Quit whining indie authors!

9 May

So some guy on KindleBoards is whining that his book isn’t selling. Loads of other authors offer advice. He’s offended. He wants to quit the writing business.

I didn’t comment on that thread, just like I don’t comment on the numerous whiny author FB posts.

My book isn’t selling. Nobody loves me. I should just quit. Wahhh!

Authors, don’t invite us to your pity parties and then reject our advice. Authors, quit whining that nobody is buying your books. If nobody is buying your books, whining isn’t helping. DO something about it. 

Here are some options:

  • 1. New cover
  • 2. Revise.
  • 3. Promote more.
  • 4. Try writing another book or a whole new genre.
  • 5. Quit whining. Quit whining. Quit whining.

My parodies aren’t selling as well as I’d like. I realize that this genre is limiting. Not every reader is a fan of crude paranormal parody. My mainstream comedy has received stellar reviews and has sold far better than the parodies.  So my next PJ Jones’ book will also be a mainstream comedy, not a parody.

Do I love writing parodies?

Hell yes!

Does it sadden me that I have to put those books on hold for a while?

Hell yes!

Am I whining about it?

Hell no!

Because whining isn’t going to sell more books.

I pubbed YA under another name with a publisher about five years ago. Those books didn’t sell well, but they are selling well now that I’ve gotten my rights back and put them on Kindle, Nook and itunes. I’ve realized that right now YA is HOT.

So yet another reason to put parodies on hold while I focus on releasing more YAs.

In today’s market, when the publishing industry has been completely rewritten by Kindle and other epubs, publishing houses are forced to adapt. This is the perfect market for indie authors. At least, those indie authors who are savvy enough to quit bitching and write for the market. Just like the publishing houses, we have to adapt, too. We have to learn new ways to sell our books. Try new things. But most of all, we have to quit whining!

And if you, the indie author, can’t market, can’t revise, can’t adapt, can’t accept feedback, then maybe this isn’t the business for you.

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22 Responses to “Quit whining indie authors!”

  1. Chris Ward May 9, 2012 at 2:39 am #

    It’s a tough business. This is why I always think that writers who’ve spent several years fighting against a wave of rejection (in my case 15) are better equipped to handle the struggle. I don’t want to be accused of being a “gatekeeper”, but while I think its great that self-publishing allows everyone the opportunity, I think many are setting out before they’re ready, both mentally and in terms of the level of skill required to be successful.

    • pjjoneswrites May 9, 2012 at 2:45 am #

      Agreed. I’m so glad Kindle Publishing wasn’t around ten years ago when I tried to publish some awful historical romance. Gawd, I probably would have published that literary vomit on my own. I remember entering it in several writing contests, despite the fact that my critique group said the ms wasn’t ready. I ignored them and then received low contest scores and harsh criticism from the judges. Ha! Ha! I so deserved it.

  2. medmcn May 9, 2012 at 3:24 am #

    I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of people putting that “first book” up for sale today are going to be mortified by it five years down the road, if they are still writing. Thankfully, it’s not too hard to use a pen name if you’ve already soiled your own name by putting it on a book that just wasn’t ready for prime time. I’m kind of glad ebooks weren’t an option when I was starting out, either, lo those many years ago. 😉

    • pjjoneswrites May 9, 2012 at 3:26 am #

      Aw, Ed, but you’ve pubbed some of your old stuff, and it’s pretty darned good. If you could have read my historical romance, but alas, I think I burned it.

      • medmcn May 9, 2012 at 3:45 am #

        Oh, I was writing for years before those shorts. I mean all the way back to when most of my main characters were penguins. Penguins working as PI’s. No kidding. 😉

    • Chris Ward May 9, 2012 at 3:57 am #

      Totally. My first book on Amazon is actually the seventh one I wrote, and I still think its a long way from perfect. People who say your first million words are just practice are not wrong.

      Pen names – that’s a great idea – I might upload some of the junk I wrote ten years ago under a wacky name just to see what happens…!

      • Rosanne Dingli May 9, 2012 at 4:28 am #

        True.

        I have put all the books I have written on one shelf. (About two feet of them, so far.) I have also gathered all the articles, blogs, poems, reviews, features, stories and columns I have written in my career since 1985 (two very huge boxes of some very tatty paper, basically!)

        I looked at it all. Whew.

        I realized I was still learning in 2010, after I’d written a tonne of stuff – October of that year was when independent publishing suddenly became a tsunami, and changed the industry as we knew it. (Whether we can still call it that is moot.)

        The novel I released this year (Camera Obscura, through BeWrite Books) indicates some of what I’ve learned.

        But the proof of all this might be more visible in next year’s novel.

        We’ll see.

      • pjjoneswrites May 9, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

        Yeah, my first Indie book is actually my seventh as well. I had three with a pub house and then a few more before that that never sold. I wrote a few books about fifteen years ago and submitted to all of the publishing houses, telling them they would be crushing my dreams if they rejected my manuscripts. Bwahaha! Oh, gawd, I’m so glad they rejected them.

  3. rosannedingli May 9, 2012 at 3:42 am #

    Some people just whine anyway. Lots of authors are out there learning as they try stuff, smiling all the way. I’ve been in this game 25 years, and have met my share of whiners, grinners, learners, sharers, and earners… and all combinations thereof.

  4. Rosanne Dingli May 9, 2012 at 3:44 am #

    Some people just whine. Many authors cheerfully write away and learn as they go. In the 25 years I have worked in the industry, I have met my share of whiners, grinners, sharers, learners and earners… and all combinations thereof.

  5. Shéa MacLeod May 9, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    My first published book was actually my third written. The first makes me throw up a little in my mouth every time I think of it. The second actually has some decent bones, so I’m ripping it to shreds and putting it back together. I shudder to think what might have happened if KDP was around 18 years ago when I finished that first novel. Oy vey.

    I agree with Rosanne, though. Some people just whine.

    • pjjoneswrites May 9, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

      And now look at your success! You did it the right way, Shea, with a professional blog, covers, and editing. It’s paid off with recognition and a nice publishing contract!

  6. stephenengland May 9, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    Well put. Planning a blog post of my own here in a few weeks regarding writers who whine about the “evils” of Amazon. It’s gone well beyond ridiculous.

    • pjjoneswrites May 9, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

      Oh, please let me know when your blog is posted. 🙂

  7. stephenengland May 9, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    Well put. I’m planning a blog post of my own in a few weeks about indie authors whining over the “evils” of Amazon. It went past ridiculous quite a while ago.

  8. Red Tash May 9, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    I agree with your post, word-for-word! If you don’t like your results, it’s probably because you weren’t realistic about the market in the first place. The only reason we aren’t deluged with “business sucks” posts from other industries is because we spend all our time writing and reading about our industry. When I ran a photography studio, 24/7 I read posts from wannabe photogs who started a wedding photography business, overcharged, provided a crappy product, then cried because they couldn’t pay off their start-up costs, and Lo, and Behold, they didn’t actually enjoy losing every Saturday of the year when the weather was pretty to someone else’s family event. I’d always kind of chuckle and go “Yeah, wedding photography isn’t for everyone.” There was no real advice I could give someone like that. Amateurs are amateurs for a reason. Real professionals take their business seriously!!!

    • pjjoneswrites May 9, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

      “Real professionals take their business seriously!!!” AMEN!

  9. RG Porter May 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    Fantastic post and so very true!! Am I selling what I want to sell currently? Heck no. Am I going to stop writing? Hell no! The voices in my head would drive me even further insane than I already am. 🙂 This is an ever-changing world and business and one must learn to adapt. If I have a story to tell, it will be told. If it is in a genre that doesn’t do as well, then so be it. I adore writing and could not imagine not doing it.

    • pjjoneswrites May 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

      Yes, we must adapt, and you have done well by trying new genres.

  10. Giselle London May 9, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

    OMG, I’ve stopped giving advice to most people, even if they’ve asked for it. Hey, if they want to use a cover that has NOTHING to do with their story and looks like a 5th grader did it, and then whine that they’ve only sold one book (probably to themselves), then they’re on their own! It’s not that *my* advice is so awesome…but when ten people tell them to “work on the cover” and they ignore it, well…*roll eyes*

    That said, I feel immense pity for people who were doing pretty well, then lost a huge percentage of their income due to a change in Amazon algorithms, a natural downtrend, etc. They should be allowed to whine and cry for a couple of hours…but then they need to jump back on the horse and figure a way around the problem.

    • pjjoneswrites May 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

      Amen to that. I have a friend who is an awesome writer whose book was categorized by the Amazon bots in erotica and not showing up in his chosen categories. I know it has cost him hundreds/thousands of sales. He’s an awesome writer. His books have no sex in them. He’s having a hard time getting Amazon to change the categories. Totally unfair and worthy of whining. He did everything right, nice cover, professional editing, marketing, etc… but then there are those who post their homemade covers on FB and ask for opinions. Then, they get defensive when we recommend changes. In reality, they were just looking for praise for their crappy covers. LOL!

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