Sinking Into Relative Obscurity

Times change. Normally, I don’t blog here in the middle of the week. Normally, I don’t blog anywhere in the middle of the week. But today, I’m feeling the weight of something pressing on me and I want to get it off my chest if only for the length of time it takes me to write this post.

It’s been my observation, based on my own work and efforts this year, that authors who do not promo the fuck out of themselves and their books begin to sink into relative obscurity. Back in 2008, when I got my first contract, it seemed like a little Tweeting, a little Facebook, an up to date website, a weekly blog post occasionally augmented by a guest blog post or interview, a chat maybe once a month with a giveaway, high placement in a few contests plus some loop promo 2-3 times a week got you enough attention to sell books. No so any longer.

A case in point seems to be my M/M stuff. Fire Season continues to sell. However, there’s huge numbers of readers on the Goodreads M/M group who aren’t familiar with it despite it being on Jessewave’s Top Ten of 2009 and a Rainbow Awards Finalist. Those readers almost seem to be all about the authors who posted freebies during the group’s free read/write events. So this year, I did one, but I don’t think I’m seeing more name recognition for it. I got involved in the free serial story Lords of Aether. Not seeing more name recognition for that either. And all the books I’ve put out this year? Well, I guess you could say they’re not Fire Season.

The only thing I can see that I do differently than all the young up and coming authors in this genre whom everyone seems to know is that they are constantly on Twitter, Facebook, Facebook groups, blog tours and hops, Goodreads groups and all over a gazillion new review sites. And by constantly, I mean I see posts from them time-stamped all day long.

Looking at all that, I hear a death knell. I don’t have all day to promo. I don’t have any time to promo really, although I eke out some time here and there. Also, these authors are all over the conventions and conferences and all about tagging and reviewing each others books on Amazon and B&N and ARe. Whew. Just writing all of that has me exhausted. And discouraged. Because I can’t do all that stuff all the time. I have a full-time, demanding job. I have a family and a graphics business and things I’m supposed to write for my editors. And I live in an expensive part of the world and am the sole provider for 3 adults and a bunch of cats.

The upshot is that I can’t afford to promo like the authors whose names trip off readers lips, especially M/M readers. I don’t have the time or the money. And thus, I find myself sinking into relative obscurity. I can see the writing on the wall. One day, my editors are going to start giving me rejection slips because no matter how good my work is, if it doesn’t sell, they won’t want me.

So I guess I’m seeing the beginning of the end. This is what today’s trending is showing me. Even if I reinvent myself, I don’t have the time and wherewithal to do what’s necessary to sell books. I rather think that the era of “Lex who?” is upon me no matter how many times Wave profiles me, how many times I’m in the Rainbow Romance Writers ads in RWR  or how many freebies I write at the Goodreads M/M group.

All of this begs the question, do I stop? Or do I just wait out the natural attrition I mentioned above where eventually my editors don’t want my work anymore because no matter how good it is, no one knows me and my books don’t sell anymore?

No time to actually answer this question because lunch is almost over and I need to try to drop a few hundred words into my WIP. However, comments and observations are welcome…if anyone’s actually reading this. LOL 😉

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88 Responses to Sinking Into Relative Obscurity

  1. Ally Blue says:

    Lex, I know just what you mean. My royalties have been dropping for a while now, especially since I got switched to a lower paying part time position at my EDJ (not that I mind that; more time for writing!). Scary, since I’m partially depending on royalties to pay the bills these days. But, yeah, I don’t have tons of free time for being a promo ho and wouldn’t want to go that route even if I did.

    The one thing I’ve learned for sure in almost ten years of being published is, all that promo is mostly bullshit. The one and ONLY thing that sells books is buzz — readers talking about your books. And you can’t force that, no matter how much you Tweet and FB and chat and blog and post on Goodreads. Either readers love your books and talk about them, or they don’t. Period. You can’t make it happen. One of my closest friends is a top selling gay romance author and she never, ever does any promo. Her books sell because they are awesome PLUS they get the “buzz”. I happen to think my books are pretty darn good, but they don’t get the “buzz” so they don’t sell so great. I’ve learned to only do the promo I genuinely like and can reasonably do, and spend the rest of my time writing more books and trying not to let the lack of buzz bug me. I’m doing something I love and I get health insurance at my day job so I feel pretty lucky, all things considered 🙂

    • Winter / Lex says:

      I think a lot of midlist authors are seeing some decline simply because of the economy. What seems to be sustaining us is our backlist. And I’m lucky that I’m not one of those people who gets up in the morning and says, “Oh, no. Another day at the EDJ instead of writing.” I like my EDJ a lot. I’ve been there more than 13 years and it’s never a chore to go to work. Unless I’m sick or in pain. Then I just don’t want to get out of bed for anything or anyone. 😉

  2. Ally Blue says:

    Lex, I know just what you mean. My royalties have been dropping for a while now, especially since I got switched to a lower paying part time position at my EDJ (not that I mind that; more time for writing!). Scary, since I’m partially depending on royalties to pay the bills these days. But, yeah, I don’t have tons of free time for being a promo ho and wouldn’t want to go that route even if I did.

    The one thing I’ve learned for sure in almost ten years of being published is, all that promo is mostly bullshit. The one and ONLY thing that sells books is buzz — readers talking about your books. And you can’t force that, no matter how much you Tweet and FB and chat and blog and post on Goodreads. Either readers love your books and talk about them, or they don’t. Period. You can’t make it happen. One of my closest friends is a top selling gay romance author and she never, ever does any promo. Her books sell because they are awesome PLUS they get the “buzz”. I happen to think my books are pretty darn good, but they don’t get the “buzz” so they don’t sell so great. I’ve learned to only do the promo I genuinely like and can reasonably do, and spend the rest of my time writing more books and trying not to let the lack of buzz bug me. I’m doing something I love and I get health insurance at my day job so I feel pretty lucky, all things considered 🙂

    • Winter / Lex says:

      I think a lot of midlist authors are seeing some decline simply because of the economy. What seems to be sustaining us is our backlist. And I’m lucky that I’m not one of those people who gets up in the morning and says, “Oh, no. Another day at the EDJ instead of writing.” I like my EDJ a lot. I’ve been there more than 13 years and it’s never a chore to go to work. Unless I’m sick or in pain. Then I just don’t want to get out of bed for anything or anyone. 😉

  3. Kathy Kulig says:

    Hey Lex, I just saw this posted on the BDSM writers loop for MM reviews. You probably know about them but incase you don’t:
    http://www.mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com
    Someplace to promo. 🙂
    Have a great weekend.

  4. Kathy Kulig says:

    Hey Lex, I just saw this posted on the BDSM writers loop for MM reviews. You probably know about them but incase you don’t:
    http://www.mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com
    Someplace to promo. 🙂
    Have a great weekend.

  5. Nita Wick says:

    Don’t misunderstand, Lex. I’m pretty sure that over 2 years of royalties at the publisher was a whopping $12 in total royalties. LOL Like I said, I don’t sell many, but it doesn’t take many sales to top the previous royalties. Oh to have sales like E. L. James. {sigh} If you’re like me, though, every sale helps. I’ll take whatever I can get.

  6. Nita Wick says:

    Don’t misunderstand, Lex. I’m pretty sure that over 2 years of royalties at the publisher was a whopping $12 in total royalties. LOL Like I said, I don’t sell many, but it doesn’t take many sales to top the previous royalties. Oh to have sales like E. L. James. {sigh} If you’re like me, though, every sale helps. I’ll take whatever I can get.

  7. Nita Wick says:

    Hey, Lex. I don’t have time for Twitter and Goodreads. I don’t have time to blog, and even if I did, I hate it. I don’t want to. I occasionally purchase low-fee advertising. For $5 a month I’m a featured member at The Romance Studio. And I sometimes purchase cover ads there when they have specials. Recently I got 6 TRS Newsletter ads for the price of one. But I gave up on the Yahoo groups long ago. Time spent there seems to be such a waste. All I ever did was give away books or gift certificates with no impact on sales. (Well, at least none that I could see.)

    As for editors not wanting you… As long as you write a good book, some editor somewhere will want it regardless of previous sales records. And if you can’t find one… Publish the book yourself. I’ve got a short story that was previously in an anthology at a publisher. When the contract was up and I got the rights back, I published it myself. I don’t sell many, but I make more money in royalties now in one quarter than I did in the whole two years it was at the publisher.

  8. Nita Wick says:

    Hey, Lex. I don’t have time for Twitter and Goodreads. I don’t have time to blog, and even if I did, I hate it. I don’t want to. I occasionally purchase low-fee advertising. For $5 a month I’m a featured member at The Romance Studio. And I sometimes purchase cover ads there when they have specials. Recently I got 6 TRS Newsletter ads for the price of one. But I gave up on the Yahoo groups long ago. Time spent there seems to be such a waste. All I ever did was give away books or gift certificates with no impact on sales. (Well, at least none that I could see.)

    As for editors not wanting you… As long as you write a good book, some editor somewhere will want it regardless of previous sales records. And if you can’t find one… Publish the book yourself. I’ve got a short story that was previously in an anthology at a publisher. When the contract was up and I got the rights back, I published it myself. I don’t sell many, but I make more money in royalties now in one quarter than I did in the whole two years it was at the publisher.

  9. Jianne Carlo says:

    Excellent post, Lex. I really resent spent time promoting when I have, like you, a day job, a family, aand an actual life, and writing 🙂

  10. Jianne Carlo says:

    Excellent post, Lex. I really resent spent time promoting when I have, like you, a day job, a family, aand an actual life, and writing 🙂

  11. Viki Lyn says:

    Just read an article in RT about the m/m genre and it says it’s strong and not going away! Now we just have to outlive everyone else! LOL

  12. Viki Lyn says:

    Just read an article in RT about the m/m genre and it says it’s strong and not going away! Now we just have to outlive everyone else! LOL

  13. Great post, and I definitely hear where you’re coming from! I have friends who it seems do nothing but promote and tweak what they’re doing. They check their self-pubbed sales every night and change up their covers, blurbs, excerpts on amazon on a weekly basis. I get exhausted just listening to what they do, and there is absolutely no way I can do that (or want to do that, honestly) with my day job demands. As a writer, I admire their drive. As a reader, I can’t stand the promo-ho’s. I tend to ignore them because it just turns into noise. I know there have to be other readers just like me, so that gives me some comfort as a writer 🙂

    And I’ll be at GRL as well, so feel free to hang with me! We can stand and watch all the folks more popular than us!! LOL! I always feel like no one knows who I am. But, I’ve finally gotten to the point where I feel like the best promotion I can do is concentrate on writing the best book I can. A lot of the rest seems like luck to me some days.

    • Winter / Lex says:

      Definitely looking forward to meeting you, Jade! I loved doing a cover for you and loved the book too. I think it’s really amusing that all the authors I think of as great craftspeople are so not into being promo-ho’s!

  14. Great post, and I definitely hear where you’re coming from! I have friends who it seems do nothing but promote and tweak what they’re doing. They check their self-pubbed sales every night and change up their covers, blurbs, excerpts on amazon on a weekly basis. I get exhausted just listening to what they do, and there is absolutely no way I can do that (or want to do that, honestly) with my day job demands. As a writer, I admire their drive. As a reader, I can’t stand the promo-ho’s. I tend to ignore them because it just turns into noise. I know there have to be other readers just like me, so that gives me some comfort as a writer 🙂

    And I’ll be at GRL as well, so feel free to hang with me! We can stand and watch all the folks more popular than us!! LOL! I always feel like no one knows who I am. But, I’ve finally gotten to the point where I feel like the best promotion I can do is concentrate on writing the best book I can. A lot of the rest seems like luck to me some days.

    • Winter / Lex says:

      Definitely looking forward to meeting you, Jade! I loved doing a cover for you and loved the book too. I think it’s really amusing that all the authors I think of as great craftspeople are so not into being promo-ho’s!

  15. Viki Lyn says:

    I feel your pain – especially about the crazy world of social media and self-promotion. There’s a lot of choice out there for readers – and it’s hard to get heard above the noise. It’s very overwhelming – I revamped my website, have a FB acccount, Twitter and blog. But, I’m sporadic when it comes to posting and tweeting and all that other stuff. All I can say is I have to be creative and so I have to write. If I don’t write, then I will go back to doing my art. Either way, it’s hard to put a price on creativity. I would like to bring in a decent income from my writing, that’s my goal, but it might not be possible. I keep to my goal of publishing at least three books a year. I work hard on improving my craft. I have to be satisfied with that, and do the best I can with self-promo without driving myself crazy! Oh, and I’ll be at GRL, too, and look forward to meeting you!

    • Winter / Lex says:

      Boy, am I stressing over GRL. The money, the time, and I’m such a wallflower! You’ll probably find me clinging to ZAM’s skirts. She’s my protector. LOL But I look forward to meeting you, Viki! And I think we all agree with you on how overwhelming it all is. I bet the promo-whores are the ones who don’t find it overwhelming in the least.

  16. Viki Lyn says:

    I feel your pain – especially about the crazy world of social media and self-promotion. There’s a lot of choice out there for readers – and it’s hard to get heard above the noise. It’s very overwhelming – I revamped my website, have a FB acccount, Twitter and blog. But, I’m sporadic when it comes to posting and tweeting and all that other stuff. All I can say is I have to be creative and so I have to write. If I don’t write, then I will go back to doing my art. Either way, it’s hard to put a price on creativity. I would like to bring in a decent income from my writing, that’s my goal, but it might not be possible. I keep to my goal of publishing at least three books a year. I work hard on improving my craft. I have to be satisfied with that, and do the best I can with self-promo without driving myself crazy! Oh, and I’ll be at GRL, too, and look forward to meeting you!

    • Winter / Lex says:

      Boy, am I stressing over GRL. The money, the time, and I’m such a wallflower! You’ll probably find me clinging to ZAM’s skirts. She’s my protector. LOL But I look forward to meeting you, Viki! And I think we all agree with you on how overwhelming it all is. I bet the promo-whores are the ones who don’t find it overwhelming in the least.

  17. i wish i knew what to say.
    but i don’t.
    and i just wanted to let you know that i read what you wrote here.
    also, that no hate photo makes me wildly happy.
    xoxo

    • Winter / Lex says:

      I’m so glad to see you, Becky! I sometimes miss the old blogging gang since I dumped my original Twitter account. As for my NoH8 photo, I wanted to go again last weekend in Anaheim, but alas…too broke. I’m really happy I went the first time though. It’s such a worthy cause.

  18. i wish i knew what to say.
    but i don’t.
    and i just wanted to let you know that i read what you wrote here.
    also, that no hate photo makes me wildly happy.
    xoxo

    • Winter / Lex says:

      I’m so glad to see you, Becky! I sometimes miss the old blogging gang since I dumped my original Twitter account. As for my NoH8 photo, I wanted to go again last weekend in Anaheim, but alas…too broke. I’m really happy I went the first time though. It’s such a worthy cause.

  19. Lex, I’ll be at GRL too… We can keep each other out of the woodwork 🙂 Seriously, though, when I went to Authors After Dark last year, I was surprised at how many people knew who Karenna Colcroft (and Jo Ramsey) were, even though online I sometimes feel completely invisible.

    The prevailing wisdom used to be “The best promotion is to write the next book”, and I still see that advice being offered. But with the surge in e-publishing–and in self-publishing–it seems like some authors are trying to outdo everyone else with the biggest promo bang possible. And I agree, with some of them the time they spend on their promo seems to take away from the time they could be spending improving their craft.

    I’d rather write a good book… I got the best compliment ever recently when I received first-round edits that consisted solely of two typos and a few punctuation/grammar issues that were mostly a matter of my style vs. house style. No content edits. No unclear sentences. No comments in the margins. Just fewer than a dozen minor corrections. That tells me that even though I don’t spend hours and hours on promo, the hours and hours that I spend on writing and learning my craft are paying off. Even if the end result doesn’t sell as well as I’d like, I’m still happy to write well.

    • Winter / Lex says:

      I get really good feedback from my editors. I generally don’t have much to work on when it comes to edits unless it’s an old piece that I’ve revised and added too. I find that those tend to need more work than new stuff. And I still think one of the best ways to promo yourself is to put out the next book. I’ve stopped myself from putting them out too close together now though. That wasn’t working for me at all, the whole two books in the same month or week.

  20. Lex, I’ll be at GRL too… We can keep each other out of the woodwork 🙂 Seriously, though, when I went to Authors After Dark last year, I was surprised at how many people knew who Karenna Colcroft (and Jo Ramsey) were, even though online I sometimes feel completely invisible.

    The prevailing wisdom used to be “The best promotion is to write the next book”, and I still see that advice being offered. But with the surge in e-publishing–and in self-publishing–it seems like some authors are trying to outdo everyone else with the biggest promo bang possible. And I agree, with some of them the time they spend on their promo seems to take away from the time they could be spending improving their craft.

    I’d rather write a good book… I got the best compliment ever recently when I received first-round edits that consisted solely of two typos and a few punctuation/grammar issues that were mostly a matter of my style vs. house style. No content edits. No unclear sentences. No comments in the margins. Just fewer than a dozen minor corrections. That tells me that even though I don’t spend hours and hours on promo, the hours and hours that I spend on writing and learning my craft are paying off. Even if the end result doesn’t sell as well as I’d like, I’m still happy to write well.

    • Winter / Lex says:

      I get really good feedback from my editors. I generally don’t have much to work on when it comes to edits unless it’s an old piece that I’ve revised and added too. I find that those tend to need more work than new stuff. And I still think one of the best ways to promo yourself is to put out the next book. I’ve stopped myself from putting them out too close together now though. That wasn’t working for me at all, the whole two books in the same month or week.

  21. Jory Strong says:

    Terrific post and you’ve touched on something so many authors feel, including myself. I’ve spent the last year, or two, fighting depression over this very subject. Mostly I’m over it now. The answer for me: (a) stop comparing my popularity/name recognition to other authors. It’s crazy making and pointless and totally beyond my control to impact (other than writing good books), which goes hand in hand with (b) concentrate on living my life to the fullest, doing the things I enjoy and vaule. And that doesn’t include a lot of promo activities.

    I guest post and interview when asked. Attend conventions when the mood strikes. Other than that…if I’m not writing or reading, I’d rather be out riding horses, doing something real, rather than having an on-line life centered around networking and self-promoting. For me, that kind of on-line presence just isn’t who I am, where for others it really is, and comes so naturally that it probably doesn’t take much real effort.

    • Winter / Lex says:

      I think comparing ourselves is a human thing. Learning not to do it is a healthy thing. I’m really glad you mentioned it, Jory. And you’re very right about it. I guess it doesn’t really matter how much people are talking about or mentioning someone else. This isn’t high school and it’s not a popularity contest. Moderation in all things is probably the best way to go about promo in order to keep oneself sane.

  22. Jory Strong says:

    Terrific post and you’ve touched on something so many authors feel, including myself. I’ve spent the last year, or two, fighting depression over this very subject. Mostly I’m over it now. The answer for me: (a) stop comparing my popularity/name recognition to other authors. It’s crazy making and pointless and totally beyond my control to impact (other than writing good books), which goes hand in hand with (b) concentrate on living my life to the fullest, doing the things I enjoy and vaule. And that doesn’t include a lot of promo activities.

    I guest post and interview when asked. Attend conventions when the mood strikes. Other than that…if I’m not writing or reading, I’d rather be out riding horses, doing something real, rather than having an on-line life centered around networking and self-promoting. For me, that kind of on-line presence just isn’t who I am, where for others it really is, and comes so naturally that it probably doesn’t take much real effort.

    • Winter / Lex says:

      I think comparing ourselves is a human thing. Learning not to do it is a healthy thing. I’m really glad you mentioned it, Jory. And you’re very right about it. I guess it doesn’t really matter how much people are talking about or mentioning someone else. This isn’t high school and it’s not a popularity contest. Moderation in all things is probably the best way to go about promo in order to keep oneself sane.

  23. I’m relatively new to the m/m genre, having only been published for just over a year, and already, I recognize the phenomenon of which you write.

    Not only do I not have time to promo, I don’t want to do it. I only want to write. I have to make a living, too, because it’s becoming more and more obvious to me that writing will never be enough. In fact, the royalties are barely enough to cover a dinner out once in a while.

    But I love to write! In recognizing that, I’ve decided to self-publish. I’ve decided not to care about the money this may or may not come to me from my work. I will put out a quality ebook and hope people find me some day, because they sure aren’t finding me now in enough numbers to make any difference in my life.

    Winter wrote above that a lot of the books being published right now are badly written and badly edited. I agree. It’s hard for the reader to find the really good stuff when it’s awash in a sea of crap.

    I’d suggest you keep writing, keep publishing (one way or another!), and wait this out. Eventually, hopefully, the garbage will sink to the bottom and let the real writers shine.

    • Winter / Lex says:

      I’ve had people encourage me to self-publish and honestly, if my new stuff at Loose Id doesn’t do well, I may go that route in the future. I just don’t think I’m there yet. And I think you speak for most of us when you say that you only want to write. I’ll admit my royalties are a long way beyond buying just a dinner, but my days of getting $1800 checks are gone and I think that’s true for most mid-list authors now.

  24. I’m relatively new to the m/m genre, having only been published for just over a year, and already, I recognize the phenomenon of which you write.

    Not only do I not have time to promo, I don’t want to do it. I only want to write. I have to make a living, too, because it’s becoming more and more obvious to me that writing will never be enough. In fact, the royalties are barely enough to cover a dinner out once in a while.

    But I love to write! In recognizing that, I’ve decided to self-publish. I’ve decided not to care about the money this may or may not come to me from my work. I will put out a quality ebook and hope people find me some day, because they sure aren’t finding me now in enough numbers to make any difference in my life.

    Winter wrote above that a lot of the books being published right now are badly written and badly edited. I agree. It’s hard for the reader to find the really good stuff when it’s awash in a sea of crap.

    I’d suggest you keep writing, keep publishing (one way or another!), and wait this out. Eventually, hopefully, the garbage will sink to the bottom and let the real writers shine.

    • Winter / Lex says:

      I’ve had people encourage me to self-publish and honestly, if my new stuff at Loose Id doesn’t do well, I may go that route in the future. I just don’t think I’m there yet. And I think you speak for most of us when you say that you only want to write. I’ll admit my royalties are a long way beyond buying just a dinner, but my days of getting $1800 checks are gone and I think that’s true for most mid-list authors now.

  25. Kaje Harper says:

    I’m not sure what works and what doesn’t – I do only Goodreads. I’m not on Facebook or Twitter, and I have a website but I only blog on it about once every 10 days, mostly about WIPs and updates. My sales have varied a lot book to book, but not in a downhill curve. I do get new readers referencing my GR freebie stories as their first exposure, so I know I pick up readers there.

    It is hard to figure out why some authors get a lot more attention than others. It’s definitely not just quality of the writing. Not being on the other social media, I don’t know who is doing what kind of promo out there. We need some statistics major to measure number of tweets/Facebook postings and correlate with Amazon sales rank or some other benchmark. I would love to think sheer volume of promo is not the deciding factor.

    It does seem like there’s a select group of authors who reach a point where word of mouth probably obviates the need for heavy publicity efforts (Josh Lanyon, Amy Lane) and then the rest of us come and go in terms of visibility from book to book. But as a comparatively new author I can’t claim I have any grasp of what is a good writing-to-promo ratio. I sure hope that being heavy on the writing and producing new books is the better choice.

    • Winter / Lex says:

      I don’t actively yap on Twitter anymore. I just let my Facebook feed into it as well as my Flickr account and blog posts. I do post on Facebook sometimes but not all the time and my blog posts and artwork all automatically feed into my Facebook timeline. That helps with being out there in the public eye without having to actually go there and post stuff manually. And I do believe Jen Leeland is right about the value of a personal account at Fb. I have an author page but people tend to gravitate toward my personal account. I’d love to see someone try to quantify what all the tweeting and blog hops do for people, but I don’t think it’s quantifiable. I adored statistics in college, but I’m not so dumb as to think that trying to figure out promo efforts versus sales would be doable. I don’t believe it is. But I believe that promo efforts does affect name recognition. I’m just not sure why it works for some people and not for others. There’s some indefinable something out there when it comes to promo and name recognition and figuring out what it is probably won’t happen but I think it’s there nonetheless.

  26. Kaje Harper says:

    I’m not sure what works and what doesn’t – I do only Goodreads. I’m not on Facebook or Twitter, and I have a website but I only blog on it about once every 10 days, mostly about WIPs and updates. My sales have varied a lot book to book, but not in a downhill curve. I do get new readers referencing my GR freebie stories as their first exposure, so I know I pick up readers there.

    It is hard to figure out why some authors get a lot more attention than others. It’s definitely not just quality of the writing. Not being on the other social media, I don’t know who is doing what kind of promo out there. We need some statistics major to measure number of tweets/Facebook postings and correlate with Amazon sales rank or some other benchmark. I would love to think sheer volume of promo is not the deciding factor.

    It does seem like there’s a select group of authors who reach a point where word of mouth probably obviates the need for heavy publicity efforts (Josh Lanyon, Amy Lane) and then the rest of us come and go in terms of visibility from book to book. But as a comparatively new author I can’t claim I have any grasp of what is a good writing-to-promo ratio. I sure hope that being heavy on the writing and producing new books is the better choice.

    • Winter / Lex says:

      I don’t actively yap on Twitter anymore. I just let my Facebook feed into it as well as my Flickr account and blog posts. I do post on Facebook sometimes but not all the time and my blog posts and artwork all automatically feed into my Facebook timeline. That helps with being out there in the public eye without having to actually go there and post stuff manually. And I do believe Jen Leeland is right about the value of a personal account at Fb. I have an author page but people tend to gravitate toward my personal account. I’d love to see someone try to quantify what all the tweeting and blog hops do for people, but I don’t think it’s quantifiable. I adored statistics in college, but I’m not so dumb as to think that trying to figure out promo efforts versus sales would be doable. I don’t believe it is. But I believe that promo efforts does affect name recognition. I’m just not sure why it works for some people and not for others. There’s some indefinable something out there when it comes to promo and name recognition and figuring out what it is probably won’t happen but I think it’s there nonetheless.

  27. I buy a book if the cover looks great and so does the blurb. Lately, I’ve been self-publishing my books because sales for my selfpub books are over ten times more than my tradpub books. I jokingly call myself a “promowhore” but I don’t do half of what I could be doing. My main venue is Twitter with a dash of FB thrown in.

    No matter what your editors say, Lex, you can still self-publish. I think you should. You’ll be amazed what the difference in your income can be when you get 70% of list price instead of 35% of net (net usually being part of the 70%).

    And I don’t think you could stop writing even if you tried 🙂 It’s in your blood.

    • Winter / Lex says:

      I agree with you on a great cover and an interesting blurb. I’ve seen a lot of really bad blurbs while doing cover art. I just want to shake the author and tell them they need to tighten it up and write it better or people won’t be interested. Debra Holland and Z.A. Maxfield are after me to self-pub and I probably will with some stuff I need to get my rights back to. But I’m not there yet with new stuff. I’m hoping I do well at Loose Id. If I do, it will push back how soon I turn to self-publishing. And you’re right. I can’t stop writing. I wrote for free for years, simply for the love of it.

  28. I buy a book if the cover looks great and so does the blurb. Lately, I’ve been self-publishing my books because sales for my selfpub books are over ten times more than my tradpub books. I jokingly call myself a “promowhore” but I don’t do half of what I could be doing. My main venue is Twitter with a dash of FB thrown in.

    No matter what your editors say, Lex, you can still self-publish. I think you should. You’ll be amazed what the difference in your income can be when you get 70% of list price instead of 35% of net (net usually being part of the 70%).

    And I don’t think you could stop writing even if you tried 🙂 It’s in your blood.

    • Winter / Lex says:

      I agree with you on a great cover and an interesting blurb. I’ve seen a lot of really bad blurbs while doing cover art. I just want to shake the author and tell them they need to tighten it up and write it better or people won’t be interested. Debra Holland and Z.A. Maxfield are after me to self-pub and I probably will with some stuff I need to get my rights back to. But I’m not there yet with new stuff. I’m hoping I do well at Loose Id. If I do, it will push back how soon I turn to self-publishing. And you’re right. I can’t stop writing. I wrote for free for years, simply for the love of it.

  29. Kathy Kulig says:

    First Lex. Loove your cover and congrats bec. we share a release day, girl! I’d love you to guest on my blog that week. We’ll promo the heck out of our stuff. But I feel your pain. This will be my 10th book with EC and I feel I’m in quicksand when it comes to recognition. All the newbs seem to be excelling and climbing over top of me(great for them, really). I keep thinking what am I doing wrong? My books win awards, I’m on Twitter, FB, blogging, but sales are meh. I too, have the ugly day job and long commute so can’t put out a new book every month and can’t afford to go to tons of conferences. Even if I could, I can’t get time off work. Promo takes away valuable writing time and I’m not a fast writer. But without books, readers have nothing to buy. The Catch 22. Crappy books will always get published and sell millions. We have no control over that. And worrying about it will give us gray hairs and headaches. All we do have control over is writing the best books we can and forget about the rest. (((Hugs)))

    • Winter / Lex says:

      I’m happy to guest on your blog, Kathy! I’ll email you. I know that I tend to be one of those people who picks at scabs so the wounds from a book with lukewarm sales seem to stick around a lot longer than they should. My last EC book was a menage which I felt sure would just sells tons. It’s sold very poorly (IMO.) Mating is the companion story and when both were short stories at Freya’s Bower Mating sold tons! I’m curious to see if it continues to outsell Runaways when it comes out. I guess part of being an author is learning to ignore the external stuff that makes you feel discouraged so we can focus on creating the best books we can.

  30. Kathy Kulig says:

    First Lex. Loove your cover and congrats bec. we share a release day, girl! I’d love you to guest on my blog that week. We’ll promo the heck out of our stuff. But I feel your pain. This will be my 10th book with EC and I feel I’m in quicksand when it comes to recognition. All the newbs seem to be excelling and climbing over top of me(great for them, really). I keep thinking what am I doing wrong? My books win awards, I’m on Twitter, FB, blogging, but sales are meh. I too, have the ugly day job and long commute so can’t put out a new book every month and can’t afford to go to tons of conferences. Even if I could, I can’t get time off work. Promo takes away valuable writing time and I’m not a fast writer. But without books, readers have nothing to buy. The Catch 22. Crappy books will always get published and sell millions. We have no control over that. And worrying about it will give us gray hairs and headaches. All we do have control over is writing the best books we can and forget about the rest. (((Hugs)))

    • Winter / Lex says:

      I’m happy to guest on your blog, Kathy! I’ll email you. I know that I tend to be one of those people who picks at scabs so the wounds from a book with lukewarm sales seem to stick around a lot longer than they should. My last EC book was a menage which I felt sure would just sells tons. It’s sold very poorly (IMO.) Mating is the companion story and when both were short stories at Freya’s Bower Mating sold tons! I’m curious to see if it continues to outsell Runaways when it comes out. I guess part of being an author is learning to ignore the external stuff that makes you feel discouraged so we can focus on creating the best books we can.

  31. I don’t think all that promo helps enormously. I did try it for one book, and I ended up feeling, well, cheap, not to put a finer point on it. And that book didn’t sell any better.
    The big publishers are choosing one author, preferably a new one and promoting the hell out of her, while ignoring the others. So midlist authors everywhere are feeling a bit down.
    I’ve found that the books that sell best are with the larger publishers, and whatever I do, they sell about the same.
    I decided that I’d look to myself for success. If the book is as well written as I can make it, that’s enough. Because I can’t do much else, except my usual promo. I will not game (I just did a post over at The Good, The Bad and The Unread about that, and it does relate to what you’re saying, too). http://goodbadandunread.com/2012/07/23/pondering-gaming-kills/
    I think that readers get sick of writers who over-promote. That behaviour closes groups and people drift away, all but a hard core of half a dozen or so who turn up no matter what.
    The writing world would be poorer without your books and your presence, Lex, so keep going!

    • Winter / Lex says:

      I get that cheap feeling too if I promote too much and I can’t handle authors who over-promote. I find myself veering away from their books as a reader. And definitely, if I read a book that isn’t written well I stay away from that author in the future. If it’s not edited well, I will still buy them if their stories engage me. There’s an author with Torquere whom I adore. Her work is poorly edited but I love her characters so much I can’t wait for each book or story to come out. At a house with great editing, her work would really shine and I wonder if sometimes the lack of effort by the publisher to put out a stellar product has hurt her sales. I’ll make sure I read your post, Lynne and many thanks for your kind and encouraging words!

  32. I don’t think all that promo helps enormously. I did try it for one book, and I ended up feeling, well, cheap, not to put a finer point on it. And that book didn’t sell any better.
    The big publishers are choosing one author, preferably a new one and promoting the hell out of her, while ignoring the others. So midlist authors everywhere are feeling a bit down.
    I’ve found that the books that sell best are with the larger publishers, and whatever I do, they sell about the same.
    I decided that I’d look to myself for success. If the book is as well written as I can make it, that’s enough. Because I can’t do much else, except my usual promo. I will not game (I just did a post over at The Good, The Bad and The Unread about that, and it does relate to what you’re saying, too). http://goodbadandunread.com/2012/07/23/pondering-gaming-kills/
    I think that readers get sick of writers who over-promote. That behaviour closes groups and people drift away, all but a hard core of half a dozen or so who turn up no matter what.
    The writing world would be poorer without your books and your presence, Lex, so keep going!

    • Winter / Lex says:

      I get that cheap feeling too if I promote too much and I can’t handle authors who over-promote. I find myself veering away from their books as a reader. And definitely, if I read a book that isn’t written well I stay away from that author in the future. If it’s not edited well, I will still buy them if their stories engage me. There’s an author with Torquere whom I adore. Her work is poorly edited but I love her characters so much I can’t wait for each book or story to come out. At a house with great editing, her work would really shine and I wonder if sometimes the lack of effort by the publisher to put out a stellar product has hurt her sales. I’ll make sure I read your post, Lynne and many thanks for your kind and encouraging words!

  33. West says:

    I’ve often wondered the same thing. But, then you see authors who do nothing more than write and write and write and their books are best sellers. They don’t have Facebook pages or Twitter, but somehow they are successful. I don’t have enough time in my day to spend hours on Facebook or Twitter or Goodreads. As part of The Ravens Crossing, we have talked ad nauseum about this very topic. How? What? Where? We have a great core of followers who come back every day to see what’s going on, but we know we need to broaden our scope. I think it all comes down to continuing to publish quality work. Your loyal fans will always be there. They are the ones who will rush out to get your latest work no matter what. The genre seems to be influx, growing and evolving in a myriad of ways. Is all for the best? Who knows. We’ll just have to wait and see.

    • Winter / Lex says:

      I think the focus should always be on publishing quality work. I do see some value in Facebook and Twitter but I can’t deluge them like some authors do. No time for that stuff. And the popularity of blog tours I think may die down. It’s a trend at the moment just like chats and forums used to be. Even the Twitter parties aren’t as popular these days as they were when the hashtag first appeared. (Yes, I’ve been on Twitter so long I can remember when there were NO hashtags!) And the M/M genre is exploding so they say. I’m still kind of squicked out by those authors who have switched to that genre to “make more money” because every time I read one of them I find myself thinking they should have stuck with what they were comfortable writing in the beginning.

  34. West says:

    I’ve often wondered the same thing. But, then you see authors who do nothing more than write and write and write and their books are best sellers. They don’t have Facebook pages or Twitter, but somehow they are successful. I don’t have enough time in my day to spend hours on Facebook or Twitter or Goodreads. As part of The Ravens Crossing, we have talked ad nauseum about this very topic. How? What? Where? We have a great core of followers who come back every day to see what’s going on, but we know we need to broaden our scope. I think it all comes down to continuing to publish quality work. Your loyal fans will always be there. They are the ones who will rush out to get your latest work no matter what. The genre seems to be influx, growing and evolving in a myriad of ways. Is all for the best? Who knows. We’ll just have to wait and see.

    • Winter / Lex says:

      I think the focus should always be on publishing quality work. I do see some value in Facebook and Twitter but I can’t deluge them like some authors do. No time for that stuff. And the popularity of blog tours I think may die down. It’s a trend at the moment just like chats and forums used to be. Even the Twitter parties aren’t as popular these days as they were when the hashtag first appeared. (Yes, I’ve been on Twitter so long I can remember when there were NO hashtags!) And the M/M genre is exploding so they say. I’m still kind of squicked out by those authors who have switched to that genre to “make more money” because every time I read one of them I find myself thinking they should have stuck with what they were comfortable writing in the beginning.

  35. Ann Jacobs says:

    Often I feel I’m in the same boat–a skiff at sea among a crowd of electronically generated promo deluges. While I’m fortunate enough to write full-time, I’ve seen sales fall off in the face of a horrible economy, increased competition from more energetic promoters and so on. I’m philosophically opposed to bombarding lists, FB and Twitter with promo ad nauseum because such repetitious self-promotion turns me off instead of on to new books/authors.

    Last week I had a new release, so I posted on a list and got one (1) entry in a contest to win a print book collection. Several authors of a series virtually monopolized the publisher’s group list, so my single post got lost among a crowd of excerpts, contests, etc.

    The question is whether to join the promo-hos (I can buy the technical expertise to do so, LOL) or go along my merry way with a few posts to promote new releases to potential readers without pissing them off with too-heavy bombardment of “Buy my book” and idle chitchat about what I had for breakfast, where I’m going today, and so on.

    • Winter / Lex says:

      Ann, I’m with you on being turned off my too much promo. I tend not to buy those authors. And I’ve seen the same thing as you, even offering a prize doesn’t seem to bring out too many people any longer. I think it’s because they are all flocking to the big bunches of prizes like on blog hops and the big parties with multiple authors. The stuff you can do as an individual has become limited because of the appeal of the group stuff with more prizes and options.

  36. Ann Jacobs says:

    Often I feel I’m in the same boat–a skiff at sea among a crowd of electronically generated promo deluges. While I’m fortunate enough to write full-time, I’ve seen sales fall off in the face of a horrible economy, increased competition from more energetic promoters and so on. I’m philosophically opposed to bombarding lists, FB and Twitter with promo ad nauseum because such repetitious self-promotion turns me off instead of on to new books/authors.

    Last week I had a new release, so I posted on a list and got one (1) entry in a contest to win a print book collection. Several authors of a series virtually monopolized the publisher’s group list, so my single post got lost among a crowd of excerpts, contests, etc.

    The question is whether to join the promo-hos (I can buy the technical expertise to do so, LOL) or go along my merry way with a few posts to promote new releases to potential readers without pissing them off with too-heavy bombardment of “Buy my book” and idle chitchat about what I had for breakfast, where I’m going today, and so on.

    • Winter / Lex says:

      Ann, I’m with you on being turned off my too much promo. I tend not to buy those authors. And I’ve seen the same thing as you, even offering a prize doesn’t seem to bring out too many people any longer. I think it’s because they are all flocking to the big bunches of prizes like on blog hops and the big parties with multiple authors. The stuff you can do as an individual has become limited because of the appeal of the group stuff with more prizes and options.

  37. Mona Karel says:

    It does seem some writers are “luckier” than others with book recognition. I don’t think this is as current as it seems since I can think of many extremely talented multi published authors who are still waiting to be discovered. As with Lex, their books are beyond “good” but somehow they don’t have the attention I truly think they deserve.
    Is the answer more promotion? I really don’t know but I do know it’s an extreme learning curve!

    • Winter / Lex says:

      Mona, the more social media stuff they come up with the bigger the learning curve becomes for each new wave of authors coming up. I know I got on Pinterest because other authors were talking about how much they liked it and how great a tool it was…yeah, it was a “tool” alright. Ugh. I never spent any time on pinning stuff and so I decided to just ditch it. It was just something to do because others were doing it…so I got rid of it. I’m like that with most new stuff that comes along. I’ve been on Twitter a long time so I do still use it and Facebook has grown a lot from the days when me and the bloggers I knew barely used it. But other than those two and a little LinkedIn, I just stay off the new social media whirl. I don’t even do that much at Goodreads. It’s all a time suck that takes away from what little free time I have.

  38. Mona Karel says:

    It does seem some writers are “luckier” than others with book recognition. I don’t think this is as current as it seems since I can think of many extremely talented multi published authors who are still waiting to be discovered. As with Lex, their books are beyond “good” but somehow they don’t have the attention I truly think they deserve.
    Is the answer more promotion? I really don’t know but I do know it’s an extreme learning curve!

    • Winter / Lex says:

      Mona, the more social media stuff they come up with the bigger the learning curve becomes for each new wave of authors coming up. I know I got on Pinterest because other authors were talking about how much they liked it and how great a tool it was…yeah, it was a “tool” alright. Ugh. I never spent any time on pinning stuff and so I decided to just ditch it. It was just something to do because others were doing it…so I got rid of it. I’m like that with most new stuff that comes along. I’ve been on Twitter a long time so I do still use it and Facebook has grown a lot from the days when me and the bloggers I knew barely used it. But other than those two and a little LinkedIn, I just stay off the new social media whirl. I don’t even do that much at Goodreads. It’s all a time suck that takes away from what little free time I have.

  39. I know what you mean. My first novella comes out in a week and I feel like I’m scrambling to keep up! I don’t know how I’m going to get anyone’s attention among all the authors out there. Places and sites are thrown at me left and right, and I feel like I need to touch on them all. But in the end, as a reader, I usually only read things from word of mouth. I will pick up freebies on amazon, though! Hang in there. I know once I become a fan of an author, I buy everything they put out. (if I can afford it!)

    • Winter / Lex says:

      Shelley, I think a lot of readers are that way when they read something they really like. They go out and buy everything else they have to offer. I’ve heard people like Ann and Lynn talk about the value of a backlist in the past. I know EC authors find that their backlists are the backbone of their sales so it must be true of authors at other pubs as well. I know I still see sales of Fire Season every single month and sometimes those sales are higher than something new. I know that the other Tales series books also sell every month although not usually in the same numbers as Fire Season. There really is something to be said for having a healthy backlist.

  40. I know what you mean. My first novella comes out in a week and I feel like I’m scrambling to keep up! I don’t know how I’m going to get anyone’s attention among all the authors out there. Places and sites are thrown at me left and right, and I feel like I need to touch on them all. But in the end, as a reader, I usually only read things from word of mouth. I will pick up freebies on amazon, though! Hang in there. I know once I become a fan of an author, I buy everything they put out. (if I can afford it!)

    • Winter / Lex says:

      Shelley, I think a lot of readers are that way when they read something they really like. They go out and buy everything else they have to offer. I’ve heard people like Ann and Lynn talk about the value of a backlist in the past. I know EC authors find that their backlists are the backbone of their sales so it must be true of authors at other pubs as well. I know I still see sales of Fire Season every single month and sometimes those sales are higher than something new. I know that the other Tales series books also sell every month although not usually in the same numbers as Fire Season. There really is something to be said for having a healthy backlist.

  41. Lloyd Meeker says:

    Lex, I wonder if you aren’t being too hard on yourself. FWIW, I don’t think your impression is accurate. I believe that most of the froth on Goodreads is just that – froth. Rapid-fire interaction inside a closed circuit, signifying far less than the noise it makes. Does anyone know what the actual sales are in relation to amphetamine-level tweeting and self-promotion? I don’t, and I’m not sure anyone does for sure – but from what I’ve heard from reliable sources, a whipped-up frenzy of self-promotion anywhere may actually accomplish nothing, or worse, turn sensible people off.

    I don’t think being popular on Goodreads is a legitimate definition of the commercial value of an author’s work.

    It’s depressing, I know, to see low sales figures. In that depression it’s easy to imagine that the social media feeding frenzy is launching other authors to fame and fortune. But as I say, the reported results are so mixed that I can see no reliable pattern at all. It works for some successful authors and not at all for other successful authors.

    The one thing that everyone agrees on is having a really strong website/blog. I’m having mine completely overhauled this summer, and look to refocusing my promotional efforts through it in the fall.

    So in the meantime, we work at our craft and write the books that we have to write. I took a self-pub class online from Debra Holland a month ago, and she does zero social media stoking. She has a blog, she gets reviews, she has some very interesting ideas about promotion. Her sales number in the hundreds of thousands — and growing.

    I also wonder if there’s something of a current lull in sales for certain publishers. The M/M genre is exploding, but so are the avenues to publication for the books. That’s pure speculation on my part, though. A gut feeling.

    I know for myself, I’ll keep writing my stories simply because I have to. If one of them takes off, so much the better, but I’m in this work whether that happens or not. A big plus for me is that I’m actually not alone in the trenches – I’m glad I know you, and am happy to lend my empathy to you even if I have no sure-fire wisdom to offer.

    • Winter / Lex says:

      Lloyd, I probably am being hard on myself. I’m not that great when it comes to self-confidence. And I spend so much time tired that it’s easy for me to get discouraged which in turn feeds the lack of self-confidence. I won’t ever overdo the promo thing. As a reader, the promo whores turn me off as do the vote beggers. But I know those people do have followers sometimes huge gangs of followers. Maybe the reason it doesn’t seem like I’m as well known is just that MY huge gangs of followers are quieter! LOL And I know all about Debra’s success. She’s a friend of mine from the OCC chapter. What she’s accomplished is amazing. But I don’t think that will happen to everyone who self-publishes. I’ve dipped my toe in there a little and had pretty much zero success. So I’m not sure if it’s the right route for me. I thank you for your words of encouragement and friendship though! Those are worth a lot in my world!

  42. Lloyd Meeker says:

    Lex, I wonder if you aren’t being too hard on yourself. FWIW, I don’t think your impression is accurate. I believe that most of the froth on Goodreads is just that – froth. Rapid-fire interaction inside a closed circuit, signifying far less than the noise it makes. Does anyone know what the actual sales are in relation to amphetamine-level tweeting and self-promotion? I don’t, and I’m not sure anyone does for sure – but from what I’ve heard from reliable sources, a whipped-up frenzy of self-promotion anywhere may actually accomplish nothing, or worse, turn sensible people off.

    I don’t think being popular on Goodreads is a legitimate definition of the commercial value of an author’s work.

    It’s depressing, I know, to see low sales figures. In that depression it’s easy to imagine that the social media feeding frenzy is launching other authors to fame and fortune. But as I say, the reported results are so mixed that I can see no reliable pattern at all. It works for some successful authors and not at all for other successful authors.

    The one thing that everyone agrees on is having a really strong website/blog. I’m having mine completely overhauled this summer, and look to refocusing my promotional efforts through it in the fall.

    So in the meantime, we work at our craft and write the books that we have to write. I took a self-pub class online from Debra Holland a month ago, and she does zero social media stoking. She has a blog, she gets reviews, she has some very interesting ideas about promotion. Her sales number in the hundreds of thousands — and growing.

    I also wonder if there’s something of a current lull in sales for certain publishers. The M/M genre is exploding, but so are the avenues to publication for the books. That’s pure speculation on my part, though. A gut feeling.

    I know for myself, I’ll keep writing my stories simply because I have to. If one of them takes off, so much the better, but I’m in this work whether that happens or not. A big plus for me is that I’m actually not alone in the trenches – I’m glad I know you, and am happy to lend my empathy to you even if I have no sure-fire wisdom to offer.

    • Winter / Lex says:

      Lloyd, I probably am being hard on myself. I’m not that great when it comes to self-confidence. And I spend so much time tired that it’s easy for me to get discouraged which in turn feeds the lack of self-confidence. I won’t ever overdo the promo thing. As a reader, the promo whores turn me off as do the vote beggers. But I know those people do have followers sometimes huge gangs of followers. Maybe the reason it doesn’t seem like I’m as well known is just that MY huge gangs of followers are quieter! LOL And I know all about Debra’s success. She’s a friend of mine from the OCC chapter. What she’s accomplished is amazing. But I don’t think that will happen to everyone who self-publishes. I’ve dipped my toe in there a little and had pretty much zero success. So I’m not sure if it’s the right route for me. I thank you for your words of encouragement and friendship though! Those are worth a lot in my world!

  43. Winter says:

    Karenna – Unfortunately, a lot of the books I pick up because groups are raving over it, turn out to be not as well written as they could be. I don’t like to waste my time when I read because I don’t have a lot of time to read. So when I end up with a book I just want to throw against a wall, I get frustrated. How can so many people love that book? How can they read it when it’s so poorly written? I’m just shocked over and over again at the quality of some of the popular stuff I pick up. Which makes our situation even more frustrating. And honestly, I can’t say I’m not selling. I AM selling. But when I wade into the middle of some of these groups they are all about the up and coming newbs and they’ve no clue who I am. And I have to say I’m not selling in the numbers that I used to which makes it seem as if the lack of promo is the reason.

    Cat – I imagine the reason I’m picking up so many poorly written books by authors who are popular with the trending crowds is that they spend all their time on promo and not enough on craft…Okay, maybe that’s mean of me, but something needs to explain the bad books that everyone is buying! LOL

    Jen – I would have to say you’re right about the personal Facebook account. And I’m curious to see if I fade into the woodwork at GayRomLit. I keep thinking I will because all the fans on the loop squee over everyone but me it seems. I watch it all very curiously. The whole trending thing fascinates me as much as it frustrates me. And you’re still the best cheerleader I ever met! MUAH!

  44. Winter says:

    Karenna – Unfortunately, a lot of the books I pick up because groups are raving over it, turn out to be not as well written as they could be. I don’t like to waste my time when I read because I don’t have a lot of time to read. So when I end up with a book I just want to throw against a wall, I get frustrated. How can so many people love that book? How can they read it when it’s so poorly written? I’m just shocked over and over again at the quality of some of the popular stuff I pick up. Which makes our situation even more frustrating. And honestly, I can’t say I’m not selling. I AM selling. But when I wade into the middle of some of these groups they are all about the up and coming newbs and they’ve no clue who I am. And I have to say I’m not selling in the numbers that I used to which makes it seem as if the lack of promo is the reason.

    Cat – I imagine the reason I’m picking up so many poorly written books by authors who are popular with the trending crowds is that they spend all their time on promo and not enough on craft…Okay, maybe that’s mean of me, but something needs to explain the bad books that everyone is buying! LOL

    Jen – I would have to say you’re right about the personal Facebook account. And I’m curious to see if I fade into the woodwork at GayRomLit. I keep thinking I will because all the fans on the loop squee over everyone but me it seems. I watch it all very curiously. The whole trending thing fascinates me as much as it frustrates me. And you’re still the best cheerleader I ever met! MUAH!

  45. You aren’t the only one as you can see. ALL of us (whether we have tons of time to promo or not) have experienced the overwhelming sense of being lost in a crowd.
    That said, I’ve found NONE of that shit means as much as writing a damn good book. And you do.
    Obscurity for Lex? Hell no!!! Just be you. Maybe I’m not one to talk since you kick my ass in sales hands down, but it’s true.
    You’re not going to sink into the crowd and you have more fans than you know.
    I will say a Twitter presence and Facebook presence AS A PERSON not just an author has actually garnered me more sales than blog hops and free reads IMHO.
    You know me. I don’t pimp myself very well. I have faith in you that you’ll find the place where you shine and there’s going to be NO Lex who? in your future, my friend.

  46. You aren’t the only one as you can see. ALL of us (whether we have tons of time to promo or not) have experienced the overwhelming sense of being lost in a crowd.
    That said, I’ve found NONE of that shit means as much as writing a damn good book. And you do.
    Obscurity for Lex? Hell no!!! Just be you. Maybe I’m not one to talk since you kick my ass in sales hands down, but it’s true.
    You’re not going to sink into the crowd and you have more fans than you know.
    I will say a Twitter presence and Facebook presence AS A PERSON not just an author has actually garnered me more sales than blog hops and free reads IMHO.
    You know me. I don’t pimp myself very well. I have faith in you that you’ll find the place where you shine and there’s going to be NO Lex who? in your future, my friend.

  47. Cat Grant says:

    I’m reading this, and yeah, I hear ya. I honestly don’t know how all these other authors have time to do non-stop promo AND write, too.

    If I can only do one or the other, I choose to write.

  48. Cat Grant says:

    I’m reading this, and yeah, I hear ya. I honestly don’t know how all these other authors have time to do non-stop promo AND write, too.

    If I can only do one or the other, I choose to write.

  49. I’m exactly where you are, Lex, and have been for a while. More so with my young adult books than my romances, but honestly, when I release my 20-somethingth book and someone congratulates me on my “debut release”, I know I’m doing something wrong…

    I do have the luxury of being a full-time writer, so in theory I have time to do the promotion. My problem is not being completely sure HOW to do it, as well as not having the money to buy ads, give away tons of books and swag, etc.

    I like to think that I–and you, Lex, and anyone else who’s in this situation–am a good enough writer that my publishers will continue wanting my books. My sales have improved, a little, since I began, but they still aren’t great, so I’m probably being naive to think that well-written, enjoyable stories will prevail even if the sales aren’t there. But I’d still like to think it.

  50. I’m exactly where you are, Lex, and have been for a while. More so with my young adult books than my romances, but honestly, when I release my 20-somethingth book and someone congratulates me on my “debut release”, I know I’m doing something wrong…

    I do have the luxury of being a full-time writer, so in theory I have time to do the promotion. My problem is not being completely sure HOW to do it, as well as not having the money to buy ads, give away tons of books and swag, etc.

    I like to think that I–and you, Lex, and anyone else who’s in this situation–am a good enough writer that my publishers will continue wanting my books. My sales have improved, a little, since I began, but they still aren’t great, so I’m probably being naive to think that well-written, enjoyable stories will prevail even if the sales aren’t there. But I’d still like to think it.