I had a sudden epiphany last week. It came to me while I was browsing books by my favourite chick lit authors in my local library. I envied the success of these particular writers and wished I could have their good luck sometime in the future.
I then went home to look up their books on Amazon and Goodreads to see their reviews. And what I found shocked me.
These books weren't so successful as I thought they would be. Some only had 3/5 stars, and their ranking was also much lower than I had expected. I must have browsed over 50 to a 100 books in the space of an hour, thinking that just because the author had an agent and a traditional publisher behind them, they would be so much more successful than the average indie.
Now these writers have produced a lot of books over their career. One particular author has over fifty books on her author page, but her reviews do not reflect that achievement.
Quite a few said more or less the same thing - stating that she should not focus on how many books she can produce in one year, but she should spend more time on the ones she has written and focus on how to craft them better.
And do you know what ...? I agree.
This author is ridiculously successful but her writing has become so poor over the last few years. Her characters are flat and annoying, and her plotlines are ridiculous and far fetched. She has written a very popular series, and I think because of its success, she has decided to stick with all her old character types.
But then I wondered how much influence her publisher has over her work. She's probably under strict instructions to write more in less time and therefore produces a mediocre piece of work. She probably has an idea of what plotlines to write about and what her agent considers successful.
But my main point is: have the people in question lost touch with their readers reality?
The result is that the industry publishes a lot of books that in my mind would really struggle to sell if the author was unknown. And it's only because of their previous success that they manage to continue to write.
As an indie author myself I haven't got this added luxury. At the moment I am only writing my third book. Therefore my main goal is to produce the absolute best piece of work I can possibly write and to have it professionally edited. And to hope it sells.
But I did also realise another point when browsing these particular books. I have had the same sort of ranking in recent months. Sometimes my ranking has been even higher than theirs. So, as long as I keep writing I see a good chance of success.