14 October 2012

Friends and Family

What seems like ages ago, I was signed with a (I found the truth out later) scam publisher, a story which I had detailed some time ago. Fortunately, I'd gotten free of their clutches, but one of the things I remember from those days was a constant insistence (by folks trying to convince this publishers' authors that the publisher was a scammer, which turned out to be true, but anywho...) that print-on-demand publishers such as this one would only sell 75 copies of any title, and this was only to friends in family.

Now, I've gone into details over sales figures many times, most recently in July. Some of the books are new, and still gathering steam (I hope), but I don't buy into the 75-copy ceiling...never have, never will.

One other thing they used to repeat over and over was that print-on-demand publishers would only ever be able to sell to friends and family. Now, this one hits close to home...

As you know, I've ventured into the self-publishing realm, which by and large utilizes print-on-demand as well. I do have sales (that exceed the 75-copy ceiling, but it seems like most of these have come from the dreaded friends and family category (I throw acquaintances I've met through social media into the friends category, regardless of how close a friend they may or may not be). I still have yet to find a way to expand past this group, to where the books basically sell themselves. I watch others, and this seems to happen with great easy. So, is it because their books are so much better than mine? Do they know of some miraculous promotional technique that I'm not using?

Unfortunately, finding new friends is exhausting...and finding more family usually requires a decade or more until children are old enough to read my books. So, here I sit, trying to find a way to overcome an old proclamation, by folks who were dead-on about a scam publisher, but who may be half-right on the self-publishing revolution as well. So, if you have thoughts on the matter, feel free to share them.

And in the meantime, check out my books.


  1. I bought your first book before we were friends, so there you go. :) I really don't know the answer. I have friends who are selling amazing amounts of their e-books. What's their secret? I wish I knew. Maybe the secret is to write YA paranormal romance. =) (No thanks!) "Success" in self-publishing seems almost random to me. I guess we just keep writing what we love and plugging away at it and see what happens. Even my traditionally published book isn't selling like I want it to, so who knows. *shrugs*

  2. My book has sold over 100 copies so far, but I've yet to hit the "the book sells itself" threshold. I've sold 5 or 10 books a day and then nothing for weeks--and didn't do anything different with marketing.
    I guess we could take up writing "space erotica".

  3. Cassandra, if I could write erotica, I think I'd sell tons. But I can't, so... :-)

    Angie, yes, I have the same experience with my "traditionally" published book. I do think there's a bit of luck to the mix, but the rational-thinker in me wants there to be something more.

    But to expound on your "before we were friends" comment...how did you first hear of me? I'm getting forgetful, and can't remember things like I used to. Was it through RGR? I've had several that first went in search of my books through that avenue. So, perhaps it's just continuing to get our names in front of more and more new people...it's just too bad that after RGR found new owners, I ceased having any ability in getting them to publish my works (until the point I stopped trying).

  4. Hmmm. Good question. I think I was looking for blogs to follow and found yours from one my friend's blogs which you were following. The book sounded intriguing, so I bought it after visiting your blog. :)

  5. Oh, and yes I think it's good to get our names in front of as many people as possible. Maybe I need to write some more short stories...

  6. Maybe I need to stop putting them into triple-shots, and go back to getting them in magazines...

  7. I've seen time and time again the 'ruling' that a new author is 'lucky' to sell over 100 books. Well, my aim was to beat that and I've just about done it. But have I mastered marketing and promoting? No. Have I learned the secret to selling lots? No. I'm in limbo at the moment, wondering what to do next. I can't afford paid advertising, and the free stuff usually involves more effort than seems to pay off in sales. I feel I'd be better off putting the time (and often money) I'd invest into guest posts and giveaways by writing new titles, which is what I'm concentrating on right now. I'm going to self-pub a short story next month to 'tide me over' until my next novel comes out in June. Seems the best bet is just to keep writing and plugging away. Unless, of course, you write something like 50 Shades. O.o

  8. Maybe. It seems like self-pubbing short stories would make more money, even if just a little bit, than most of the magazines pay, but then maybe the magazines offer better exposure. Hard to say. I think I need to reclaim my goal of getting a story into a professionally paying publication.

  9. Pippa, that's exactly the stance taken by some of the folks over in my blogroll (Dean Wesley Smith is one notable stalwart), that your time and energy would be better spent writing. Sadly, I can't write anything 50 Shades-esque, or I'd definitely sell more. :-)

    Angie, I do make more money than the magazines I used to submit to regularly...but I do think that those magazines helped garner me fans that otherwise wouldn't have found me. I gave up on pro publications, at least the ones that everyone has heard of like Asimov's. It just wasn't worth the effort.


I love comments, and do my best to answer everyone who stops by...