For the past couple of months I’ve been reading a ton of blogs by authors who started out in similar situations as I have. I try to stick with self-published young adult (and if possible, fantasy) writers for advice, trying to figure out the successful ones’ secrets to success. And after hours upon hours of reading I’ve come up with ... nothing. Most of the more successful self-published stories, like Amanda Hocking, Susan Ee, Tammara Webber, Jamie McGuire, Erin Kern etc. don’t even seem to know why things have worked out so well for them. Every time I see an FAQ page, I immediately click on it, and usually there’s a “How are you selling so many books?” question, and funnily enough, a lot of the successful authors don’t know. Some of them say they didn’t market much, or if they did, it didn’t seem to make much of a difference in sales. Some of them soar to the top of lists right away, and some of them are unnoticed for years, and suddenly see a surge in sales, leading them to book deals within months.
I - wha? - but - WHY?!? I CAN’T WORK WITH THIS!
Honestly, knowing this scares the crap out of me. It basically means I have very little control of the situation, and all my hard work may be for nothing. I’ve spent about a year preparing my baby for this, and it’s really depressing to know that a lot of what controls my fate is luck. I know the most important thing is to have a good book, but I have come to the conclusion there’s a LOT more to it than that. Of course I plan to do the best I can to help the book do well (despite my gut-wrenching panic at the mere IDEA of marketing), but still. It’s terrifying, but at the same time, in some weird way, it’s a relief. This’ll already be stressful enough without feeling like a failure if it flops. Now I’ll know - it’s not necessarily me if it doesn’t do well. There are so many factors, invisible to me, that I can’t possibly predict what’ll happen. I’ll keep my expectations low. Yes, that’s what I’ll do. *clears throat* I plan to not sell a single copy.
Now I’ll be pleasantly surprised.