Am I the only writer with this problem? Every month of halfway decent sales is followed by 1-2 more months of suck: no sales at all. None.
When this happens, I simply take a breath and remind myself of two things: 1) It happens to everyone, and 2) I’m competing against millions of other authors, many who come out with several books a year. Of course the competition is steep (not that it’s really a competition, even though at times it feels like one).
But that doesn’t mean the whole month is a wash. I’ve started to notice a pattern: when sales are down, social engagement goes up. When social engagement is low, sales are higher. It doesn’t make much sense, on the surface. You’d think that an increase of blog, Twitter, and Facebook followers would translate to sales, but that’s not always the case. As a reader myself, I understand that it can take a while for an author to gain my trust. I need to be reassured that my money is going toward a quality product. Often, I’ll follow someone’s blog for months before deciding to purchase their books. I have no doubt my followers do the same.
I’ve learned to appreciate the value of social interaction, though. One cannot earn readers without it. Sometimes it starts with a funny Tweet or a comment on someone else’s blog post. The silly observations and clever memes aren’t always pointless if they gain someone’s attention and captivate interest. It’s something I joke about with my husband, even though it’s not a joke: my job really does involve discussions on Twitter! There really is a purpose for sharing all these cat memes!
Yes, on the surface I know that sounds ridiculous. But writers know that sometimes these silly measures are necessary. The authors I love most are the ones I connect to on a real, authentic level. I like reading about the messy, the every day, the grievances, and their overall process. As much as I’d love to present myself as being more of a big deal than I actually am, I know better. Other writers know that trick, because we’re all doing the best we can to keep our heads afloat in this business.
It’s always, always better to be honest than “professional.” So here goes: My name is Sarahbeth Caplin, and I haven’t sold any books yet this month. I am the furthest thing from a “big deal,” but I love what I do, and cannot imagine doing anything else. My royalties might never buy me a house, but they have bought me gas in the past. Sometimes.
In conclusion, here’s another picture of my adorable fur babies.