Ups and downs on the self-publishing journey

I’ve been experiencing the different sides to being a self published author since I published my debut novel The Inheritance in September.

It was selling quite well to begin with and I was really encouraged. Then it slowed right down. I wasn’t doing very well in the US until I did my free promotion over 5 days from the end of October to the beginning of November. I had nearly 9500 free downloads during that time, the vast majority of them in the US.

But after that I came back down to earth with a bump. My novel was selling much better in the US than before the free promo, but worse in the UK. My sales in other parts of the world weren’t good either. Eventually my sales dived again and now I find myself selling one or two copies here and there.

Well I guess one or two is much better than none! It is quite disheartening though. I do feel that The Inheritance is a bit tricky to place in a genre, which could be partly why it’s not selling hugely.

And then I had a couple of bad ratings on Goodreads. Although they were unaccompanied by a review, for some reason I felt worse than when I read a review with the same rating on Amazon. But as my writer friend Kate Frost says, bad reviews come with the territory.

Bad reviews can be a little hard to stomach though after you’ve worked so hard on something. Although as my husband said, it’s not necessarily because my writing’s that bad, it’s just that it wasn’t to someone’s taste. As Kate also said you have to take bad reviews with a pinch of salt, just as you might a five star review which raves about a book. You don’t Β know if they’re being fair or not.

I guess I’ve just got to keep my chin up and keep trying, promoting The Inheritance when I can and not being too downcast that it’s not selling that well.

How do you deal with disappointments in this self publishing journey?

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10 thoughts on “Ups and downs on the self-publishing journey

  1. Don’t be too disheartened, Elaine. Bad reviews (or in this case disappointing ratings) are an unfortunate part of being a writer. They also don’t mean that you’re a bad writer (get that thought right out of your head now because you’re a very good writer!), like you said it’s often because it wasn’t the right book for the reviewer.

    As for sales mine have really slumped too over the last month and so I’m wondering if it’s got something to do with the time of the year and Kindle books not being bought as presents and people having too many other things to do on the run-up to Christmas than read? Just a thought. xx

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    • Ah thanks Kate, that’s a real boost. You could be right about a pre-Christmas slump. Who knows, there may be a spike in sales after Christmas, especially if people get Kindles as presents! The woman I work for has told me she’s getting one for Christmas and my book will be the first one she downloads!

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  2. I try not to pay too much attention to sales because they can be depressing. I tell myself once I get more books out there and get more of a ‘name’ then things will pick up. Sometimes I even believe myself. πŸ˜‰ As for reviews . . . like Kate said.

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    • Hi Kathi, that’s interesting what you say about not paying too much attention to sales. Maybe I’ll take a leaf out of your book – because like you say it can be depressing!! I’m like you, I want to get as many books out there as I can. I think that’s the thing to aim for really as a struggling indie author. That way the more books you have out there the more visible you are. In theory at least! πŸ™‚

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  3. My sales slumped in October 2012 and I was really disheartened; until I read on various forums that this was quite common. I think that the slump is for two reasons. One is that people are saving up for Christmas. The second is that the big publishers publish their new books in October and November. Lots of people who now read e-books in particular are not the early adopters of technology but more mainstream and I think that, as such, they are keen to read the authors they know already. My sales picked up in December. This year the slump came later, in November but appears to be picking up again. There may be another factor, the fuss over erotica Indie books – WH Smith is still not selling Indie books of any sort.

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    • Thanks for that Martin, that’s helpful. I’m with KDP select at the moment so I’m not available on any other platforms. But as you and Kate have said, it could well be to do with the time of year that I’m not getting more sales. And I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that many people are keen to read the authors they know.

      Also I think part of the reason I’m not selling well is that people simply do not know my book is there. I think it’s a case of ‘how do I make my book more visible’ which, of course, comes down to marketing. It’s certainly a steep learning curve as an indie author.

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  4. Found your post whilst going through links and really agree with what you say there. I’m still a little bit away from the stage you’re at (currently editing), and the thought of someone who I don’t know giving their opinion on my novel (which has essentially become my child), is horrible.
    Keep on keeping on though. It’ll all be good.

    Rob.

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    • Hi Rob. Thanks so much for your lovely comment. It’s great to have such encouraging words from other writers and to hear their experiences of self-publishing. I guess people being critical of our work is something we have to accept as writers, though it’s not easy. I will keep on keeping on. There’s no going back! πŸ™‚

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