Sunday, August 21, 2011

Worrying about what you can control

I'm getting close to a milestone number as far as book sales go. I'm one sale away from hitting 100 total sales. Honestly, I thought I'd be there by now. I started the month of August just four sales away from 100. So, a little quick math, that means I've sold three books this month.

I've heard from lots of independent authors that summer sales are slow and that August is the worst. "Sure," I thought, "but it can't be that bad." No, it can be worse.

Honestly, I thought that August would go well. July started slow. No sales for the first two weeks. After that, though, I sold almost one book a day for the rest of the month. Momentum, I thought, I finally have some. This will carry over into August. And I was fooled, because for a day or two it did carry over. I sold a book on the fist day of the month. I hadn't done that ever. Then I sold another on the third day. So far so good. Then I didn't sell another book at all until this weekend. Someone on Barnes and Noble picked up a copy.

I was checking every day hoping to see that third and fourth sale, but nothing. Until this weekend, I was stuck at two. I've been tweeting about Chasing Filthy Lucre. I've been pushing it on Facebook. I've had interviews and reviews posted. Still, nothing moves the sales.

I am starting to realize that what some of the more successful writers have been saying. You can't control how many copies you sell. You do what you can to let people know about your book or books. You make your best effort and hope that works. You can't, however, make anyone push that buy button.

That's why you concentrate on the one thing you can control: writing your next book. There's one thing that almost all the successful indie authors say will drive sales, and that's having more books available. Two books will sell better than one book. Three books will sell better than two. Four better than three, and so on. I'm about 15,000 words into Book 2 into and it's really starting to take shape. I always knew where this book would go but the details are in focus now, and that's a good thing. I have a goal, the second book being published by my birthday, October 4. That's very doable.

So for now, I'll keep doing what I've been doing and hoping that these slow sales are just the summer doldrums. That things will pick up once the weather turns cooler and the kids go back to school. And I'll keep writing.

And speaking of milestones, here's a little something I just realized. That last post -- the interview with Steve Umstead -- was the 400th post on this blog. That's kind of cool. Didn't know I was getting close to another round number.

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