Blockage

It’s been a couple of months since I’ve been able to sit down and actually write anything on a story. I finished a short story back in mid-June, but hadn’t been able to put the proverbial pen to paper since then. Every time I pulled up a story to work on it, I’d just stare at the cursor blinking, then get frustrated and close it all down. I’ve written a total of maybe three paragraphs since June, across a couple of stories, and while I like what I’ve written, it’s not likely to get finished anytime soon at that pace.

What happened? Why was I previously able to crank out thousands of words a day, but now I can’t even get a sentence out? I’ve hunted in my head for the answers, and I think I might have started to figure it out. I’m not happy with the answer, but knowing might help me get past it.

I think a big chunk of it is frustration with how the first book has done. Since I relaunched it as my own, self-published book, I’ve made a grand total of…1 copy. I’ve done some marketing, I’ve done a couple of promotions on Amazon, and…1 copy. Its very disheartening. I know, intellectually, that without a lot more investment in promotion and advertising, it’ll be hard to sell very many copies, but it’s still frustrating. And it’s got me in a bit of a funk. I kind of don’t want to work on writing more books right now, if there’s not going to be people reading them.

I know a lot of authors say, “Oh, I’d still write even if no one were reading them.” And, admittedly, I’ve written lots of stuff no one has ever read (my previous efforts at self-publishing a couple of years ago can attest to that). But at some point, the whole reason for writing these stories is so that someone else can read them. If it’s just for me, why spend all the money on editing and covers? Why bother?

All of this sounds very self-pitying, and I hate that. I hate the funk it’s got me in. I want to get back to enjoying writing.

But! I’m hoping writing this all down, putting it out there, will kick me in the pants and get me motivated to turn it around. Here’s hoping.

Seeking Reviews

The success of the self-published author, as many have said, is all about reviews.  We live and die by them.  The Invisible Crown is the most-reviewed book I’ve ever put out, and even it only has *checks Amazon page like he doesn’t know off the top of his head* five reviews.  I need more.

So, here’s the deal: if you’ve read and enjoyed the book, awesome!  Tell folks about it by leaving a quick review on the Amazon page.  It doesn’t have to be a gushing five-star review.  You don’t have to write paragraph after paragraph detailing your favorite bits and how your greatest sadness in life is that you don’t get to spend every waking moment of it with me (that can just be subtext).  Just a line or two saying, “I really enjoyed it, you should totally check it out if you like mysteries with snarky protagonists who drink far too much” is plenty.

And hey, if you haven’t read it yet, and happen to review books for a website?  Hit the Contact page and drop me a line, I’ll hook you up with a review copy!  Just like that?  Just like that.

I want reviews, folks!  Help a guy out!

From the Ashes

As I type this, the book is going through Kindle Direct Publishing’s setup process.  I’ve got everything uploaded, and the Royal James version of the book has been taken down off the web.  Within a day or two, the book will be available on Amazon again, this time directly from me.

It’s a little strange, going back to doing it all myself.  No more middle man nonsense.  I get to control the price and see the results and the totals and not have to sit here, wondering about everything because I don’t have any access to the data.

I’m still not sure if it’ll be better or worse.  It’ll be different.  Everything is back on my shoulders now.  I’m not just the guy writing the book anymore; I’m also responsible for the marketing and the formatting and everything in between.  That’s probably for the best.

It’ll take another day or two for me to set up the paperback version again.  I need to make sure everything is kosher and they don’t try to take it down because it’s exactly like a book that was just taken down off the site.  Good times.

Independent

So apparently Royal James Publishing has closed its doors.

This was…surprising news to find in my inbox this morning.  Their website is gone, their twitter is gone, their entire online presence has been wiped overnight.

My book is still available from Amazon at the moment.  I’m not sure how long that will last.

Now, before anyone panics and thinks that my book is gonna disappear from the shelves forever, know that I have the rights and all the appropriate files and I’ll keep the book up on Amazon and Smashwords and all that.  I’ll also be self-publishing the next book, The Hidden Throne, sometime later this year, and all subsequent books and stories in the series.

Here’s where it gets kind of interesting for me.  While I enjoyed my relationship with Royal James and appreciated their support, self-publishing is actually going to be much better for me.  I won’t pretend Royal James didn’t frustrate me sometimes; the publisher was sometimes hard to get in contact with and not particularly transparent with important information about sales and the editing/pre-publishing process.  I am gonna have to pay for editing and book covers and formatting and stuff like that myself now, which is a bummer.  But I’ve got a helluva lot more freedom.  I can sell the book for whatever price I want.  I can do giveaways and sales and things of that nature.  I don’t have to get someone else’s approval for anything.  and I can schedule book releases whenever I want to (instead of having to wait for what’s convenient for the publisher’s publishing schedule).

So, looking at the ol’ pros and cons list, it’s coming up way more pro than con, I think.  My year with Royal James was enlightening, and I’ve come out of it much more knowledgeable about the publishing process than I was before.

Stay tuned for more information about upcoming releases and side projects!  Oh, I have so many side projects I wanna do, you don’t even know.