What motivates you?
Just recently, especially on good ol’ Facebook, there has been an influx of authors announcing that they’re going to quit the industry, or asking if they should. I’ll admit that I’ve been close to being one of them. Sales aren’t great right now. My last royalty statement for Taking Care of Leah was a big fat ZERO. It’s depressing knowing that you poured yourself into a novel, spent up to a year – or more in some cases – perfecting the story, worked with countless editors, Beta-readers, cover artists, publishers, marketing companies etc., to be left with nothing. Not even enough to buy a coffee. But, while there are plenty of authors who think this a good enough reason to shut down websites and pull books from the shelves, I’ve decided to use it as motivation.
But what about all those debut authors making £5k a month and selling 100s of books in the first year? We must be doing something wrong!
Honestly? If it’s true, then yay them. I’m happy for authors who manage to make a living out of writing, I really am. I’m not going to lie, I’m insanely jealous, but I refuse to let someone else’s success drag me down. Also, how many of those are actually telling the truth? The internet is a strange place, full of trolls and attention-seekers who will lie their asses off and fake screenshots, to get a bit or praise, or a rise out of someone. If someone tries to tell you you’re doing it wrong, or pushes their success in your face just to make you feel bad, congratulate them, then walk away. You don’t need that kind of negativity.
Did you make £5k this month? Did you sell more than 100 books last week? Great! You’ve found a niche, you’ve found your readers. Be proud. But don’t tell someone that they’re obviously shit, or doing something wrong. Offer to help them. Buy the book of an author you know that’s struggling. Review that book. Blog about it. Help them. Don’t kick them when they’re down! We need to support each other.
Maybe it’s the genre I’m working in…
Yeah, that’s where I’m at. In a weird twist, unlike a lot of authors, I use my legal name for writing contemporary and erotic romance, but am trying out a pen name for other non-controversial genres. I’ve found that a lot of authors who are suffering with bad sales work in the romance industry, namely erotica. I’m sorry to say that connecting with readers is an area that I seriously struggle in. I am not a romantic person. I enjoyed writing in the genre for a while, but it’s becoming stagnant. That’s not to say that ALL romance books are the same, but for me, I feel like I’m just writing myself in a circle, and I struggle to write away from the sub-genre of contemporary erotic romance.
I need something fresh to get my mind flowing again, which is why I created C.V. Leigh and am now working on a range of paranormal and fantasy novels, ranging from contemporary paranormal thrillers to epic high fantasy adventures. I’ve always had a fascination for the paranormal world. My shelves are adorned with pagan paraphernalia and dragon & fairy ornaments. I grew up reading Tarot cards and collecting crystals. My favourite books / films / TV series are all in the fantasy genre. I am a geek at heart.
It’s also the genre that I wanted to write in to begin with, but sort of fell into murder mystery, and then ultimately romance.
So what do I do?
Write. Forget the genre. Forget the readers. Write. Write for yourself. Write the story that you want to read. I’ve been working on a epic fantasy series of five years, and it’s only on chapter four. I’m editing a paranormal thriller series that I wrote years ago, but never finished because I was too busy caught up in romance.
It sucks that I can’t pay my bills with my royalties. It sucks when I hear people telling me to ‘get a real job’ and ‘stop writing those shit books’ (yes, I actually had someone Tweet that after I laughed haughtily about a pirate site being shut down). But, do you know what would suck even more? Giving up and never writing again.