Discontent and Uncertainty

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?