Do you know the one thing that I cannot stand?
Particularly authors who whinge about the lack of book sales, or even, whinge that they have sold a paperback version of their book but, because it’s not the kindle version, they get less in royalties. I mean come on! I know it’s tough writing books and trying to sell them for a living but you’re not doing yourself, or your growing readership, any favours when you post complaints about your book sales online.
I have seen and heard this many times, sadly.
It can be frustrating putting months and years of your life into writing and editing a book only to find that once it has been released very few people have read it, bought it, or then bothered to review it, but that’s part of the reality for new authors and even for all authors. There is absolutely no guarantee that what you write will ever become a best seller, a semi-best seller, or even sell at all. It’s unpredictable and hard work, which is why most academic schools and ‘professionals’ will probably steer you away from ever pursuing a career in writing. That being said, the rewards from writing can be great, especially if writing is something you love regardless of how well you do from it. Not everyone can be popular authors like Stephen King, James Patterson, John Green, or J.K. Rowling, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t good financial gains from being a semi-popular author.
But you’re probably wondering, like I have wondered, how do these popular authors become so popular? How do they reach success? Is there some sort of trick? Is there some secret formula? Well I don’t claim to have all the answers, or any answers, but as I’ve been doing my research I have noticed one crucial detail which seems to hold true for all successful authors… they write, and they keep on writing. What do I mean by this? What I mean is that these authors produce a new full book every one to two years, ideally every year or even in some cases they produce two or more books a year. They do not, and I repeat, they do not, write only one book and then promote it heavily for the next several years hoping it will take off and become a best seller.
Don’t believe me? Stephen King has produced one or more books every year since 1974. J.K. Rowling wrote the first four Harry Potter books between 1997-2000 (that’s one book a year) and the last three between 2003-2007 (one book every two years). John Green wrote four books and co-authored two other books between 2005-2012. James Patterson has written one or more books every year since 1976. I could go on but you get the point. The important thing to note is, that even when one of their books became a best seller these authors did not stop writing, they rode the wave and continued producing books. They grabbed their moment and they did not let it go.
I’ve heard and seen authors complain that the book they have written last year or even three years ago, isn’t doing as well as they had hoped, and they do have my sympathies, but they also have my frustrations. You can’t write a book and expect that book to be the one best seller and then stop writing, the harsh truth is, your book may never do well, and whilst you are moaning about it or over-promoting it on social media, other authors are getting on with it and writing their next books. Take for example George Orwell, he is best known for his novels Animal Farm (published 1945) and Nineteen Eighty-four (published 1949), but before these two books Orwell had written four other novels and three non-fiction books.
Your first book, or your first several books may not be the one book which does well and gets your name out there, which is why you need to keep writing new books. You should keep in mind that you may never do well from writing, but you can bet that once one of your books does take off, your other books should see more sales too as a result. There is no secret formula or trick which will guarantee you success, there is just a lot of hard work and hoping. The best I can do is leave you with some cultivated words of advice; don’t be that author who writes two books in eight years and then complains about their lack of success, and don’t let good opportunities pass you by, especially if you’re offered a good publishing deal/contract. If your last book is doing well, hurry up and get the next book out ASAP, and if you really want to be an author, follow in the footsteps of the popular authors and get a book out every year.
That’s it from me for now, I hope my simple but blunt words have been helpful to you. Happy Reading Bibliophiles and Authors, Keep On Writing.