Wednesday, January 7, 2015

When is it MY Turn?

(This whiny baby pouty post brought to you by... )

Wait! Hold it! Start over!


Halo fine people! (and bumpy people, too). It is first Wednesday and time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Via the Facebook group, we were asked to give a brief intro of ourselves for newbies (or new-to-us-bes) today, so here goes:

I am Hart Johnson and have published an indie thriller trilogy under that name. I also have a traditionally published cozy mystery series (by Alyse Carlson) and I blog as the Watery Tart. By day I'm a social scientist and around here there are often silly shenanigans.

If you want to know more, the tab “Three Faced Tart” will fill you in and also describes my books (both pre and post published).

WELCOME!

As to the Topic

I'm usually pretty upbeat, and I really thrill in the success of my writer friends, but every once in a while it just hits me, When is that going to happen to ME? I know my books don't suck. I think it's my marketing that sucks. But I am stuck with a day job, so I feel like I don't have the TIME to learn to do everything that needs to be done marketing wise, let alone staying on top of the NEXT big thing I need to learn. I am feeling a little left in the dust...

To be clear, I know I'm whining... I published traditionally in '12, '13, and '14 and then published a trilogy in '13 and '14 on my own... I am not FLOUNDERING. But neither are my books flying off shelves and it's giving me a complex. I'd like to at least fantasize that this writing gig will eventually support me, but at the moment, it is just about supporting my writing habit... end of statement...

The insecurity will pass. I know it, but I wish it would pass NOW.

So what are YOU feeling insecure about? And be sure to go visit some other folks in the Insecure Writer Support Group!

26 comments:

Ted Cross said...

I don't think it's a lack of marketing skill. I just think it's nearly impossible for indie writers to make our books broadly known, unless we happen to be so wealthy that we can take out ads in the NY Times, etc. Many of us have really good books that people would enjoy reading, but they don't know we exist!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I think things started picking up for me and my sales at about the number of published books where you are now. You've got great books!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Just believe in your books, Hart. Keep writing. Even if none fly off the shelves, when you have a lot of them out there, those slower sales will add up to a lot.

Joss said...

I feel your pain and I often feel the same. Although I only have the one book out at present and people assure me things will improve as more are published. I can't help feeling it has more to do with my poor marketing skills and that no matter how many books I release that will never improve. I do; however, hope this improves for you and I'll help a little by adding you to my TBR list :)

Yolanda Renee said...

Funny how prior to publishing all we wanted was to be published, now with one or more books out there all we want is for more people to read that work! That's fair, it's a lot of work, and the whole purpose is to share! I share your frustration! And I too need to do more with the marketing - something I loathe because I have zero talent with it. So if I close myself off with the writing - I'll still be okay, I think...no I'll be back on the first Wednesday of the month to share my frustration. What the hell? I'm on a loop!!!!!
When you find the exit sign, please let me know! :)

E.E. Giorgi said...

Nice to meet you Hart! I love thrillers, I'll go check out yours now. Happy new year! :-)

E.E. Giorgi said...

just got your book, best of luck !

Liz Crowe said...

Here is the thing I am learning now that I have several trad (small) pubbed novels and have embarked upon my own self-publishing journey and hope to double my income from it all in 2015. It is a full time job that includes in-depth research (into groups, individuals and promo opportunities that you can utilize), constant willingness to pimp yourself and your books (albeit interspersed with pithy, humorous, compelling little tidbits about yourself and your life), and a fairly significant amount of dough for advertising (and the patience of a saint when dealing with entities like "Bookbub"). It's frustrating on many levels and the self-publishing "thing" is almost a victim of its own success for those of us whose books DON'T suck but who CAN'T seem to find a comfy little genre niche that people won't get all snooty about (yeah, I write romance and there's some sex in there but it's just part of the damn story oh never mind) or get all pissy over when they don't conform to their preconceived expectations.

For the record, I loved the first installment of your thriller and said as much on the 'Zon. My advice (not that you asked)? Get more reviews and pimp those a while. That does mean giving away copies which is a double edged sword. But it helps and is one of the (many) things I'm doing now for my self pubbed series. But at the end of the day, we are but one of a zillion scribblers and I still think (and am planning for) having a well-motivated, insanely connected and super energizer bunny of a NY Agent is key. It's on my to-do list this year (get one). Hang in and don't give up!

Sarah Ahiers said...

I totally missed that we were supposed to introduce ourselves today. Whoops.

I don't think that feeling of "why not me?" ever goes away. Or at least, it hasn't for me and I've certainly been on the receiving end of some great things going on with my writing, the kind of things other people would love. But, yet, here i still am, thinking, when will it be my turn for this NEW thing i suddenly want?

People, man. I don't think we ever get over wanting.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I won't ever happen if you quit though. Which I know you won't!

Marianne Sheldon said...

Hart, I think your only problem comes down to the short attention spans of the typical busy adult reader. Maybe we just can't do serials anymore. We have too many competing demands on our attention. For instance, I devoured your first two parts as you released them. Had it been released as a full book, I would have read the whole thing in under a week. However, before I got my hands on the third part, I moved, and it just fell out of my attention range. I finally found Part 3 last month and devoured it. I was so mad when I got to the end. "What happens? Where's the rest?!" So I jumped straight onto Amazon to buy the rest. However, it wasn't easy. The options were split, and I couldn't easily tell which one I needed to buy. So I clicked off without buying and then Christmas exploded all over the place and I forgot about it again.

However, chin up: These blog posts DO work, because I read this, was reminded that I still need to know what happens, clicked over to Amazon again, and this time the first option was a bundled set. The WHOLE thing for only $5.99. No figuring out which parts I have to buy. Easy peasy one click. Exactly what I need, and now I get to find out what happens.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

What a back-list you have. You are poised for success. Just keep writing.

Try to enjoy the journey. I've never been traditionally published, and here you have! What a grand feat!

Sometimes the lightning strikes and sometimes it doesn't. The trick is: you never know. If you quit, you definitely will never know. I believe in you. We fellow Michiganers have to stick together after all! I wish you many dreams coming true in 2015!!

Hart Johnson said...

You guys are AWESOME! Thank you so much. I DO need to seek reviewers--I've given away books, but I probably need to do a little more reminding on how valuable reviews are.

Andrew Leon said...

On the plus side, most studies of the stats show that the best marketing you can do is just to keep writing. That will net you the best long term results.

Andi-Roo TheWorldForRealz said...

If it makes you feel any better, some of us {Read: ME} look at what you've already accomplished with admiration. My goal is simply to complete a novel. Getting it published, even on a small scale, is currently beyond my scope of probability. So, from down here at the bottom... I think you're pretty freaking awesome! :)

VR Barkowski said...

Is it okay if I join you in a sip of whine even though I'm nowhere close to achieving what you have? It's not just the time necessary to market, it's the sideshow element: pimping for reviews, running contests, BSPing until your best friend runs the other way when he sees you on the street. It feels dirty. It feels cheap, and virtually none of it has to do with the work. For those who don't have time to sit online all day, or who can't afford to buy promotional hoo-has or attend conferences (for most conferences, if you don't attend, you're not eligible for the awards), it's an even tougher road. The quiet death of the mid-list author has changed publishing forever. But as everyone else has said, there's only one answer: keep writing.

VR Barkowski

dolorah said...

Ah the naked truth. Sucks sometimes, don't it? Hard to count your blessings (successes) when there is so much more to experience out there. Hang in there Hart, perhaps the writing will be supplemental income when you and hubs retire and live off the kiddos :)

Helena said...

Some of the folks here have already given some great advice, like Liz Crow on how to promote yourself, so I won't go there. But I can tell you that your books are delightful and that maybe your journey to bestsellerdom will take longer than you'd hoped, so like Roland says, enjoy the journey (easy for me to say as I myself sit by the side of the road and sulk). You really have accomplished so much already that you've proven you're amazing. Meanwhile, please keep up your hopes and your writing, 'cause you deserve your turn in the spotlight.

Suzanne Sapsed said...

Doesn't matter how well you're doing, whining occasionally is good to let everything out, rather than build up :) But you hit the nail on the head, it's hard to devote the necessary hours and imagination when you've a full time job xx

Sarah Foster said...

It's ok to whine once in a while. Just try to think about how much you've already accomplished.

G. B. Miller said...

My first response after reading your page of published, is "Holy Cow!" I am seriously impressed.

I have no actual advice to give. Instead I'll say that considering you're holding down a good day job while creating all this excess verbiage is a very huge accomplishment. It's just a matter of time before things really start to fall into place for you writing.

Father Nature's Corner

Yvette Carol said...

Hi Hart, Welcome to the IWSG! Yes, I suspect it's going to take some magic to make any money out of this. Over on Chris, the Story Reading Ape, there's a blog posted this week about the reality of the book biz, and I fear it'll have some more depressing news. I have been too busy to read it yet. However, we have to carry on regardless, and hold on to our belief in miracles. That's my belief. Carry on, my girl, you're doing great!!

T. Powell Coltrin said...

You are one of my favorite writers in this blogger world. Your books are great stories and your posts are entertaining. You can't get better than that.

Keep it up, my friend.

Nick Wilford said...

You're doing something right. You've published an impressive range of books in the last couple of years, so keep going at that rate and it'll all stack up. I get what you're saying though. The best marketing is word of mouth, ie *other people* spreading the word for you, but we don't have much influence over that. It's definitely good to get a few good reviews - do you send ARCs before publishing? And keep writing!

Denise Covey said...

Hello Hart. That marketing is a killer, isn't it? It totally scares me! You can write the best book, but if people don't hear about it, you're sunk. But self-published books are there for the long term, so I wouldn't get too disappointed. Hang in there. I know you will. You have an impressive published list, so be proud! (I've only just submitted my first novel to a publisher after years of fiddling around due to insecurity!)

Happy New Year! Here's to many book sales!

Denise :-)

mshatch said...

I can totally relate to this. There just isn't enough time when you have a full-time job. I've already cut back on blogging and I don't want to cut back any more, nor am I willing to give up any writing time which leaves...zero hours to squeeze one more thing into dammit!