So the novel is out and it’s doing exactly what I expected it to do:
It’s selling like crap.
I know it’s only been three days. I know it takes time for momentum to build. I know many of my readers don’t even know the book is out yet. I know that it’s so early that Amazon hasn’t even built an “also bought” list for the book. I know that it just began showing up in Amazon’s search engine in the last 24 hours. I know that eBooks have forever to find an audience and that I’m young enough to benefit from future sales.
I know all these things, but the anxiety still creeps in.
What if my first novel was just a fluke? Maybe the new novel will never sell? Maybe none of my work will ever sell? Maybe I’m a hack? Holy crap! Why am I even doing this?!
It’s futile to fret over this kind of stuff because fretting isn’t going to change a damn thing. Of course I told myself I wouldn’t worry about it, but we all know how that goes. Promises, promises.
Patience is a virtue, they say. I suppose they’re right. Having two children has taught me a lot about patience, so I’m applying what I’ve learned and correcting my own behavior. I’m laying it out here so that it might help other writers in a similar situation.
I decided I won’t check sales until the month is over. Repeatedly checking sales is taking away from my writing time and causing me unnecessary stress. Are sales numbers going to influence any decision I’ll make between now and the end of the month? Of course not, so there’s value in obsessing over it. In fact, I’ve been twenty-four hours “sales check free”, so I’m already living it.
Going forward I think I’m going to try to reduce sales checking to every few days or once a week. We’ll see how that goes.
I will prepare myself for low numbers. By low, I mean zero. Thus far the book has sold 6 copies in 3 days, averaging 2 copies per day since release. Last year my first novel sold 1.7 copies per day in its first month, so the new book isn’t that far off. Hell, by this comparison it’s exceeding expectations.
I will also remember that regardless of anything else I have a title that sells pretty well each month. My novel, Into the Badlands, sells over 400 copies a month…every month. Not only is this awesome in its own right, it means that I’m gaining new readers every day who might buy my newer work. And, even if they don’t, I still have a book that’s selling. That’s more than some people have and it’s insulting to them for me to sulk when I’ve had so much success (by my standards, at least). Appreciate what you have, not what you don’t have.
I will work even harder to get the sequel to my first novel finished in a timely fashion. The less time I spend fretting, the more work I can put into writing (and the more books I can publish). I love the feeling of uploading a new title after working so long and hard on it; releasing The Desolate has reminded me of this. I can’t wait to do it again.
I will not allow self-doubt to gain a foothold and sabotage my future work. It’s business as usual for me, no matter if the book sells 10 copies or 10,000.
Most of all I will employ patience. I will allow time for this book to gain some momentum. Eventually fans will find it. Eventually the reviews will come. Sales will trickle in. At asome point Amazon’s sales engine will pick it up and start recommending it to others.
I believe in slow burns, not hot starts. I also believe in this book.
So patience will be my virtue and I’ll get back to writing. My time is better spent that way anyhow.