book sales

Did you hear that screaming?

Did you hear that? I am sure you heard it, that blood curdling scream. That was me. No, there is nothing wrong. Life is good, great in fact. I am in good health; I smile a lot and do a lot of physical things to keep my mind sharp.

Why am I yelling, screaming at the top of my lungs, you might ask? I have been writing my novel for the better part of a year and it’s getting harder and harder to put words to paper (computer). In addition, it just happens to be my life story; of course, I am fictionalizing most of it, though. I am now at 85,000 words, but only ¾ finished, maybe more, maybe less. My other debate is do I break the story into two 50,000 words stories? I have seven stories in this series, some outlined and a few only outlined in my head.

I don’t know if it’s me or just me. I remember, back in my wild youth, I use to drink, at least a bottle of wine when I wrote and I was prolific with my writing. To top it off, if I was on a deadline I could knock of a few pages in no time. That isn’t happening now. On the other hand, I would have to say I am just getting lazy. Retirement has done that to me.

Way back then, writing was the career that I looked forward to. Retirement never came into mind. However, my job and family hindered me ever so slightly. So, I ended working, writing for others and worked lot more on my poetry. When I did finally retire in 2006, I dove into making writing my life, my new career. I guessed the adulation, the money; the fame would just roll in like waves on the shores of life. Boy was I wrong.

Even though I have two books of poems, two science fiction short stories and one science fiction book published, there’s one thing I didn’t count on, marketing. I really didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing wrong. I took a class in marketing many moons ago; I think I should have studied the entire course. I am lacking many other things that, as far as the writing, publishing and the marketing aspect of writing go.

Sometimes I really want to scream, yell out loud because of those deficiencies. So much to do so little time. To be honest, I feel like I only have so much time left in my life and it’s getting shorter every time I sit in front of this computer and only write a sentence or less.

To make matters worse, I have downloaded a ton of material on the marketing aspect, I just haven’t started read most of it yet.  I did to manage read something on marketing my novel on Twitter back in March. At the time, I had, maybe, a little over 60 twitter followers. Most of the things I posted were my daily exercises and from an app that counted my calories for me. At the end of March, after reading that material, I had over 3,000 followers.

I decided that the way to go was to get those followers and market my published books that way. I would have to say that it isn’t the way to go. Most of those followers are trying to do the same thing I am doing, marketing their books. So, I am bombarded with queries to “buy” their books or at least read their books and give a review. As of today, I have purchased or gotten free, over 200 books. I just have to find time to read more. In the meantime, I have only sold 25 books. Go figure.

To a small degree, the NaNoWriMo – The National November Write Month – helped quite a lot. I did manage to get half of my novel done during that time span. Thirty days later, I’m stuck or… lazy? Lazy or not drinking enough.

I really don’t drink liquor any more. I only got sick and threw up and then went to sleep. The wine did work better, but the result, even though I didn’t get sick, I would still get to sleepy and do not much more after I finished a paragraph or so.  I also indulged in the leafy green stuff, too, back then. That too worked wonders and I wrote quite a bit and enjoyed it in the end. However, that too just made me lazy by the end of the writing session.

Now that weed is getting, little by little, less illegal, just a little less, I may have to take that up again. It’s been a very long time since I smoked weed and it did wonders for my writing. And since I enjoy music, I’m listening to, “The marriage of Figaro” from my eclectic playlist as I type this, I think it might just help from screaming every day I don’t write novel. On the other hand, it might hinder my writing, I may never know.

I hope that January and the rest of this year will be more productive. I have two books of poems I want to start and finish and another science fiction short story that is running circles in my head and I have gotta get it out.

As it is now, I just want to keep my mind open and free from toxic substances. Besides, I just finished my second cup of tea and I have written over 900 words in 20 minutes. More tea!

Am I a Fraud?

I am a fraud. I hope that isn’t true, but I’m beginning to feel if it may be. Let me explain; I have published (self-published) five books, since 2010. Two books of poems, one science fiction novel and two science fiction short stories. The thing is; the poems in my book, I wrote most of them in the 90s and again when I my mother passed away in 2000. The novel, I started writing way back in the 90s and finished it in 2010. It had been collecting dust until this year.
As for the short stories, yes, written back in the 90s. So, I can say that I really haven’t written anything in the last 14 years or so. I am a fraud. I just finished all of those stories in the past few years.
I have been working on my fictional auto-biography, again, since the 90s and I finished, part one, two years ago. It is supposed to be a six part story, but if I can get 3 novels out if it, I will call myself lucky. However, those were re-writes and more re-writes. It now the story languishes over there on my desk. I should get someone to dust this place because my novel is filled with dust.
On the other hand, now that I think about it, I did manage to write 39,000 words for part two of the series. That happened during the NaNoWriMo, the National November Writing Month, back in 2012. I am still debating on combining the first two books, which would give me over 100,000 words. A serious thought.
Since 2012, I have started several short stories, and three novels that, for some strange reason, I can’t seem to get into. One story I really like; I have written 20 pages and just got stuck. I have no idea what to put down on paper, or what direction to head. It’s the same with the other two. As for my third book of poems, Haiku’s, I have to wait until fall to find things that represent autumn, and I need at least 300 haiku’s, half-way there. I am beginning to think I am a fraud.
But, I digress. I am guessing my lapses in writing isn’t about writer’s block, which is driving me bonkers, but more about the business of writing. Some thirty years ago, I started at Wayne State University, working towards a degree in Journalism, and I really enjoyed the leg work, reporting and stuff. However, I had a few fiction stories in me that I really wanted to get out.
So, I started writing the fiction. Anyway, moving back to the future, I have realized one thing that has stopped me in my tracks and I am not sure if it is writer’s block, but for the fact, putting those books into the market has stymied me.
I put my heart and soul into writing my “babies”. I had no idea of the wisdom needed, in regard, to marketing. Even though I took a marketing class, way back when, just one class, though.
Nevertheless, in these four short years, I have only sold seven of my novels. On the other hand, when I first wrote my first book of poems, My Mother’s Garden, I sold 50 right away, mostly to close friends and family.
Looking back, someone asked me the other day, what was my goal was, in regard, to writing. I honestly couldn’t answer that simple question. I quit medical school to become a writer, (I never got in but I finished two years of pre-med with flying colors.). I was a dreamer, as a youngster, and loved science fiction and I couldn’t get enough. I truly wanted to write about it.
But, what is my goal? Fame, prestige, money? Sure, if I was 20 years old right now. I am beyond those years though. It wouldn’t hurt to make a few bucks, all the same. It’s funny, since I retired eight years ago I have had nothing but time on my hands. Writing is a business, and I have plenty to learn.
I want to say; not selling is depressing and hurts a tiny bit. Then again, I get it. I have more to learn, more to read, and I am not stopping now. I have more stories to tell.
Writer’s block, or am I a fraud? I hate to think I am the latter. I haven’t written anything in the last two week and I had to force myself to sit here and write this, I ran out of beer and that would have made it easier to write.

Marketing in the 21st century…

I just realized something, just this very minute, out of the blue; I joined Facebook, Twitter, and a couple other Social Networks to interact, network and see if I can use these platforms to sell my books. The 21st century way to market most thing, especially books.

Considering that is so very hard to get an agent or pitch your works, novels, screenplays to a publishing company. Many, many years ago while attending a college course on marketing, I was told; “you can’t get a book published without an agent and you can’t get an agent if you are not published. I see as of today, it still rings true.

Hence, joining social media groups. But, what I have noticed the most and disturbing thing…if you get thousands and thousands of followers in the same venue, writers, your chances of networking is great. HOWEVER, I am finding out, of those thousands of followers, they don’t want to buy your book; they want you to buy their books!

So, the vicious circle continues in the writing world for us novices, us amateur, us beginning, us retired wanna be authors.  The writing world is crowded, indeed, and there has got to be a better way. I have received quite a few suggestions and as funny as that is, I have tried all of them before they were suggestions, go figure.

So much more to do so little time. I will continue to write and hope for the best.