Tuesday, July 31, 2018

So You're not going to be a #Bestseller

WARNING! Deep Thoughts Ahead
for the Insecure Writing Support Group.
No more stress, I'm done!

As some of you may know, I've been stuck in a funk for a couple of months because of several negative circumstances in a row. Plus I'm about to move, my kids are changing schools, and you don't even want to know about the Wild One. I'm completely stressed! Though some good has been sprinkled among the bad, with all that's going on I've been questioning my future as a writer. I never expected to be a best seller, but now I'm wondering what I did expect...

When I started writing, I just wanted to be published. Then I found a publisher - Woo Hoo! And I kept going. Next, I wanted to be profitable and hoped to contribute to the family income. A bestseller was never my goal, just a seller

Now, here I am with book #6 about to be published, and I'm deeper in debt. With the smaller events not producing, it seems like I'd have to spend more money to take a chance on bigger ones, and go farther away, so also pay for hotels. I'm not afraid of work, but I don't like wasting my time (and $$!) if it's not going to pan out. So, I'm at a crossroads. Should I keep investing or should I stop?

My writing isn't just a hobby, but according to the IRS, after no profit for so long it is. That means no more writing it off.

Needless to say, I'm not going to stop writing. I'm just struggling with how to make money from it. My financial obligations are such a nuisance! But supporting my family has to come first. And that leaves less time to devote to my passion. Maybe this is just a severe plot twist...

So, I'm curious - What do you expect from your writing? Is it a career goal? Are you profitable? Do you invest much money in it? Do you have an agent? Does it help? And do you have tips for making a living from writing? (I smell a survey!)

Yup. Here it is. Your Writing Career Goals - A Survey!
I love collecting and analyzing data.

And here's my SHOUT OUT OF THE WEEK:

Alex J. Cavanaugh!

Alex is a remarkable person - he's a brilliant sci-fi writer, a talented rock guitarist, and a true friend. I feel very fortunate to know him and work with him sometimes, if only through the wide wonderful web. And he's an elusive ninja--no pictures while he stealthily visits thousands of blogs! Besides authoring the popular sci-fi epic Cassa Series, he also founded the Insecure Writers Support Group which has grown into its own website, published anthologies, and continues to grow with Instagram challenges and more! A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. He's also a great reviewer!

Lastly, the RESULTS from the Down and Desperate Survey:

Do you like to read stories full of heavy, dark drama?

Do you write tales of woe - where the main character never seems to get a break?
Why do you think people like to read such dark and desperate stories?

Why do you read dark and desperate novels?
  • I only enjoy them if the good guys eventually triumph. I know which authors to trust.
  • It churns up a lot of emotions, but only if the characters are realistic.
  • I like to have my heartstrings pulled.
  • I'll read just about anything!
  • They're cathartic and fascinating.
  • Because real life is often more like a Grimms' fairytale than a Disney fairytale.
  • Not a lot, but I do like dark urban fantasy with a strong female lead.
  • I don't really read that many. I'm cued into family sagas-with some heartache, mysteries, and the occasional bleak story if the writing captures insights that make the protagonist grow... Even bleakness can be worthwhile if it rings true. I dislike dystopia for the sake of dystopia, because it seems to sell.

A ton of info today. Thanks for stopping by.
Hope your August is full of inspired beginnings!


L. Diane Wolfe said...

Good person to feature.

I answered the questions although it's more as a publisher than a writer. I can certainly relate to not wanting to plunge too much money into events and promotions. You have to find what works and invest there. With the sci-fi/comic cons were are now trying, I'm only doing ones that are close enough to drive to and back that day. We did have good success with Supercon, so we might start branching out a little farther. We are also going to diversify and sell more than just books, too.

Patricia Lynne said...

It's so tricky to figure out what works to sell books. Then it all changes and you have to try new things. I just tried a site for my new release. I got one preorder. Definitely a bust, but I had to give it a shot because I had used their free service for my freebie and the results were good.

Liz A. said...

The question about looking for an agent--you didn't have a choice for me. (I'm not looking for an agent yet as I haven't finished a novel yet. Someday...)

I'm sorry you've had a rough time of it lately. Sometimes life just sucks. The question is, do you enjoy writing? Is it worth it to you to keep writing?

I know people pooh-pooh the idea of the Law of Attraction, so take this with a grain of salt. You said, "I'm just struggling with how to make money from it." As long as that's the thought, you'll continue to *struggle* to *make money from it*. So, I'd say stop focusing on how much money you're not making (and be grateful for any money you do make, no matter how little), and start focusing on something you can control.

Just a thought. Good luck.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks for making me your shout-out of the week!
My books have sold well enough to pay the mortgage on many occasions, but not consistent enough to live on. I never wanted to be a full time author anyway. Still writing so I'll just see where it leads.

Heather R. Holden said...

So sorry to hear you've been struggling so much lately with your writing career. :( I've experienced similar anxieties as an artist, so I can relate to not wanting to invest time and money on opportunities that may end up not helping, anyway. It really sucks when something you're so passionate about can't even help pay the bills. Hope this setback for you is only temporary and that things turn around soon!

And love seeing the results for the previous survey. Honestly surprised so many voted "yes" for that second question--helps me feel less alone when it comes to torturing characters mercilessly, LOL!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Hang in there, Tara! The dust will settle and, when it does, you'll have a clearer view of how to move forward with your writing.

Yeh for Alex!

Carrie-Anne said...

I hope things start going better for you sooner rather than later. Perhaps you could focus on local bookstores, writing-related events, libraries, etc., until it's more feasible to justify travelling for events?

I failed so badly at marketing myself, I didn't bother writing anything off on my taxes when I released books prior. It was too embarrassing.

M said...

I sympathize. I don't want to make tons of money, but I'd like to make enough that I feel like I'm contributing to our household. And I'm in the same boat in that I can no longer write off my losses. I only attend one conference a year usually, but they can be expensive! Plus they mean my husband using some of his vacation time to stay home with the kids while I try to make something of myself. He never complains, but I still feel like a failure.

The Silver Fox said...

I think a lot of us would write no matter what the results, in terms of success, fame, etc.

I might like to write for movies or TV. I hear they make obscene amounts of money. Well, sometimes.

Julie Flanders said...

I'm sorry you're going through a stressful time. I can understand how you feel about the money, I've cut back on doing book events because I just don't make enough to justify all the costs. I know you've worked so hard at those and have traveled so much - I'm sorry it hasn't ended up being profitable for you. So frustrating.

Hang in there, my friend!

dolorah said...

When I first started writing, I was going to be the next best selling author! I thought I had a unique idea, and I was awesome at story telling. LOL. Apparently I wasn't as well read as I thought. When I started writing and submitting short stories, and only getting accepted in non-paying ezines and anthologies, I realized I do not have the dedication to chase after the big money. As you say, supporting my family with a real job has always come first.

So I'm a hobby writer. I appreciate every publication, but have a hard time devoting the time to completing the stories.

Good luck figuring out your own dilemma. You obviously have the abilities to become best selling, you just need that usual kick in the writers seat to pick it back up. A break usually helps refocus, and with all you have going on, its a good time to kick back and clear your mind.

cleemckenzie said...

I think you're at a crowded crossroad, Tara. This business demands so much of the writer--huge chunks of time, money and boundless energy. We can't have those all together all the time. I wish you the best with your move and your decision. Neither are easy.

Loni Townsend said...

Sorry to hear about the money suck, Tara. I wish I had some tips or advice to give to help pull you through.

Erika Beebe said...

Hi Tara, I'm so sorry to hear about the hobby verdict. That really stinks. All we can do is our best and to remember writing is in our hearts and souls and eventually I believe the best will happen for you, for all of us. Happy IWSG Day :)

Juneta Key said...

I wish I had some advice, but I don't. I want the dream but I probably write whether I get there are or not, but I have real life situational motivation to try to get there. So I persist.

DMS said...

I can relate to your post. I love writing and I have published traditionally and self published. I have actually made more money from self publishing so far. For both I had to (and continue to have to) put a lot of money into it.

Can't wait to see the results from your survey.

Wishing you the best and many, many sales. :)