. If you keep writing, your odds keep improving!
·         Be generous. Help other writers whenever you can. Promote their books. Critique their manuscripts. Volunteer to help with conferences and to support organizations like Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America. Your rewards will far outweigh your contributions, and you’ll become a better writer.
·         Write what you love. Is it an unpopular time period? Don’t worry about it. By the time you finish, it may be the rage. Don’t try to anticipate trends. They’re unpredictable.
·         READ. READ. READ.  Read within your genre, but read outside of it, too. Your craft will improve.

Do you agree with my advice? Let’s hear what motivates you and/or bums you out.

Why do you keep writing when it feels like you’re spinning your wheels? 


Ashantay Peters said...

Thanks, Linda, for the excellent advice. I've mostly stopped wondering why my books aren't doing better and have determined to continue writing. If I bring a smile to my readers' faces, help them decide to take action, or teach them something new, I've accomplished far more than a nebulous success as defined by an egocentric society. Sure, I'd love to have a marketing team to push sales for me, but perhaps my true lesson lies in pushing past my fears of self-promotion. Meanwhile, I'm off to read!

Linda Lovely said...

Ashantay, your books are terrific! Any new one is on my To-Be-Read list. I'm one of your fans.

Ashantay Peters said...

Thanks, Linda! I'm going to review Lies, soon!

Judith Ashley said...

Totally agree with your assessment, Linda. It makes no sense to compare ourselves to other writers. I do think looking at other writers and what they are doing that seems to add to their success is important. I've been doing that this month and stepping into the social media venue as a result. What I see authors doing that seems to impact their success in a positive way is they actively make themselves visible while still writing. They volunteer, they are on social media, they are out visiting with booksellers and readers alike. They also stop and check out what seems to be working along with what they enjoy.

All of them are generous and help other writers in a variety of ways. It is easy to give back and promote their books, talks, workshops, etc.

Sarah Raplee said...

I keep writing because I am compelled to, and it's more fun than most of the alternatives!

What burns me out is giving in to my fears. Someone once called writing 'The Most Dangerous Profession.' That's true in so many ways, not the least is that it makes you face your fears and take responsibility for your work.

I agree with all of your advice, Linda. Ahantay's, too. You are wise women.

Linda Lovely said...

Thanks, Sarah and Judith. Yes, it makes infinite sense to look at what other authors are doing that helps them succeed.But, again, you have to know yourself. If you hate Twitter, don't spend your time there. You won't be happy. Love Facebook or Goodreads or Pinterest. Then go for it. Do what you enjoy and try to do it successfully.