Discontent and Uncertainty

by Ashlynmathews on November 8, 2012

In the ever changing world of publishing, flexibility is the key to longevity and possibly success. This month, publishers Penguin and Random House merged. Is bigger better? Time will only tell. On various Yahoo Writers’ loops, there is talk of discontent with Amazon, not only from authors, but of a backlash from small bookstores refusing to buy books from Amazon. Then there’s the issue of Amazon wedging itself into the publishing business. Should authors that self-publish through Amazon worry? Maybe.

Discontent and uncertainty are nothing new in the publishing industry or any business, for that matter. To change and evolve, hopefully for the better, requires a certain amount of flexibility. That’s where I’m currently at in my journey as a published author.

When Shadow Watcher released in September, I was ecstatic. But soon the euphoria of being published was replaced by uncertainty. Can I write another book? The pressure was on. My Fallen, a paranormal romance, was finished in three months, submitted and accepted by Crimson Romance. Have I told you how fast digital moves? I signed my contract 9/21, received edits 10/24 with a due date of 11/7. Book releases 1/14/13. Yes, fast. My cover is next. I can’t wait to share.

During this time, there was discontent, not within myself, but rather from other authors regarding various subjects across Yahoo loops and Facebook. With an open mind, I read about their unhappiness and tried not to be affected. But it’s hard when these are people I care about.

The theme was the same, centering on the pros and cons of different publishers — digital and traditional, small press and any of the big six:  Random House, Penguin, HarperCollins, Hachette, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster. Or, let’s all self-publish. Why not? I admit it. I strive to be a hybrid author — traditionally published and self-publishing.

Promotion continues to be a big topic. How can authors promote, when is the best time and where should our promo time and money go to get the most exposure, value and bang for our buck?

Shadow Watcher has been out for two months. Here are my simplified results of advertising. Facebook ads got me likes for my author page, but no direct sales. Goodreads ads and recommendations got Shadow Watcher added to quite a few readers’ to-be-read lists, but I can’t correlate the TBR to direct sales. I placed an ad on a review site. Again, no direct sales. I’ve been a guest on other authors’ blogs and have had guests on mine for increase traffic to my site. No direct sales that I can see of either.

I’m flexible to trying other avenues to gain the exposure, value and bang for my buck. I ditched the trading cards idea and will be looking at bookmarks, book signings, and ads on blogs and review sites that target readers. And I’ll be promoting my upcoming releases, My Fallen and If Only, in the hopes that readers will check out SW.

I don’t feel discontent, but I definitely am uncertain and restless. I’m restless for results and uncertain with the decisions I’ve made recently. Will my plans to evolve into a hybrid author backfire as I juggle writing full length novels for a traditional publisher with the effort and time it takes to self-publish my novella series? Editing two books has kept me up past one in the morning almost every day for the past two weeks. My legs feel the pain as I run late for the train at six am.

My answer to getting past the uncertainty? Keep on writing. Go forward. There are so many stories in my head. When have you felt discontent or uncertain in your journey as a writer or author? What were your solutions?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Deborah O'Neill Cordes November 9, 2012 at 6:45 am

I think your experiences mirror what is happening to the majority of new authors today. It is a time of great change in the publishing world, and you are to be commended for your stamina and willingness to share your experiences. Keep on keeping on, Ashlyn. I look forward to seeing how it all shakes out for you – and for me.

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Ashlynmathews November 9, 2012 at 6:51 am

I’m looking forward to seeing how you and Cary do too. Morgan ONeill’s Roman time travel series will definitely be on my to-be-read shelf. And thank you for your constant support of new and seasoned authors!

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Deborah O'Neill Cordes November 9, 2012 at 6:59 am

You are most welcome, Ashlyn. Shadow Watcher is in my Kindle and it is next on my list to read. I can’t wait to delve into your plot – demon hunters, detectives, and Seattle – oh, my!

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Chantilly White November 9, 2012 at 8:17 am

Great post, Ashlyn! And as Deborah noted, I think you’ve hit on the feelings of a lot of new, and also established, authors. It is a really uncertain time, which can be unsettling and frustrating as we try to navigate new waters, but it’s also pretty exciting. We’re pioneers! “Keep writing” is probably the best advice there is for getting through it all. Lucky for us, we have such a great support network to fall back on. Whenever I feel frustrated, I just hop on a loop and there are hundreds of people in the same boat, willing to share their experiences as you’ve done here, commiserate or provide a needed kick in the pants to get back to the keyboard. I’m looking forward to your story! 🙂

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Christina McKnight November 9, 2012 at 9:05 am

Great post…and way to tackle a topic most writers won’t even write about! Keep writing–this advice will never go out of style 🙂

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Maggie Jaimeson November 9, 2012 at 11:02 am

Thanks for sharing your results to date, Ashlyn. It is frustrating, particularly when it’s hard to do a direct correlation. The problem with TBR piles in the digital age is that you don’t know when someone finally buys. How big is their TBR pile? If it’s more than a few, how do they make decisions on which one among the 10 or 20 is the one they will actually buy next? I think you have the best solution, however, which is to write the next book and get it out there. Good Luck to you.

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Ashlynmathews November 9, 2012 at 11:12 am

Thank you! It is frustrating. Being proactive helps. Learn, reach out to others and most of all, have fun, right? Otherwise we’d all give up on our dreams 🙂

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Cathryn Cade November 9, 2012 at 11:56 am

Ashlyn,
You truly are voicing the uncertainty we all face now, as publishing morphs into a new and better world for authors.

I hear from seasoned authors not to stress if promo doesn’t turn into immediate sales, as we are building name recognition and branding ourselves as someone who can be counted on to produce certain emotions when readers read our stories. Promo is important, but our craft is even more important.

Keep writing, keep trying dif promo, and … you already said it. Persevere. We’re doing what we love, and that’s so huge.

best,
Cathryn

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Tara November 9, 2012 at 1:19 pm

As a yet-unpublished author, I’m wondering these same things, too. I think it’s fantastic that you are working so hard on your edits (1 a.m. for two weeks!) and I truly hope you find the right niche to get the publicity you are hoping for. Thanks for the great post!

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