So today’s post might be a little less upbeat as the rest of my days have been. That’s just a little disclaimer before you read any further.
For anyone who’s been following me for some time knows that my dream is to one day quit my full-time job and be able to write full-time as opposed to finding a few hours between my shifts to write. This has been a dream of mine since childhood but seemed to be a much more achievable dream for the past five years.
Starting October of last year I spent practically every available waking minute working on my first novel with the hopes of publishing at the start of this year. Well, I was able to keep to the timeline I set for myself. On January 14, 2019, I published my first novel with Amazon. I was ecstatic. I couldn’t wait for the world to read my most proud accomplishment to date. I knew it wouldn’t be easy and it would take even more hard work to gain some traction as an indie author, but I never expected it to be this difficult and this discouraging.
It’s been just short of three months since my debut novel was published. In that time I’ve sold 49 copies. For some people, this number might seem like an accomplishment in itself. For me, however, my goal was to sell at least 1,000 copies in a year, but ideally much more.
Once I saw the numbers barely roll in, I knew that I had to do something different. I knew that I had to put a hold on the two other novels I had planned out and was ready to start writing to learn the ins-and-outs of book marketing.
I found tons of information online from other authors on how they successfully marketed their book(s). The only problem was that each blog I read gave contradicting information from the previous one, or that so much information was dumped on me at once I had no clue where to start. Cue the overwhelming, suffocating feeling of trying to market a book.
In the end, I decided to stick with the guideline recommendation each author said: go to social media and start making some connections.
I set up a schedule for all of my social media pages to post regularly, started following other creators, and thought I’d be good to go. I was ready to make connections with other authors and for potential readers to see my posts and become fans. Except none of this happened. Sure, I made some connections, especially on Twitter, with fellow authors, but nothing serious came from it. And that’s when the real discouraging happened.
Sure, I was upset that my novel wasn’t gaining any traction, but like I said before I knew it would take time. It wasn’t until I saw the other authors, most of them were other indie authors, posting on social media where hundreds of other people were interacting with them, they had over 1,000 followers, and seemed to have everything put together. Then, I looked back at myself and saw that I had less than 500 followers total across all social media platforms and had little to no engagement with anything I posted. That’s when I started to get in my head. My anxiety took control over my life and told me I was already a failed author.
Social media is great, but it can be extremely detrimental to self-esteem. With social media, it’s so easy to get lost in the numbers game and the perfect lives everyone (including myself) portrays.
I say all of this to hopefully help other authors and creators who are struggling with similar issues as I am. I haven’t quite gotten this indie author life or anxiety thing under control but re-evaluating what I’m doing as an author and book marketer has helped a little bit. By sharing my negative feelings and lack of results helps a little more. And, I hope sharing this has helped you a little bit too.