D. F. Krieger

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Writer Wednesday: Great Expectations, FAILED

First of all, before I even get started on this post, I need to make a statement to a very special group of people. Dear Authors, this is in no way directed at any of you. These WW posts are a generalized statement/opinion because of trends I see in the publishing world. Please do not take these posts as a blast at you guys. Thanks, Her Editing Evilness.

Okay, now we can get back to our regularly scheduled Writer Wednesday.

I've noticed that authors are doing a lot of griping lately and I'm getting tired of it. Now, remember, some of you know me as an author, but I'm an editor too. It gives me the ability to see things from both sides of the fence. I would say it gives me a deeper understanding, but it also gives me a greater burden. Because, without looking like the bad guy, how do I explain things to make it all run smoother? The best I have is my WW posts. I'd like to go over some points, and I'm going to say it now, if you can't handle sarcasm, D. F. style, then don't read any further. Otherwise I'll just sound mean because you can't take a joke.

1) Submissions: I don't know where authors got it in their head that a submission should be responded to within a matter of days to a week regardless of guidelines saying they will take "x" amount of time. When I have 8 different manuscripts in various stages of editing, and I'm the only acquisition editor for one line, plus the managing editor for three others, I can't just drop everything and read your baby the second it comes through the door. I'd imagine other editors are just as busy, if not more so.

Do NOT send me an e-mail a week after you've submitted saying you've got another offer elsewhere. Give me some damn time to read your book. If it's an 60k manuscript, I can't read it in one sitting. Much as I'd love to with some of my subs, I simply can't. There have been times I've even let my husband drive (god help us all) so I could read a new submission. If you've gotten another offer, then pull the manuscript or wait for the time our guidelines state. When you e-mail like that, it makes me angry because I feel like you are trying to back me into a corner. "Accept me now or I'm leaving."

 On a side note: One of the author groups I belong to does not allow authors to post when they've subbed something. At first I wrinkled my nose and just kinda went "huh..." Now I see the wisdom of their ban. It puts undo pressure on the acquisition staff to accept your work, and accept it in a hurry. Don't we look like the bad guys when you are bouncing around like a school girl going "I sent in my stuffies!" only for us to go, "Your stuffies don't work for us!"

2) Sales: I've had it up to here *points at eyeballs* with hearing authors whine about their sales. It's going on everywhere and I'm about to start punting people with a golf club (hey, I'm 75% Scottish, it's my weapon of choice! LOL.) I'd like to make a few points, if I may.

Luck: Sales are based on luck. Are you lucky enough to have 500 friends and family who support you avidly? Bully for you. I come from a town of 4k people, most of whom don't even know my name because I was a loner growing up. The rest...don't have e-readers. They couldn't buy my book even if they wanted to. It's a risk I took going into e-publishing versus print. Besides...I'm kinda glad my Daddy can't buy a copy of any of my books.

Trends: The best way to make sales is to study what's hot and selling like crazy. For now it seems to be anything vampire and werewolf related. That's great and all, but that's not generally what I write. So when I'm over here writing about Kelpies (20 points if you know what one is without having to Google that shit!) then I can't expect my sales to be off the chart.

Advertisement: Okay, just stop for a moment. Go to your Facebook or Twitter or Twit-Face (whatever you use) and scroll. How many groups do you belong to that are all authors screaming at you to buy their book? How many friends do you have that are authors posting links to their books in their feed? Yeah, sorry baby, but you ain't special. You've got to do something to really garner attention if you want to get some sales. Otherwise you are just peeing into an oncoming wind.

Advertisement Part 2: So, your book released six months ago, and you're crying because you aren't getting sales? Hey, guess what, no one remembers your release. Unless you are still finding ways to advertise your book right now, you aren't going to get much interest. Not without the LUCK of people stumbling onto your book.

Buy Links: The publisher I work for posted some very interesting math equations the other day that made me sit back and go, "Huh." I mean, I suck at math, but this made sense. Let me show you what he said.
Some interesting facts: 1 sale on Amazon for a 2.99 book - Author earns 0.84 per copy; 1 sale on the BP site for a 2.99 book - Author earns 1.20... 1 sale on Amazon for a 1.99 book - Author earns 0.28; 1 sale on the BP site for a 1.99 book - Author earns 0.77. 1 Sale on Amazon for a 0.99 book - Author earns 0.14; 1 sale on the BP site for a 0.99 book - Author earns 0.40.

Compare To:

1 sale on ARe for a 2.99 book - Author earns 0.72. 1 sale on ARe for a 1.99 book - Author earns 0.48. 1 sale on ARe for a 0.99 book - Author earns 0.24.

Did you know... Amazon takes 30% for books priced 2.99 or higher and takes 65% for books under 2.99?

Did you know... ARe takes 40% across the board? (Which is standard for most eBook stores)
So in essence, before you post that buy link on your website or social media feed, think about where you are linking to. Amazon is great and convenient, but if you are griping about sales, maybe you should be posting to your publisher? Just a thought.
3) Best Seller: Look, we all have that Best Seller dream. It's a pivotal star that we find ourselves ever reaching for. Hell, I'd love to just make it into print for once. Let's face it, it's going to take time and effort to make that happen. Very few authors accomplished that with just one release. You are going to have to put quality books out at a fast pace. It's been proved that the quicker you accomplish releases close together, the more your overall sales will rise. So yeah, if you've only written one book, don't be griping that you aren't getting that Best Seller status. No one even knows who you are. Especially with how easy it is to get published in today's society. There are millions of other authors to contend with. You've got to discover how to single yourself out and make yourself stand out above the rest.
4) Interaction: You ever have that one person on your social media that always toots their own horn, but they never have anything to say to you. They will post thing after thing about themselves, but don't even deign to reply if you comment on their status or feed? Don't be that guy. Again, sorry baby, but you ain't special. You want people to buy your stuff, then you need to make them like you. No one is going to buy from someone who goes on and on about themselves. OR, there is the person who constantly bitches...about everything. There is always something wrong, and it's always someone else's fault. It's one thing to say, "Whew, I'm having a rough day. This or that happened and it totally threw off my groove." It's another to be like, "I'm sick and tired of these people doing this and I'm about to blow my top"...all the time.
Want to really piss people off and drive them away? Talk about politics, religion, or how much you hate your publisher. Yep, I guarantee you will offend someone if you constantly gripe or post opinions on those things. Some discussions are better off being left for close friends or family...in privacy.
 I guess the overall theme here is, if you aren't happy with some aspect of your publishing experience or sales, do something about it. Don't sit there and whine, don't blame your publisher. Oh, and try not to give in to the "Grass is Green" syndrome. Demanding your rights back for your book because you think it will do better at another publisher is not always your best option. Try actually implementing some steps from above. And before you point a finger at my sales, and ask me what right I have to give some advice, let me give you a little of my own.
 No, I don't have the greatest sales in the world, but you know what? I write things that aren't trendy and my sales don't really bother me that much. I write to write, to get the stories out there. I'm not in it for the money, or for that best seller star (those would be nice, don't get me wrong.) I'm in it because it's always worth it when I get that one review or comment where someone says, "I enjoyed your book." So take that and stick it in your hat! *Commence highly mature antics of sticking tongue out* ~ D. F. Krieger


Yazmin Subha said...

This is such an interesting post. Thanks for showing what the other side of publishing life can look like.
Your honesty is refreshing!

gayl said...

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for posting this. I've thought about much of what you wrote, particularly about promoting and supporting fellow authors/friends. It's nice to give what you get.

I appreciate your posts every Wednesday. Always food for thought and always something I can take away and apply to my own deal.

Karyn Gerrard said...

Well said! I vowed early on to never say when I've submitted something anywhere on social media. I wait until I'm offered the contract. I also have never stated publicly what my sales have been. That's my business. Will I brag if I get one of those silver star things? Hell ya, lol!

Sales is based on luck and trends is so right. I really don't want to force myself to write to please trends, (so shape-sifting sex snail menages are out! ;) so I've accepted the fact I will never be able to brag "OMG, you guys! I'm #23 on Amazon's top 100!" I'm cool with it.

And those silver stars? It's neat to get, but some of those categories at ARe only need 10 sales to get the star. Meh.

LOL at the interaction. I keep trying to tell myself to interact more, but when you comment on someone's status and they never reply, why go back to the well? Same for groups.

Like you, I am not in this for the money. I live comfortably. Good thing. I'm having fun and as long as it continues to be so, I will continue to write and submit. Cheers!

J Lilley said...

Your posts always give food for thought. I admire every editor do for the brilliant job they do. I couldn't do it.
From an author's side of the fence, I write what I can not what is popular, and I love it!
Yes I think everyone inbox stalks, it's our baby out there, but i'd rather know everyone is getting their turn, in their submission read than not.
Thanks for making me think!

Genevieve Graham said...

As a fellow author and editor ... might I add that far too many authors feel entitled. Yes, I might have edited your book and made it "sparkle", but that doesn't mean it's something agents or publishers want. Don't send me email after email telling me about your rejection letters. We've all had 'em. Deal with it.

L.B.Shire said...

Thanks for the great post. Lots of great points to ponder!

Olivia said...

Go D! As a fellow author and editor, I've often wanted to say all this myself. Nothing peeves me more than seeing authors bash their publishers. Write it up to experience and submit your next book elsewhere! Always remember that any person/company you vilify now may have influence over you later.
I try really hard to read submissions quickly, but I too have a day job. I also manage a team of editors. I'm editing at least 2 manuscripts per week, and trying to write and maintain a social life. Plus I try to always be available to support my colleagues and authors, who can attest to the fact that I don't sleep much!

Mel Jolley said...

Thanks for this post D. I found it quite interesting, especially the numbers! I have to say I tend to tell people about Amazon (esp. my UK friends) because they are more likely to have an amazon account or a kindle, but you've given me real food for thought.
I appreciated the fact with the latest manuscript I sent you, you gave me a timeframe so I haven't been anxiously checking my email every five minutes. X M