I was going to talk about each one of my books to start out my blogs, but I was distracted.  It happens to the best of us.  I began to mull over the complaint of many an Indie writer. 

Over the last few days I have seen my fellow authors post about bad reviews or bad comments, returns, or worse of all no sales.  It breaks my heart.  I,too, have had the same problems.   What I'd like to do is put this all into perspective.

In all honesty, when was the last time you bought something at a store for .99 cents, brought home, used it, then said, "Ya know, it's not everything I thought it would be, I'm returning this." ?  That's right, never.  Or if you said "Hmmm, just last week."  then you have more serious problems and can stop reading this now.  

Yet in their defense, they have every right to expect that the writer has done everything in their power to use the correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation.  In addition, they have to make sure their characters are realistic and their story is engaging.  Oh and please!, give them more than ten pages, they are paying .99 cents for it, for crying out loud!

Here's the catch...you have to do this all on your own. So spend every extra minute you have, after working all day, possibly take care of a few kids, other life necessities, to write your masterpiece.  You may have to stay up late, miss that party, or possibly alienate a friend. Okay, you are allowed to ask family and friends to edit for you, so try not to alienate them...

Now after the hours you put into writing, you also have to publish.  Pity the reader, they have no idea the different formats you have to adhere to from publisher to publisher.  (Which is why we all mostly stick with the  free easy one.)   Don't forget the cover!   Some of us are paying for cover art, others can't afford to.  We have to make do with what is available for free and hope to manipulate it into something eye-catching.  Hopefully we have a program to add the title and our name.  

You finally press the button to publish and then you wait.  You wait with almost the same anticipation as the birth of a child.   It's arrived and you announce it to the world!!!  After all the labor and time you have put into it, you still only ask .99 cents for it because you are an unknown author.  You're saying, "Please take a chance on me!"

You have done all you can...and you wait...for reviews, for sales, for some one to take notice...maybe do an interview on a blog.  Exciting stuff!! 

But, here's where it gets stupid, there will be the fraction of people who like to poo on your parade.   They don't give constructive reviews.  Their point seems to be to show how they know so much more than the writer about writing.  Which turns it into more of a bad comment, even complaining a short story was too short!  They read and return, that to me is criminal for a .99 cent book.  (Author note:  I have a "How to" book that is $7.99 and after they know "How to" they return it,  I also find  that criminal.)  However, it's perfectly legal...

Bless the reviewer who is constructive and intelligent, good or bad.  I say again, BLESS THE INTELLIGENT REVIEWER!  We live for what you say, it's the temperature of our work, so please take the time to review.

Lastly I address no sales. Ask yourself if your blurb is interesting.  Make sure you have made enough noise to let everyone know its available.  Shout it from the rooftops of Facebook, Twitter, do interviews on blogs, etc. Sometimes it's a matter of the cover not grabbing someone and shaking them into reading.  I'd try that first.

A writer's work is never done, if someone told you this was easy...it's not.  Sometimes people get a lucky break but for the majority of us, we have to work very hard to get very little.  If you are in this for the money, I wish you luck.  If you are in this because you have a desire to write and possibly share your books with others, then welcome to the club.

Shiralyn J Lee
7/24/2012 10:58:20

I do feel as though there are also a certain few who have caught on that they can buy/read and return a book too. They are a select few but even so it all contributes to this story. I have just set up a blog myself (not quite sure what I'm doing) but I'm giving it hell. I want to succeed in what I do.

7/24/2012 12:17:45

Oh honey, preach on! I know so many people who are unsure of why I spend so much time working on my titles in pretty much every free moment I get. My poor boyfriend is alienated sometimes and it's not easy to juggle. I applaud you, my dear friend, to open some people's eyes on this issue. Even those who've found recent success would be nowhere without the loyal fanbase they've been lucky enough to acquire. Kudos!!

7/24/2012 18:42:32

good post and I agree with everything you say but, there is a school of thought that 99 cents shouts 'bad book by indie author' although why that should be I don't know.

Maybe it's something to do with that old saying 'cheapness is mistaken economy' we need to start a new saying 'don't judge a book by its price' and see what happens.

Carol x

7/25/2012 06:40:18

I agree whole heartedly, Yezall. For less than the price of a coffee some people expect Hemmingway.
My books are priced cheaply in order to give them a chance, if they were priced above $3 even the larger volumes like Chronicles have little chance of sales, as is shown by figures. I have to keep the price down to try and catch somebody willing to take a chance on an unknown writer

7/25/2012 12:17:33

Because I've read some of your stories, I feel I am credible in saying you have had the unfortunate circumstance of running into trolls. A troll hangs out in forums, pontificating on what is acceptable, what is not. Their level of intelligence runs to get it free. To do this, they must buy but find fault so a return is possible.

That's troll number one, but than you have an even worse monster who either has had a falling out with said author and starts a smear campaign. Their motive is to bring said author to their knees. In high school, we called them bullies. These bullies are the ones that did not get confronted and have grown into despicable adults.

Great article - you have told it as it is, and that's the shame of it all.


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