New Year, Same Insecurities – An IWSG Post

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So it’s the first Wednesday of the year, and hmm…seems like I’m still pretty insecure, so I guess I’ll keep making Insecure Writers Support Group posts.

I already wrote a Goals and Aspirations for 2017 post the other day, so I won’t repeat everything that I’ve said about my writing goals, but given what kind of post this is I will tell you how insecure I’m feeling about the whole thing.

For one thing, when I was going through all my numbers for 2016, I realized that despite actually putting forth some real, major effort (at least in the first half of the year), I actually wrote over 25,000 words fewer than I wrote in 2015. And this is in addition to the fact that I all but quite blogging in the second half of the year specifically so that I’d have more time and energy to focus on writing fiction. That is a worrying trend for me and it makes me wonder if – at this point in my life – I’m even capable of turning it around and moving in the other direction. Or will I just keep dwindling and dwindling until I’m basically writing nothing at all? It’s a thought that definitely troubles me.

Additionally we’ve got the whole self-promotion thing. I’ve never been good at it, but I seem to be getting worse, not to mention running out of methods to try. Changing the cover to “Nowhere to Hide” seemed to help a bit, for a short while, but that influx has long since died off and we’re back to being lucky to sell a book a month. I’ve tried giveaways, I’ve tried contacting reviewers, I’ve tried ads…none of them really did much of anything except for an extremely tiny boost during the actual event and then nothing afterwards. I’ve even sent books off to fellow YouTubers (which was more of a present thing than a self-promo thing, if I’m honest), but while their unboxing videos gave us a spike in subs to the YouTube channel, they did nothing for book sales.

I get that zombies aren’t for everyone, so you’re definitely going to get a lot of people who might look at the book and then just go, “Nah, not my bag,” but I have to be honest, I truly believed that I’d sell at least a few books a month instead of having stretches of months at a time of absolutely nothing, and it’s getting really old. I put a lot of effort into that book, I genuinely believe that it’s good, and I’ve had numerous people who don’t even like horror and zombies tell me that they enjoyed it.

But I just can’t get people to buy it. And it’s infuriating. And, justifiably, makes me pretty damn insecure.

I’ve considered sending it off for the Self-Published Book Awards (by Writer’s Digest) again, but I don’t think I want to waste the money. The last time my $75 entry fee got me a pathetic, four-sentence “feedback” e-mail that basically told me that my cover and summary were crap and didn’t really say a damn thing about the book itself at all. I’ve changed both the cover and summary since then, but the overall lameness of what they consider to be “feedback” doesn’t really put me in a mind to waste more money on them.

And so I sit here, thinking and frowning to myself and wondering what else there is I can try that’s not going to cost me money, because so far almost everything I’ve done has cost me money and I haven’t seen a return on it at all.

Also, just as a final note, I don’t know if this has even occurred to anyone who is reading this post, but if my thought process seems horribly disjointed, half-complete, and generally unfocused, I can confirm that it is, in fact, all of those things, because nothing has changed from 2016 and I’m still always doing fifteen things at once. While writing this post I’m also eating breakfast and trying to slam a bunch of coffee into me since I didn’t sleep well last night, chatting online with a friend who lives on the other side of the country so there’s only a few hours a day we can really catch each other, sending messages back and forth with a fellow YouTuber asking his advice on some things, and obsessing over the fact that I haven’t put away any of the Christmas stuff or cleaned up the basement to make way for all the videos we’re super behind on.

And people wonder why I’m insecure. 😛

10 thoughts on “New Year, Same Insecurities – An IWSG Post

  1. Writing at this point in your life – with young kids and a busy job and lots of commuting – is just really, really hard. Trust me, I know. At this point it may be best to be happy with whatever words you can get, I know that’s how I’ve been feeling lately. The fact that you regularly put out YouTube videos and keep a presence and a growing subscriber base is amazing – and in and of itself is a marketing tool.

    From what I understand the best marketing tool is to put out more books. Many readers are more likely to give a new writer a chance if they have some kind of catalogue. Most writers say it takes between three and five books to really start seeing a change in momentum, as the books start to market each other. Don’t quote me, as I’ve only put out two myself, but even with that I noticed a small uptick in the first book after the second came out (though the second didn’t do that great in and of itself). And if you already have a fan base from your YouTube channel, you’re off to a head start.

    Think of it this way: Maybe only 1% of YouTube subscribers will buy a book. If you have 100 subscribers and 1 book out, that’s only 1 sale. But if that one person really likes your writing and you have three books out, well, then that will be 3 sales. And by the time you write two more books maybe you’ll have 300 subscribers, so you’ll be in the 9-sale range, instead of just 3 sales with one book. And every new sale is a chance that they’ll tell someone else about it.

    (It’s not an exact science, but you get where I’m going. And this model doesn’t actually cost you anything except the time to write and whatever it already takes to make your videos.)

    TL;DR: I liked your first book and look forward to more.

    IWSG January

    • I totally mixed up your two comments and responded to the “have multiple books” thing in the other one. >.> It’s been a good morning so far. lol

      But yeah, I totally get everything that you’re saying. I guess I’m just getting a little frustrated because I expected it to be a rough go, but it’s been nearly 2 1/2 years since the book went live and I haven’t even made enough sales to reach CreateSpace’s payment threshold yet. :\ Patience is not one of my greatest attributes, but I think I’ve been pretty damn patient so far with very little to show for it. lol

  2. I think C.D. is right about having multiple books out. With a huge TBR pile to work through, I usually pick the books that are either in a series (reading the entire series at one go if I liked book one) or the stand-alones from authors whose work I’ve already read.

    Pinterest is also a good place to market your books: as in creating boards for characters (what they look like, what they wear, what their car looks like, etc.) and the world (castles, lights, etc.). If the pics are good, people will repin it – and you’ve obviously written a description that will catch somebody’s eye. Remember to create a business account – that way you have analytics and (when it’s available) direct buy links.

    Don’t give up. Writing is hard – but totally worth it.

    • Funny you should mention series’…I’m working on one of those right now, and hoping to have the first book out by Spring. Actually, it was originally one book, but I decided to break it into a series, and part of the reason is what you described: I’m hoping it’ll encourage more sales.

      I never thought of Pinterest as a good place to market books, but maybe I’ll give it a try. 🙂 Thanks for the idea!

  3. I wish I had something more helpful to say. There was a point for me where everything seemed to be going wrong with my writing and with my life in general, and I didn’t understand why.

    I don’t know if I can explain this well, but I had all these reasons to give up on writing. I was being pulled in so many different directions at once, and there were so many things that I thought were more important than writing. So I put my writing on hold, even though I felt pretty miserable about that decision.

    Then I had this “f*** it, I don’t care” moment. I think I needed that moment of clarity to really understand what mattered to me and what didn’t. So I disregarded all those well-thought-out reasons why I shouldn’t write, and started writing again anyway.

    Again, I’m sorry I don’t have something more helpful to say. I don’t think I’m doing a good job explaining what happened to me. I just hope that the frustrations you’re feeling now will lead to a similar moment of clarity for you.

    • I think I know what you’re getting at, because I’ve had a few points like that myself. Maybe I’m in another one of them now. They seem to come in waves, and I could be experiencing one because of the influx in focusing on the YouTube channel; the last time I had one was when our job out West got extended after I’d been expecting to get to go home for a while. I’m just not built for focusing on more than one thing at a time, I think. lol

      Glad to hear that you were able to say “f*** it” though! That’s key, I think. 😉

  4. Life just has this way of getting in the way of writing. I remember starting the first half of this year thinking that I was writing faster than ever before, but then I did the numbers and I was appalled. Not sure how I’m going to do this year. But at least I’m optimistic.

    Just give yourself some ,more time and I’m sure you’ll be okay.

    • I was the same way last year as well. It seemed like I was kicking ass in the first half of the year, so even though the second half was slow I still thought I did pretty well. Then I added up the numbers and realized I wrote about half a book LESS than the previous year, and it was a bit of a kick in the head. @_@
      I’ll borrow some of that optimism though and try to keep just pushing forward. ^_~ Here’s to 2017!

  5. I agree with C.D., in that you definitely need more books. As for writing, you really need to find a time during the week that you can put aside so that you can concentrate of writing. Personally, because my family is doing things on the weekend, I use that time to get my writing done. Very hard to do it during the week since the house is always busy and there are always things to do, but the weekends is what does it for me for writing time.

    • Yeah, I definitely feel you on finding a particular time. Hysterically, you’d think that I’d have nothing BUT time since I’m currently unemployed, but because my husband works from home it doesn’t really end up working out that way. It seems like there’s always something going on, and we’re always doing videos and the like, and even when we’re not the kid is around…I often feel like the only way I can carve out time to myself is if I purposely get up a couple hours early – before hubby or the kid are awake – and write then, but that wouldn’t really be sustainable since I seem to need twice as much sleep as a normal person to survive. :\

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