I first published my debut YA novel, 22 Scars, in late October last year (2017). My best period of sales and reviews was in the following months, until something like March or April of 2018. And while I’ve continued to garner reviews and a few sales since (I’m up to 84 ratings on Goodreads), it’s come to weigh on me that writing a book and selling a book are very different prospects.
I’ve written about this before, but a lot of writers (myself included) believe that the writing part of writing is, by far, the hardest part of the business. After all, it’s the raw creation – the art of telling a story in a coherent, interesting manner that engages people and keeps them entertained. It takes a great deal of emotional investment to write a book, and there are times when you’re pulling your hair out, or murmuring in despair, believing it will never be done.
And whilst there is no diminishing the dreadful effort of the act of writing, the business of selling is something else entirely.
The biggest difficulty of selling is that it involves a great deal of work that authors are simply not prepared for. Even if you go to school for writing, they don’t teach you how to market, how to sell, and how to engage people who not only haven’t read your work, but haven’t even heard of you before.
I’m grateful for the number of reviews and ratings I have already – considering I’ve done virtually nothing in the 14 months since 22 Scars was published, it’s actually quite a lot – but it makes me wonder how I can expand from here. Thanks to Voracious Readers Only and a few other giveaway sites, I’ve managed to give out nearly a thousand copies of the book, but to consider I’ve gotten 84 ratings, that’s less than a 10% return on investment.
I know this is a numbers game; the more copies I get out there, the more people will read it, and perhaps eventually someone of some influence will come across it – and hopefully enjoy it! But until that day happens, I need to focus on continuing with what I can do – which is write.
I already have an idea for a second novel, The Broken, about the legacy of music and domestic violence, but I’m also working on my fantasy work, and it’s difficult to know where to put my focus at any given moment. As I’ve always said before, I’m not in this for the money, but I do want people to read my work – I want them to be affected and touched by it, and for it to make a difference in their lives.