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Thursday, 13 February 2014

It's Normal Not to Sell a Lot of Books

I came across this post: It's Normal not to Sell a Lot in the Writer's Café in Kindleboards the other week and thought how true it is.

People are influenced by the tales of overnight success many writers seem to have. So when someone decides they want to write professionally they are often stung by the cruel twist of reality. This feeling is made worse when someone asks how well your first book is selling only to be told you have yet to sell even one copy.

Most writers feel embarrassed or even mortified when the book they've worked so hard on doesn't sell a thousand copies overnight. And this is true whether you've just written your first or tenth novel. Sales are not guaranteed - ever. It doesn't matter if you've been writing for a month or twelve years. Sales are so random and unpredictable that if you let things get to you you'll be so miserable you'll have no energy to write the damn book in the first place.

Avoid people who have no insight into the business of writing and publishing for their unrealistic expectations will do you no favours. Just because J.K. Rowling has made more money than the Queen doesn't mean you will too.

So the message of this post is to be happy with what you have achieved. Not many people have the willpower to write even one book, so if you're writing your second then you've achieved far more than the average person.

If you desperately need money go out and find another form of income or hook a rich guy or gal. Don't spend hours wishing you could be Danielle Steel or Dan Brown. You are not them. You are you. Even though their money is nice there's definitely more to writing than the currency you're used to dealing with.

Expectations are a funny thing. When you start writing achieving one sale per month makes you feel like you've just climbed Mount Everest. Then you're selling ten books per month and the following year that goes up to fifty. But once you start selling and you get used to a certain number anything below that just isn't enough.

When I first started writing of course I had big dreams. But now I've learnt to tailor those dreams with a huge chunk of reality. Most books don't sell well and that's fine. Most books don't need to make the best seller charts. As long as writers keep writing I believe their books will one day earn enough to make a living.

If you're serious about making writing your career please remember this. Write as many books as you can and then write some more. Do not get obsessed with sales figures. Keep your perspective at all times. It doesn't matter how another writer is doing. Put all of your energy into you.