My 6 month bookaversary: a reality check

December 7th 2014

I posted this to Leandra’s blog a few days ago and I thought I’d cross-post it here as well. On December 3rd, I celebrated (sorta, kinda) my 6th month bookaversary.

Here’s the post I wrote on Leandra’s blog. She was a doll to host me.

Today is my six month bookaversary. Grunge Gods and Graveyards is slightly younger than the crying infant who is laying beside me as I type this post. (She’s peeved I’m typing — I don’t think she likes the clickety clack of the keyboard.) Leandra had asked me if I wanted to talk about what it’s like being a newly pubbed author and I said, yes! I’m very appreciative when authors are transparent. Fair warning though — this post details my experience. I have no idea what it’s like to be published by a large press with a large marketing budget. Your miles may vary.

First, GG&G has been out in the wild for six months and I’m pretty sure every family member, friend, friend of friend, mother-in-law of friend, cousin’s friend has read the book. Seriously, I am truly blessed. It’s awesome, but I’ve exhausted that group of people-who-know-me. I kinda need some strangers to read it. Right now, my sales have trickled down to a few a month, if I’m lucky. That’s right. A few a month. And part of me thinks it’s my mother buying extra copies.

It is crazy hard to sell a book and gain visibility, especially if you’re pubbed by a small press like me (a fabulous small press, but small nonetheless). My book cannot be found in Barnes and Nobles brick and mortar stores (right now, I’m selling the paperbacks at the local gym where my son takes swim lessons) nor is it likely to get reviewed by a major trade publication. I don’t think I’ve sold one copy on Barnes and Noble in the last month. My Amazon author rank is in the 700,000s. According to Goodreads, no one is reading it. My only hope for some momentum is to get a Book Bub ad which is very hard to come by, but I am keeping my fingers crossed. Getting a Book Bub ad is like winning the lottery.

For the last six months, I’ve been hustling trying to get book reviews. I’ve implored anyone who has read the book to review it on Goodreads and Amazon and I’ve been contacting bloggers. For every 20 review requests I send out, I’m lucky if I get one acceptance. It’s just how it is.

For awhile, I was constantly checking Twitter to see if anyone had mentioned my book in a tweet (rarely) or Googling the title to see if someone had written a review and I missed it (nope). I’ve stopped doing that.

Truthfully, I am not shocked or surprised by how things are going. I have written only one book and I am utterly unknown. I’m just glad to see my name on that beautiful cover. The only thing I can do right now to help my writing career is write, which I do, painstakingly slow. I’m currently working on a novella spin-off to GG&G. I’m half-way through a horrendous first draft of another YA mystery and I’m outlining a few other projects.

The last six months have been fun. It feels crazy good when someone says they read my book and loved it. Or that they recommended it to their friend. I even had a fan at my most recent book talk at the library. Now, that was awesome. My book can be found in five NJ public libraries. Granted, two libraries received donations from my mom and brother, but still…that’s something. Maybe someday, I’ll hit the lotto and become a literary sensation, but for now, I’m right where I figured I’d be.

The comments came streaming into her blog that day and I was moved by everyone’s encouragements. Many commenters were appreciative of my honesty. Truthfully, I need to hear from authors that publishing is not roses and sunshine and that all authors struggle. It makes me feel better to know I am not alone with weak sales and obscurity. It makes me feel like part of the pack. Also, that I’m paying my dues and someday things will pick up. When I write that next book.

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