The Dog Days Of Writing

I’ll admit it: I’ve been in a writing slump lately. The novel I’m currently working on should have been finished seven months ago. I only have one chapter left to edit, yet I haven’t touched it in two weeks. I’ve been discouraged with the results of my first novel, The Earth Bleeds Red. I think the book came out great and my publisher did a good job editing it and designing an eye-catching cover, but…

There’s always a but.

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The Earth Bleeds Red

Marketing has left everything to be desired. I’ve gotten burnt out by doing all of the marketing myself and stopped doing any marketing a few months ago. After I did, sales slowed and then slowed some more. My first book, which I self-published 3 and a half years ago, is outselling the new one and I haven’t marketed it in longer than I can remember. I pushed it hard for the first year and it has outsold the new one by leaps and bounds.

The truth is that I’m working 70+ hours a week with a business I started last August. It has grown at a tremendous rate and I absolutely love it.

Name Brand Thrift
NameBrandThrift.com

 

I’m also finishing up my degree at Oregon State and will graduate in December after taking my final three classes in the Fall.

I will have more time to write this Summer when I’m not in school and as the new year approaches with school winding down. My passion for writing has not waned but sometimes, we all need a break. With my new novel, I’ll be querying lit agents and wait patiently for the right situation. Oh yeah, did I mention that I’m married with four kids? Life is rather busy 🙂

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9 thoughts on “The Dog Days Of Writing

  1. I feel the same way as you. I’m not even doing marketing. I don’t feel like that’s my job. The only thing I’m doing is staying on top of my platform, mostly consisting of Tumblr and WordPress. I really want to start my Youtube channel back up, but am having difficulties trying to find a niche that makes it unique like all other successful Youtube channels. But I’ve been busy, too: school, work, ballet, writing, trying to keep up with Tumblr (this can be a monster in itself), and periodically updating my WordPress blog. But all this other platforming stuff, seriously, I just don’t have too much time for that. I’m already feeling burned out as it is right now, and all I’ve been doing is surfing the internet.

    I don’t want to say I’m disappointed with my first book, but I really am expecting to see some good upticks here and there, because one book with the press I’m at has seen periodic decent rankings, and another book is consistently staying in the 20,000s, so I don’t see why my book can’t be there. I know the 20,000s guy is doing podcasts, but I don’t think he’s pushing himself too hard, save for the writing department itself.

    I’m going to finish my Stars Trilogy with them, of course. I’m hoping by the third book the first book will at least be seeing some decent success. But then I sometimes wonder if my book is ever going to see it, especially because it is in the paranormal genre, and it seems like YA readers might be burnt out on this genre–even though my book isn’t your typical paranormal fair found in the market.

    Whatever. I wrote the book I wanted to write.

    Otherwise, I’m working on a LGBTQ book that I want to submit to an AbsoluteWrite-certified small press following me on Tumblr that re-blogs just about every post I write. Then I’ll write another contemporary book and seek a lit agent for that, too. I’m just trying to shake this burned-out feeling, because I really do love this LGBTQ book I’m doing, even though I’ve just begun.

    Just…brain cells. They are lacking.

    1. Great comment, Amber. I definitely don’t mind doing some marketing and promoting, but what’s the point if the publisher isn’t going to? I would have been better of self-publishing, sales-wise. I’ve learned a lot, however, and have many positive experience from this book too.

      1. Agreed. Sometimes I wonder that myself, if my paranormal book would have done better under my own brand. Then again, the author who sees sporadic spikes has a paranormal book as well. I dunno. I’ve seen books even with the Big 5 do about as well as a book with a small press (for those books that don’t make it into bookstores, because there is limited shelf space). I still have a lot of faith, though. It’s not like my sales have dropped off. Not at all. I guess it’s just the nature of a small press. You can’t expect huge sales with one. After all, small presses are for books the big guys don’t know how to market, and I knew my book would be one of those books, especially because they probably don’t want any more YA paranormal books.

        But at least my publisher is providing invaluable advice on platforming, something you would otherwise have to pay for. Without them, I wouldn’t have found my niche with Tumblr, as my blog is fairly popular and my posts receive a great amount of attention.

        I’m just still trying to figure out what to do with my Youtube channel, because I am very personable and badly want to do one. I’ve been using John Green’s as an inspiration, because before his publicist even touched him, John Green was pretty much a sales force on his own with his first book, just through his Youtube channel alone.

        So marketing isn’t our job. But it is our publishers’ jobs to ensure that we’re building our platforms as we should be, so that way our platforms help us build careers. It’s also their jobs to make platforming as easy and smooth as possible, because they shouldn’t assume we don’t have lives outside of being authors. For goodness sake, I put my school and job ahead of my writing.

        But even big guys only promote a book for so long (2 months, I think?) before your platform has to carry it throughout the duration of its contract life. So those first 2 months are crucial, because if your book sells well during those months, word of mouth, plus your platform, should carry it until the contract ends.

      1. I had one, but I don’t think they’re that effective unless you’re a known author. Research tells me radio interviews, and interviews in general, aren’t too effective in selling books. I did one interview where one book was sold because one listener was vocal about having bought it. So I don’t even bother with them anymore. Unless someone wants to approach me for one, I’m not going to go out of my way to find blogs to interview me, not when it seems nothing comes of doing these interviews.

      2. My general frustration stems from the fact that even though there’s all this advice being given, I don’t have time to do any of it. For example, the most recent one is to start a giveaway and contact anyone who enters and seems like they’d review your book. However, do you know how many people enter to win my book? I can get about 500 entries in one day alone. My last one had over 2,000 entrants. I’m not doing that. I don’t have the time.

  2. This is hard and I am sorry your second book isn’t selling. How did you get your publisher? Who was it? Did they explain to you how much marketing you have to do? I am querying agents and it sucks but maybe the end result will pay off. Until then, I am in school, trying to be a UX designer because let’s face it– English majors aren’t known for their large bank accounts. A BFA in creative writing and a BS in UX/UI Design (computer science).

  3. Hi Jackson, I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions via email regarding your experience with your publisher. They offered me a contract for my first novel, and before I make my decision I’d like to learn as much about them as I can. Would you be willing to send me your email address? Thanks!

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