Selling books isn’t easy, just ask any indie or small press author or small to mid-sized publisher. The following are some of the obstacles to financial success as a writer and, for what it’s worth, my response to them:
1. Libraries – Why buy a book when you have access to an endless supply from your local library? If you’re interested in writing by indie or small press authors your library probably won’t have it unless the author donated a copy. Even then it may not make its way onto the shelves. I know this from personal experience. You’ll find plenty of books by best-selling authors. That doesn’t bother me because I’m not one of them. Not yet.
2. Free days and other giveaways – Tried that. It doesn’t work, at least not for me. I got a few reviews out of it, but no boost in sales. I also eliminated over 600 readers as potential buyers of my debut novel, since they downloaded the book for free. Never again. I’ll send an e-book to anyone in exchange for an honest review, but that’s it.
3. 99 cent sales – I’m ignoring you. I have no intention of devaluing my own work by trying to compete with that and adding a nickel to my royalty check. If $3.99 is a problematical price point for a reader, they don’t need to be reading in the first place. They need to be looking for a second job.
4. Techno-zombies – That’s not a real word; I made it up. I’m not a Luddite, but I have to shake my head at people that can’t look up from their Smartphones and other marvelous gadgets. They live in a plugged in, connected, short attention span world. They aren’t going to sit down and read a novel. That’s fine. I accept that. Not everyone is a reader. Personally, I have no use for algebra, so maybe we’re even.
Marketing and promotion, that’s the key to success, at least that’s what people say. Maybe. I think the real key is to write and publish more books. An expanded body of work is, I believe, the best promotion for an author. I have three books on the market now, and have just signed a contract for my fourth novel. My royalty checks are growing, although they are still small enough to cash. That won’t always be the case. I’ll let you know when I make my first deposit.