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Archived Author Help > Lack of response--depression

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message 1: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Hill (kevinrhill) | 102 comments I spent 3 years writing a book. I expected more than crickets when I published it. Really, it is enough to make one stop writing.


message 2: by L.S. (new)

L.S. May | 55 comments I spent 7 years on my debut, and more or less nothing. Marketing seems to be the key to actually getting noticed, but it seems to be so hit and miss. What works well for one person doesn't for another.

I would say keep trying, but I think it has to be up to you. I know I'm not about to stop writing, so I may as well keep publishing. If you really don't want to do it, you don't have to. But you could always run an ad, or play with keywords and categories, or find more reviewers. The thing with self-publishing is you haven't failed if you're still trying.


message 3: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Angell (heidiangell) | 241 comments Very well put L.S. I am releasing my 4th novel this month and with each new novel, previous books get more sales and reviews. Mind you, only two are in the same series, the other two are new series in different genres.

Kevin, I totally understand your pain and the sting of rejection doesn't get easier as you publish more. However, the sweet little victories feel greater as you continue to roll that boulder up the hill.

Best of luck!


message 4: by Martin (new)

Martin Wilsey | 447 comments Here is my advice. Your mileage may vary:

1) Make sure there is a good hook in your first ten pages.

2) Your cover is great. No worries there.

3) At 184 printed pages your prices may be too high.

4) Your should go to Amazon, Author Central and complete your author bio page. Add photos, be interesting in your bio. And hook your blog to it. You need a brand!

5) Put your books on your blog sidebar! Links to Amazon! Be an Amazon Associate to get a bitmore.

6) Have a web presence on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and LinkedIn and post daily about your life as a writer! It makes you write daily!

7) Read good books. Lots of them. And blog about them.

8) Go and do book signings. Be creative. Do it in a gun store, a cigar shop, a favorite used book store.

9) Join a writers group. Share and learn.

10) Most important, write the next novel. The average breakthrough usually happens to authors at about the book that hits the million word mark.

Keep writing!

My $.02


message 5: by Wally (new)

Wally Runnels (wrunnelspacbellnet) | 90 comments That was a good two cents.


message 6: by Martin (new)

Martin Wilsey | 447 comments And by the way, I just bought a copy of your book. One made out of actual dead trees!

Cultivate your tribes!


message 7: by G.T. (new)

G.T. Trickle (goodreadscomgttrickle) | 31 comments Martin wrote: "Here is my advice. Your mileage may vary:

1) Make sure there is a good hook in your first ten pages.

2) Your cover is great. No worries there.

3) At 184 printed pages your prices may be too high..."


Good road map to follow. I'm new to this group and spent the last couple of days drilling through posted threads in various folders. Afterwards I was depressed! I was once again overwhelmed by what it takes to reach a perceived label of successful Indie Author. But -- I reminded myself that I only answer to one person's definition of success -- mine!

Success mean different things to different people. What's your definition of success? X number of sales? X number of 4-5 star reviews? Recognition by peers? Accomplishing the monumental tasks of writing a book and publishing it? Or, a reader looking you straight in the eye and saying, "I really enjoyed your book."?

Today, I'm feeling better about being an Indie Author. I've accomplished the goals I set for myself before my days on the good Earth come to an end. To all -- define what success means to you. Ignore why-didn't-yous or you-should-haves.


message 8: by Joe (new)

Joe Jackson (shoelessauthor) Martin hit the nail squarely on the head. We've all been there. This group is great for support and advice on the road to your personal success. Welcome and good luck.


message 9: by Elle (new)

Elle Rochelle | 7 comments Awesome responses! Hang in there. I have to remind myself that some of the biggest sellers were relatively unknown for years. My latest book has only sold one copy. With my first book, I get about one sale a month. It is small, but steady and I take solace in that. There is a reader out there searching for your voice and one day, he or she will stumble upon you, curl up in a corner and read the day away. Keep writing. Don't give up.


message 10: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Hill (kevinrhill) | 102 comments I always struggle when I finish a book. I go from 8 hours a day of writing to ... boom, nothing. It's time to do another automotive book. Thanks for all the responses.

I have to remember what John Locke said in his how-to book. He mentioned that he sent Saving Rachel to a pro writer, and paid the guy to look it over and offer a critique. The writer told him it was the worst book he ever read! and, it is still selling big.

Martin, yes, you are correct. I know each of your suggestions to be correct. Thanks.


message 11: by Ottilie (new)

Ottilie (ottilie_weber) | 11 comments I get sporadic responses as well and it is discouraging, but if it is truly something you want to do that shouldn't stop you. Unfortunately marketing is a pain in the butt, and you can do so much, but you have to find that one nitch and things pick up. I am still playing the fun marketing game, but the occasional good review makes up for the long period of nothingness. :)


message 12: by Missy (new)

Missy Sheldrake (missysheldrake) | 252 comments My launch of my first book was crickets, too. I launched my second book about 8 months later and ran some free promos and paid $20-$40 for marketing and had a very strong couple of months. (Strong for me. Do not compare yourself to other authors or you'll constantly be disappointed.) I thought I was on my way. Everything was trending up. My KENP was steadily climbing. Then, one day, it dropped into a cliff and I saw zeros for weeks. Not the good kind of zeros, either.

I'm running another promo now, and things are going well again.

I have two points. The first is all of that hard work you put in writing, editing, and publishing isn't the end of it. Clicking publish is the beginning. Now you go from author to author-marketer. Between you and me, it's my least favorite part about being an author.

My second point is this: Do it because you love it. Write because you enjoy writing, and just keep going. Keep publishing books until people can't help but notice you. Keep telling stories that are important to you. Do it for yourself, not for numbers or outside praise. Then, when you do start getting recognition, it will be that much sweeter.

Finally, remember you have a good support system in SIA when you start to feel discouraged, because it really is a roller coaster ride.


message 13: by Lynnette (new)

Lynnette (lunaraya) | 3 comments I really like what Martin had to say. Very succinct, and good advice for everyone to abide by really.

I think too often we put pressure on ourselves. And therefore we expect that what we've written will be huge successes because of that pressure.

I enjoy writing. I have a day job which I also love. When I decided to write and publish, I went into the whole venture without any expectations. I didn't believe I would become a best seller or a millionaire. My whole goal was to get one sale. That was really what I wanted. If one person bought my book, I was successful. I have had marginal sales of the two I have out. I have a few reviews. While I would love to have more people buying (and reviewing), I am still writing and have no plans to stop. This is fun for me (right now at least), and I think as long as there's no pressure, and I still enjoy doing it, I am successful.


message 14: by Grace (last edited Feb 24, 2016 03:49PM) (new)

Grace Risata | 25 comments I agree with all the answers on here. You have to ask yourself WHY you wanted to write the book in the first place. What is your goal? I think you can't put a number goal on anything having to do with writing because every single day is different. Maybe one day you'll have a giant amount of page reads on kindle unlimited and you'll sell two or three books to real live people and you're king of the world. Then you'll have nothing for a week and beat yourself up trying to understand why. The market is very fickle. Writing is the fun part and promotion/marketing is the horrible part. I agree with GT that you have to define what success means to you. To me, success is one good review from a stranger. Someone who doesn't know me took the time to pay for something that I wrote, they got involved the characters and their backstories, and they actually enjoyed it! Maybe someone was having a bad day and I made them forget their real life for a second. If I make one person laugh, then I'm a success. It's not a numbers game.


message 15: by G.A. (new)

G.A. Stratton | 3 comments Beautifully written Grace. I totally agree. The occasional laughter and praise of my readers drowns out the weeks of crickets.


message 16: by Ceanmohrlass (new)

Ceanmohrlass Ceanmohrlass | 69 comments Don't give up! I published my first book back in April last year, crickets on Amazon but did get sales on Smashwords (ebooks). Then a few sales on Amazon, one here, one there, got up into about 30,000 rank on one, the rest never made it past 150,000 ish frame and have since fallen down to 1,200,000 and 2,200,000 etc. Still get a sale here and there from Smashwords and a few from Barnes & Noble etc. All in all I made enough for a very nice dinner for the extended family so far total! But I am okay with that, I write because I love it, and in time I will get found. Keep writing and keep learning and improving :) Hang in there!


message 17: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Hill (kevinrhill) | 102 comments This feeling of belonging, of community, is why I posted here. It is so good to hear all of you. Thank you. k


message 18: by Lyra (new)

Lyra Shanti (lyrashanti) | 126 comments It's hard for all of us indie authors, especially those of us just starting out. But you never know what will happen. Keep hope alive and keep writing.


message 19: by Sue (new)

Sue Rovens | 8 comments Yep. I, too, am finding out about marketing whenever you get a chance. We had a guy come over to put windows in our house. Well, I started talking to him about books, and, would you believe, he ended up buying a copy before he left the house! I wasn't really pushing all that hard. Sales sometimes come from weird places.

The main thing is, keep a few copies with you at all times. You never know who is going to be interested.


message 20: by Dylan (new)

Dylan Callens | 193 comments I think it's easy to get frustrated with marketing. For me, it's a matter of finding some enjoyment out of the process and not getting my hopes too high about any one thing. For example, I just did a press release to over 600 college newspapers. I expect at most, 6 will pick up the story (I have commitments from 3 so far). It took me a solid 20 hours to send them out. I am expecting no sales as a result of it. lol

The good news is that I have 600 email address to college newspapers. Those might come in handy again.


message 21: by Samantha (new)

Samantha | 57 comments I posted some of my work so based on the response I could decide to publish for real.....only 6 likes total!!!! so disappointing!!!


message 22: by K. (new)

K. Kidd | 49 comments Unfortunately, marketing frustration is par for the course. Glad we have this group to share ideas and pick up our spirits when sales are slow. Actually Kevin, I credit you for sending me to E-Reader News Today. The weekend my book was featured with them it had the best sales ever! Sales have now slowed down but that was fun while it lasted. Keep writing, hang in there and good luck marketing everyone.

Great tips Martin!


message 23: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments Samantha wrote: "I posted some of my work so based on the response I could decide to publish for real.....only 6 likes total!!!! so disappointing!!!"


If you're talking about Wattpad, you have to do lots of marketing for that. I have many who read some of my work there but I have no likes. It didn't stop me from publishing.


message 24: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4310 comments Mod
Comment deleted. Remember, bookwhacking is against our rules.


message 25: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Hill (kevinrhill) | 102 comments K. wrote: "Unfortunately, marketing frustration is par for the course. Glad we have this group to share ideas and pick up our spirits when sales are slow. Actually Kevin, I credit you for sending me to E-Read..."

I just wanted to say thanks to K. I'm your fan. Write down my name so you don't forget it when you get that huge months of sales!


message 26: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno Kevin wrote: "I always struggle when I finish a book. I go from 8 hours a day of writing to ... boom, nothing. It's time to do another automotive book. Thanks for all the responses.

I have to remember what John..."


No sales or interest is indeed frustrating. There are many of us here in the same boat, struggling to sell and get attention. Likewise there are thousands of painters, musicians, DJs, sportsmen and many more striving to stand out. Need to know how to cope with it. Coping and putting some effort into promoting and enjoying writing along the way, is not the worst combination, which might work and might not. There is no magic formula for success.
I read few pages of John Locke's alleged unveiling of how he sold over 1M, where every page he says something like "in just few pages I'll tell exactly how it was done.." and then again and again. It's a good teaser, turning annoying with my absence of patience after just the second time it was mentioned. My impression was that contrary to what he says, he was not gonna share with us all the parts of the puzzle -:)


message 27: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Hill (kevinrhill) | 102 comments Nik, when I reached the part where he says that he didn't begin to promote until he had 5 books out, that was the last straw. The title was a come on. Good, he sold 1 million copies. Was there anything of value, wisdom, beauty, grace offered in his books? I doubt it. I failed to finish his book because I was misled. The kevin hammer had fallen.


message 28: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno When I read the most popular comments about this particular book, although I don't necessarily rely on reviews, in this case after reading just few pages myself, I had a strong feeling no real secrets were gonna be revealed. These are voted as the most helpful reviews, simply copypasted onto here:
http://www.amazon.com/review/R1OO6OYA...
http://www.amazon.com/review/R3SYH8HY...
http://www.amazon.com/review/RE1WGXXV...
http://www.amazon.com/review/RE1WGXXV...
http://www.amazon.com/review/R275H03X...

Could be that some are a little envious, but still...


message 29: by Chikamso (last edited Feb 25, 2016 02:25AM) (new)

Chikamso Efobi (cheexy) | 92 comments Sue wrote: "Yep. I, too, am finding out about marketing whenever you get a chance. We had a guy come over to put windows in our house. Well, I started talking to him about books, and, would you believe, he end..."

This is so me right now. Two days ago, I sold two signed copies of my book to my accountant who I called regarding a completely unrelated matter. I feel that it is a good thing to print copies of your book and sell directly to people you have access to. If nothing, the profit you get from each sale is usually much higher than what you receive in royalties.


message 30: by Micah (last edited Feb 25, 2016 06:29AM) (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1042 comments Kevin wrote: "...I expected more than crickets..."

You’ve already gotten a lot of practical advice on what to do. Here’s what I think of as perspective...

There are somewhere between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books published every year in the US alone. And the average author makes less than minimum wage. Only a handful of authors make a decent wage, so the important things are to set appropriate expectations and sojourn on. If you don’t have a publisher going full bore on marketing your book (ha-ha, do they even do that for new authors anymore?) and you’re not made of money to throw at your own super worldwide marketing campaign, then you have to slog it out like the rest of us.

Despite the glamorous stories of overnight successes in the publishing world (self-publishing included), if you really look at the backgrounds of authors who have enjoyed "overnight success" you're likely to find that their success was predicated on 10 - 20 years of hard work.

So a realistic expectation to one’s first published book is actually ... crickets. Followed up by a lot of hard work and perseverance. And good luck to us all!

[Frank Herbert, author of Dune is my favorite example of the long slog. His first published work was in 1945, but he didn’t start writing SF until 1952. He was a very minor writer up until Dune was published. And that was 11 years after his first published work. I’ve heard that Dune was rejected by a dozen publishers before it was picked up by a publisher mainly known for their auto-repair manuals! So, yeah, overnight success is highly misunderstood.]


message 31: by Colin (new)

Colin Lever | 51 comments As others have said. Just write & put yourself out there. I write non-fiction, fiction; for my local paper; twitterfiction, Wattpad, even on the back of my hand! I'm never bored. Enjoy the joiurney


message 32: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 266 comments just keep writing books. the more books you release the more you get noticed


message 33: by Tia (last edited Feb 25, 2016 02:39PM) (new)

Tia | 12 comments I struggle with this also. It’s so hard as an unknown author to make yourself known. I just released my second book. I am not sure of full sales figures because if sales went through the publisher I won’t know about them yet but on Amazon, it’s all crickets.

I am trying not to be disappointed, it’s not like I haven’t been through this before with my first book. It’s frustrating because you think if just 5 friends downloaded the ebook (because more than a few dollars for a book is ‘expensive’) and started telling people about your book that somehow it would get out there.

An article just ran in a nationally distributed paper about my book. Not sure if that will assist yet. Am waiting for the article to go online on their website as so far it’s just been in print in the paper.

I organised a radio interview which is in a few weeks and I’m also doing 3 signing events this month. I am hoping at some point that some of this helps with sales. I feel like I’m running around trying to help my book be noticed (around a full time job) and getting nowhere.

I am hoping after my official launch and signings that things will pick up. If not, I guess I won’t be surprised but I’ll still be somewhat disappointed.

I'm not sure if I want to write another book, even though I have the ideas already for future books. I put so much effort and my own money into it and for what? I hope it all leads to something one day!


message 34: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Hill (kevinrhill) | 102 comments Tia: I feel everything you feel.

Regarding the John Locke story from previous posts: Today I read that he paid for reviews. That brings up a very interesting topic. He paid for 1,000 positive reviews, and he's sold over a million books. Will he be punished? Will A. dump him and give up huge revenue?

I consulted with a promo guru today about her service of mentoring me and my work. $5,000 for a 5 week session. Ouch.


message 35: by S.L. (new)

S.L. Bynum (slbynum) | 26 comments I feel exactly like a lot of people here too.

I just released the sequel to my first book, and I also have another standalone book, so I have three published, and I get maybe a couple of sales a month. I tried spending money on Facebook and Google Ads, and I made back about $5 out of the $80 I spent, which is frustrating. I was hoping I would at least make the money back after the release of my sequel, since the first book in the series was only $0.99 for one week.

I'm going to keep trying other promotions, maybe more of the free ones for now. And keep writing books. People keep saying that works, so here's hoping!


message 36: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Hill (kevinrhill) | 102 comments I think Amazon should have a one click review system as they have for their purchases. It would be right beside the 'purchase now' icon, and simply state 'review ...', and allow the reader to select the number of stars to bestow.


message 37: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Kevin wrote: "I think Amazon should have a one click review system as they have for their purchases. It would be right beside the 'purchase now' icon, and simply state 'review ...', and allow the reader to selec..."

Amazon doesn't do that because it encourages "drive-by" and "click w/o thinking" ratings, which devalue the system. As far as I have seen, GR ratings and reviews are not taken seriously outside of GR, and the fact that GR allows a simple rating without a review is almost certainly the reason for that.


message 38: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Micah wrote: "Kevin wrote: "...I expected more than crickets..."

You’ve already gotten a lot of practical advice on what to do. Here’s what I think of as perspective...

There are somewhere between 600,000 and ..."


Very well said!


message 39: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1103 comments $5K for a promo guru! Ouch is right! For much less, a 100-book give away. Self-pub circumvents the trad pub, but it isn't a short cut. Take a break, do something else, and come back refreshed!
- my 2 cents :-)


message 40: by Ken (last edited Feb 26, 2016 10:11AM) (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Taking a practical look at it, if you're an unknown author, it's doubtful she could do anything for you that you couldn't do on your own, and even if she sparks a few sales, it's even more doubtful that you'll earn even a fraction of that money back. Her books are not exactly hot sellers on amazon, and the 5-star reviews all look suspect. Just be aware that people will line up to make big promises for money, in big amounts or small, and authors hoping for a magic elixir to help them make it big will too quickly part with it. I'm not saying that's your situation, just saying be aware of pitfalls. And this looks like a big one to me.


message 41: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno If you pay 5k pretty much upfront, then it's a bit suspicious, but if 'guaranteed' means your payment is conditional on results, then all is good.
Locke also promised a lot..
Tempting as it may sound, you can probably first contact her successful trainees to find out more.. On ten documented successes, there maybe thousands of failures.
If you go for it and we see your books hitting the NYT lists then we'll know it works -:)
Anyway - best of luck!


message 42: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1103 comments Shark infested waters! Mako sighting! Caveat emptor! Hopefully you are not out there 'tweeting' about 'no sales', being 'down', etc. - sharks smell blood a mile a way - probably circling around threads just like this.
- my. . . 4 cents now!


message 43: by C.B., Beach Body Moderator (new)

C.B. Archer | 1090 comments Mod
I think it is time to try something new! I am doing this and it is helping me greatly.

Write a little thing. Not a three year epic, just 10,000 words or less. Release that bad boy and give it away. It will get you some new notices!


message 44: by Cee (new)

Cee Jackson (ceeteejackson) | 12 comments I have one wee book out at the moment. It's done better than I expected in UK. But given that I expected perhaps only 50 sales, tops, and most of them to friends and clients of my dog-walking business I'm well happy. Though still skint; still no invites onto The Jonathan Ross / the Late Late Show.

Point is - I liken the author to a new musician / band. I used to run a review blog and wrote for a UK national magazine. I had (no exaggeration) thousands of CDs / MP3s sent to me. All those people out there seeking to be the new (insert name of your favourite band) ... and how many actually 'make it?'

Look at your tennis players: outside the top 50, say, nobody makes huge bucks. Outside the top 100 (IN THE WORLD, remember) most players on the tour make enough to pay their flights, hotels and support team, then maybe have enough left over for tin of practice balls.

We all live in hope of making money from writing. It would be the perfect life. And it's HOPE that keeps us going. That and ENJOYMENT. So what if it's only our parents or partners that like our work. If we ourselves like it and have fun writing it, then that's what counts.

Keep writing and keep the faith. :)


message 45: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno Kevin, I'm not sure reviews have that much of an impact on book's success/sales. I doubt also that Locke's achievement should be attributed to allegedly bought reviews...
If you're still feeling like buying a couple of reviews, I don't mind -:)


message 46: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Hi Kevin. I deleted your post with the link to the "guru." We do not allow services like that to post here and we prefer not to have them linked from our group.

I do understand your frustration, but there is a lot of good advice, both on this thread and in our marketing and promo folder and I would suggest you check out what has worked for your fellow authors before considering parting with that kind of money.


message 47: by Kevin (last edited Feb 26, 2016 03:32PM) (new)

Kevin Hill (kevinrhill) | 102 comments C.B. wrote: "I think it is time to try something new! I am doing this and it is helping me greatly.

Write a little thing. Not a three year epic, just 10,000 words or less. Release that bad boy and give it away..."


Good idea, C.B. Thanks for mentioning that.

Christina: You are right. I was only offering that up for those who may need/want the help. I should not have mentioned a business.

Nik, thanks for the reply. Btw, John Locke has gone on the record as saying (NY Times) that he did it. Nothing 'alleged' about it. Cheers.


message 48: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Hill (kevinrhill) | 102 comments Thanks to all for the great replies. It is good to get picked up and dusted off.


message 49: by Epredator (new)

Epredator Epredator | 1 comments I am new to all this too, though I ended up writing the first book and the follow up over just five months. It is the same problem however much time a book takes to write. We care and understand our work more than anyone else on the planet. Releasing it and not getting an instant response is a very odd feeling. I have since enjoyed finding weird and wonderful ways to show how the books are part of my life. Using games tech and interesting (hopefully) places to share the books. My current fave is a custom jar of marmite with the label printed to show the title Cont3xt because it's something my main character loves in the story and is almost a character itself. It may just be self amusement but it may mean a couple of downloads. It was going to drive me crazy staring at sales figures so I try to spot interesting twists on it as a product. I don't think of it as marketing but I guess it is, just non traditional :)


message 50: by Mike (last edited Feb 28, 2016 03:33AM) (new)

Mike Driver | 11 comments There is some great advice here and things that I will now consider doing my self but the upshot seems to be that no response is normal, or at least unexceptional. In some ways its irrational to expect anything else, particularly for an unknown writer. The only route out seems to be to set yourself for the long haul and write to the best of your ability on every occasion, follow opportunities and to regard marketing your book to be as significant an endeavor as writing it in the first place.

As other people have said "keep the faith" you're in very good company.


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