You see, as well as all this writing I've been doing, I've also been doing a lot of thinking. The world of publishing is changing again, in my opinion. Being a self-published author is harder than ever now, much harder than it ever was when I first started out about five years ago. Back then it was pretty easy to get your books out there, and to get them noticed, without a huge amount of promo. And I still consider myself very lucky to have been around at that wonderful time for self-pubbed authors, because it gave me a chance to build a small but still extremely loyal fan base of readers who are still with me to this day. But now - now it's way, way harder than it used to be. Authors are going back to wanting agents, someone professional who can help them push their books forward because doing it on your own has become increasingly difficult. For authors like myself it's become nigh on impossible! I suppose I could look for an agent myself, but to be honest, I would have to take so much time out to research the right agent for my books, sort out cover letters and everything else that's needed to make a good impression, and right now, I just don't have the time to devote to that. Of course I'd like an agent - who wouldn't? But finding one that's right for me is just going to take too much of a chunk out of time I desperately need to get all the books I have to write this year written - and we're talking another three here, at least. As well as editing all the other manuscripts that are lying around waiting for publication.
I've given myself a ridiculous amount of work to do this year, so agent research is very much off the agenda until 2016 at least. I'll continue to battle on alone.
|Me and some of my earlier books...|
Another thing that seems to have changed since I first started out on my writing journey is the fact that advertising and promo is increasingly becoming something authors are having to pay for. And here we hit another huge stumbling block for me. I earn precious little as it is, therefore I don't have any spare cash - at all, and I mean none - to throw at promo. I just don't, it's as simple as that. Back when I started out self-pubbing I managed to get slots on a fair few blogs, and I was eternally grateful to everyone who hosted me, and helped me. But now it seems to be a growing trend to have to pay for blog tours, and I understand totally that bloggers and book reviewers need to make some money too, but for authors like me who literally have no spare cash to support their promo, it means our options are now severely limited. And, let's face it, Facebook and Twitter aren't the promo platforms they used to be. You just end up preaching to people who already know what you do.
And it's the same with all these author fairs and get-togethers that go on over the course of the year. Yes, they're brilliant networking events, a great place in which to get your face seen and your name recognised more. But, again, these things cost money. And as most of them seem to take place down south, and I live up in the north east of England, getting to them costs money. And that's before you even start talking hotels, money for food, drink, etc. So those are off limits for me, too.
|My steamy Newcastle-based soccer trilogy, which were published through HarperImpulse last summer.|
Now, I'm not falling into a well of self-pity here. I'm just facing up to the harsh reality of what being an author is these days - and how some of us have to realise out limitations, find that place we're comfortable and be happy in that place. Because we're probably going to be there for a while. And I'm not being defeatist, or lazy, or saying I have no ambition because I want to succeed in what I do more than anyone will ever know. Of course I do! I didn't start this journey to fanny about. I did it because I have a deep love of writing, something that's been with me since I was a child. Books have been my life for as long as I can remember, and to be able to do what I do now, every day, is still a dream come true for me. But I do have to be realistic. And I know there are certain things that are out of my reach. So I have to concentrate on the things I can reach - the levels I can obtain. And that's what I'll continue to do. I may never hit the heady heights of #1 on any chart, (but let's not forget that I did, at one point, back in 2012, when Bon Voyage was #1 in romantic comedy and reached #45 in the paid Amazon Kindle Top 100. Ah, those were the days...), but I can work as hard as I can to reach as high as I can with the resources I have. Because, as far as I'm concerned, as long as I can continue to write and get my books out there, I'm happy.
|This book reached the Top 50 of the Paid Amazon Kindle Chart, and #1 in Romantic Comedy back in 2012!|
However, what I am hoping to start working on is trying to make a name for myself locally. Again, it won't be easy, but it might be something that could, in the end, with a bit of hard work, become achievable. Most of my books are set in my native north east England, so that's a start. We'll see. All I know is the world of publishing is constantly changing. It's becoming more cut throat, a lot more competitive, and unless you have a hype machine behind you to push your work to the forefront, it really is going to be nigh on impossible to make any kind of huge impact. And, again, I'm not being negative here. I'm just being realistic. For me, I still get a kick when I see just one sale racked up on my sales dashboard. Because as long as my books are still being read - be that by one or one thousand readers - that makes it all worthwhile.
Anyway, that post ended up longer than I intended, but there's something quite cathartic about getting things off your chest... But, I've got work to do now. Retribution - book 2 in The Lone Riders MC Series - needs editing before its upcoming release in April, and I need to get on to that, like, now!! And watch this space for news of when it'll be available to pre-order, which should be some time in March, barring any disasters. As for my next book for HarperImpulse, again, watch this space. The revisions I've been working on for that book have just been sent back to my editor, and as yet it doesn't even have a title but fingers crossed it won't stay that way for long!! So, for now, it's back to the writing cave for me. And I'm looking forward to it...