I'm going to tackle a sensitive topic today - for myself and for others I've spoken to. It doesn't just affect authors, but honestly any small business. It can be hard to talk about, because in a sense, it admits to failure on some level.
Let’s talk about the reason why so many authors - myself included - struggle to make ends meet with their author career.
Is it crummy book covers? Nope.
Is it poorly edited (or not edited) stories? Nope.
Is it a lack of marketing money? Nope.
Is it a lack of talent? Nope.
Don’t get me wrong, the above can contribute to failing careers, but at the end of the day the key metric all struggling authors experience is a lack of support.
But I can’t afford to buy books all the time!
Support has very little to do with a monetary value. Support that most small businesses need right now is "moral" support.
Support is taking time to click like on a post, to comment on it, to share it, because that viral reach could put your friend in front of new readers. Support is offering to review (and actually following through) which costs you nothing but time, and if you’re already a reader you get free books! Support is chatting with other book people about your friend’s new book. Support is sending them a text or DM on release day to give them little congrats because writing a book takes a metric fuck ton of work.
I can post about the stupidest thing on my author and personal Facebook/Instagram and get engagement and comments. The minute I post about my books, it’s almost utter radio silence unless it’s a huge accomplishment. Here, check it out. I post book stuff maybe once every 3 days, so it’s not a flooded thing either for those that might think “authors just shove too move in your face”.
This goes for authors, too.
Other authors are not your competition. I cannot tell you how many authors I support simply because I love them and their work. Because kindness matters and if they thrive, that’s awesome! Together, we can reach new readers, more readers, and maybe stop the author from permanently closing the laptop on their dream career.
But you always act like you’re doing awesome.
Of course I do - fake it till you make it. It hurts and drags me down every single release day when I barely make it into double digit sales - and I do have those double digits every release, but sometimes it’s hard and other times I skyrocket past. It’s gut wrenching anytime I post looking for a quick share or a like because I know next to no one is going to take the time, which means I look unsupported and therefore not worth a chance to new readers.
It's insanely expensive to be an author. Roughly $800 per book and 95% of us do not make that back. We fund it with our day job. We skip new shoes or fund snacks because our dream is worth it. We spend time writing we could otherwise be out or with our family. We won’t all make it. We won’t all be quality worthy of making it, but a simple show of support could pull us from our darkest days when looking ahead to decide if the next book might be our last.
Isn't it possible your work just sucks?
100% a possibility. However, when I have been able to reach new readers, I've gotten amazing reviews, inboxes telling me how much they loved something, and sometimes, (hopefully) new book friends! So yes, I may suck. It's entirely possible, but it's unlikely given the response when my work is looked at by new readers.
I’ve got a challenge for you 2022
If you’ve got an author (or any small business owner really) on your social media feed, don’t scroll past that post. Give it a thumbs up. Maybe even comment. Offer your community to share just for a single. Maybe skip a coffee or fast food meal to buy a single one of their books. You never know what you’ll find.
Stay up to date with any announcements and just general posts here!