As the last snow melted I sat in my garden this morning with a cup of coffee feeling the sting of the sun on my face. The furniture is re-assembled and dry. Beneath the snow a hyacinth proclaimed its defiance. New buds were green on the fig tree We are such little things – with all our vanities and petty brief lives. Whatever becomes of us, Nature will win and all our defeats and victories will be nothing. It is a comfort is it not?
|Madame! Of course it never freezes here|
I’ve been having a KDP free day. I shifted about 1700 copies of the “serious” short story “Sub Prime” and 800 of the Romance “Knockout”. All in all now I have shifted some 10,000 copies of this book – the majority for free. I am not a marketeer or any kind of business person. To be frank, I am happy even if the book gives pleasure to just a few readers. I have never wanted to charge any money for “Sub Prime” because it is an unashamedly socialist story about exploited powerless people. The fact is I guess that in my old bed-sit “sincere” writer days, if I had sold 10,000 books I would have been able to work for a year – yes if I had sold them! The fact is that a Mills and Boon “title” used to sell about 7,000 copies before it is pulled off the shelves and pulped. I guess those days are gone. My own mistake is to have pushed out a single book without a series or stable of similar books already off the production line. If you just have the one book, so much effort and promo to get it noticed will create nothing but a brand vacuum. My advisors and I do clash a little over this. My view is that free days are great if it leads on to sales…..if.
Amongst the many regrets of my life is that I have always scrapped all the manuscripts that came back as rejected. I have always figured that the next one would be worthwhile and someone would like it. The danger was I may have been tempted to waste more time on the rejects rather than trying to improve. You think that posh educated experts must be right about you. You learn these lessons too late. I hope these rather dour words may get to you if you are a younger struggler out there. Do not throw it away just because a few publishers and agents sneer at it with remarks about inconsistent genre targeting etc. Soon enough you will have run out of time, your energy will be failing and younger better writers will be nearer those golden control buttons. My heart felt advice to all writer/marketeers out there is – get a bus or truck licence.
I hope I don’t sound too miserable – I am not. I would like other writers to tell me their take. I really would like some feedback on where you guys as writers think we are going and what are realistic ambitions?
Emma thinx: If the snowball gets too big you can’t see the glacier.
I used to have regrets until I discovered a Country/Western song about “unanswered prayers.” Whatever I missed or lost or failed, was replaced by something far greater. Keep it in mind…
The toughest thing for me in this writing venture isn't how to write, it's how to market what I write. No news there. What is new, for me, is that I'm going to figure this out. To that end, I have found a couple of great mentors and I recommend them both to you – Jeff Bennington – The Writers Bomb and Melissa Foster The World Literary Cafe –
Have fun – thanks for the sunny moment.
I have noticed that with age comes a greater sensibility about regret, but your poignantly summarized wisdom: “We are such little things – with all our vanities and petty brief lives. Whatever becomes of us, Nature will win and all our defeats and victories will be nothing. It is a comfort is it not?” gives us the perfect recourse. All that ever matters is that we are true to ourselves. For me presently, it would be an untruth not to give myself to this project absolutely just because if I live that way I am most in touch with Life. The rest is moot. Just go on my dear friend and see what waits ahead as opposed to what got left behind. The magic of life is always in front of us. Thanks for your honest, touching reflections.
Emma, since I'm still working on my first manuscript (which I couldn't even publish anyway — except to the Internet), I really have no idea how realistic my ambitions are at the moment. I understand what you mean about “running out of time.” I wish I had started on this journey about 10 or 20 years ago.
Emma, I feel your pain. The only thing I can add to the wisdom Christina imparts will reflect your statement, “To be frank, I am happy even if the book gives pleasure to just a few readers.” If you truly believe and live this statement, then you are already a success. Maybe not monetarily, YET, but I also truly believe that will come from those who have read, and will read the books they received for free. I have my own version of the “bus or truck license” and can't imagine simply promoting myself to all my social media “friends” without being fake and Barnum and Bailey-like. I subscribe to the 'put yourself out there as a Tiger, and other Tigers will find you.' We solitary Tigers must keep writing – that is the meat that gives us energy.