The Struggles of an Author in Today’s Market

I might sound a little whiny in this post, and for that I’m sorry. It’s not my intent to whine and complain, but to be honest about the behind the scenes of being an author.

I feel I have failed on some level with my author life. I can write compelling stories, and I get good feedback from the people who’ve read them, but I can’t for the life of me sell my books. I’m not one to shove my book down people’s throats. I just can’t. It seems that the only way to sell any is to be constantly peddling your book or spending money on advertisements, and I just don’t have the gumption or the money to do such a thing.

Let me tell you, social media is kind of a joke. When I scroll through Twitter and I see tweets about “books to buy”, I scroll right on past them to look at the tweets about people’s thoughts instead. I can guarantee you, almost everyone does that. Nobody wants to see sales pitches.

Social media is kind of like yelling into a crowd of screaming people. When everyone is yelling, nobody can be heard. That is, unless you somehow managed to get your hands on a bullhorn and your voice suddenly stands out. There are some people on Twitter that have found that magical bullhorn and have somehow made it through the struggling masses to rise above. I’ve seen their tweets and honestly, the tweets aren’t that special or more profound than anyone else’s, but they’ve somehow stumbled on a way to make people care about them.

Good for you, random Twitter people. I’m glad you’ve been able to grab on to the elusive spot of popularity. Use it wisely. With great powers, comes great responsibility.

As an author, you’re told to have a social media platform. I get the gist of it. It allows you to connect with people; make friends with strangers and then maybe they’ll want to buy your book. I’ve been on Twitter for a couple of years now, and I have a few people I interact with, but I’m fairly certain none of them have bought my books and I’m guilty of not having bought theirs either.

Terrible, I know.

I am currently looking for a job after thirteen years of being a stay-at-home mom. I basically had what everyone wanted: to be at home and have time to write. Problem is, my writing has done nothing for our finances. Actually, I’m more in the hole than when I started.

Could I have done more to bring in sales?

Absolutely.

But silly me, I chose to take the time I wasn’t doing household chores, or child related things, to write.

Yup. I wrote during my free time. *Gasp*

Why didn’t I study advice about marketing books?

Because I’m a writer, not a salesperson. Don’t get me wrong, I would look into advice about book marketing, and then I would immediately feel overwhelmed, and frustrated. The market is saturated with books now that people can self-publish. You are competing with thousands…no scratch that…millions of other authors in the world who are all trying to be the next J. K. Rowling.

Writing is the easiest part of the whole thing, my friends. Unless you’ve already worked in sales, and have some great skills under your belt, there is a whole second job’s worth of information and learning you need to do when it comes to being an author.

I found a great blog post by whimsydark. It’s from 2015 but it is applicable to my plight. She basically says the same things I’m saying now, that social media marketing is a joke and her conclusion is to just write.

Write.

Write your books and make it the best book you can possibly make it.

So, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to keep writing. It’s going to be harder if I do manage to get a full time job, but I’m going to try as hard as I can to keep my dream alive.

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