I participate in the Writing Community on Twitter. If you follow my account you probably already know that. I see tweets from writers – some traditionally published, others self-published – who complain about low sales of their books. While I do empathize with them I don’t like to hear this constant complaining. If you’re not selling books you shouldn’t get mad. Instead, get realistic about the realities many authors face in this industry.
Not Selling Books? You’re Not Alone
If you’re a writer who’s not selling books then you’re not alone. Many authors aren’t, really. Oh yes, the famous or popular authors do, but that’s because they already have an established audience. Yet, for us independent writers self-publishing our books, or brand new writers publishing their books through traditional means, we don’t have that large of an audience yet. I look at it this way: For every Stephen King there’s thousands of Stephen Who?
So you should remember this when you’re out there on social media or at a conference and you’re trying to market your book. There are many, many others who are doing the same and encounter the same difficulties as you.
Not Selling Books? The “Greats” Didn’t Either At First
I had a conversation about this topic with my mom over the weekend and I told her about some of the authors I read – the “Greats” as they are now called – didn’t experience success for years. Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” became a best-seller two years after it was published! It only did so because of word-of-mouth. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” was a failure after its publication. It only became successful after the author’s death. Yep, he died thinking that he failed as an author.
I say this to make you aware of the realities of being a Creative. This life is difficult and full of rejection, by the industry and customers. When we look on the careers the “Greats” had many didn’t sell many copies of their works until years and years later. Thankfully, some were alive when that happened but others were deceased.
How To Get Realistic
So how can you get realistic when you’re not selling books? By realizing this is how our industry works. Competition is fierce and there are more writers than consumers.
When I look at the book industry I know that it’s going to be a difficult journey for me to not only make money but to build an audience. There are thousands, if not millions, of individuals self-publishing their books on various platforms. And these individuals are vying for customers just as I am. Yes, I could have a better book than some but they may be a better salesman or already have a larger audience that’s waiting to buy their book.
At the end of the day I don’t get mad about not selling books. Feeling that way can cause me to quit and I don’t want to do that. So I keep writing, I keep publishing, and I keep working to build my audience because that’s what I have to do.