Thursday, June 4, 2015
Or maybe I just wrote a bad book. It happens to the best of us. More often to the worst of us.
I hope that's not the case here. But I have to look at my track record. The last book I wrote that had significant sales was Belonging, and that was a long way back. None of the books I've published since have set the world on fire, unless people are burning them.
New books are supposed to spur sales of previous books. According to theory, at this point my backlist sales should be picking up and providing a satisfying passive income. 'Tain't happening. The new books have been going belly-up while the old books just sit there.
Clearly I am doing something wrong.
I tried a blitz of publicity a while back. Sales stopped dead. I'd better develop some marketing skills, pronto.
While I'm at it, I'd also better develop much better writing skills. If I'm writing bad books, I need to stop that and start writing good books. I wish there was some magic storytelling software I could use to punch up my plots. I firmly believe the ability to tell an exciting story is more important than actually being able to write. Most past and current bestsellers support this theory. Look at John Grisham's early output and you'll see what I mean, after you've stopped turning the pages.
While I work on improving my craft, there's a quick and easy thing I can do to improve my chances. If I'm writing bad books, then my rep's already shot. Anybody spotting my name on the new-this-week lists will make a face and click elsewhere. Solution: use a pen name. The books won't be any better, but the readers will think it's someone else. I might pick up some first-time sales before readers wise up and move on.
Whoever I end up being this time around, I'd better be consistent. So far my romance output has jumped all over the place. I started with M/F, switched to M/M, wrote a couple M/M/F ménages, and took a break to write a YA novel with no sex. Mountain Lion King is M/F, with a single tame sex scene. The book before that, Jessalina's Pets, was a threeway with a couple steamy encounters, and side action between the two guys. All of this happened under a single byline. Any readers I may have started out with must be confused as hell by now.
So I'm going to try an experiment. My current WIP will be marketed to a different publisher, under a different name. If it does well, I'll follow up with more of the same. Fortunately I've got enough ideas in this particular niche to keep things going for a while. Maybe I can build a brand along with a readership.
If this doesn't work, I'll switch genres again, along with the byline. I haven't made my mark on horror or mystery yet.
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I checked under the sink again this morning. No signs of mouse habitation. So far the only dead body I've found was the one under the stove. Earlier in the week I finally gathered my courage and looked under the couch. All clear. Ditto for under the bed, the bureau and the chair in the living room. When the maintenance guy came to clean my furnace, I warned him what to expect. He reported finding no dead mice. There could be rotting corpses behind the furnace, but neither of us was going to move the thing to check. I have no sense of smell, so I'm covered. Let the next owner worry about it.
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Finally, a panic moment. Last week, one of the two bulbs in my bedroom ceiling light burned out. These are those new halogen lights, which supposedly last longer and use less energy while costing a lot more money. I can't tell whether they last any longer or not. I do know the one burned out while I was sitting in bed. Last night the other one—well, it didn't exactly burn out. It exploded. I was walking right under it at the time. There was a CRACK and the light went out, leaving light bulb shrapnel all over the rug. In my entire life, I have never had a bulb explode, though it happens all the time on Supernatural. Maybe I'm a demon. It could explain my lack of sales if I really am writing bad books.
So this morning I changed the bulb. It was manufactured in China. Ah, that explains it. China's the country that puts lead in everything, including children's toys and reusable grocery bags. China is trying to kill us. Well, you missed me last night, nyah nyah nyah. I'm going to retaliate by writing a truly horrible book that Chinese hackers will pirate. Then it won't sell and they'll all go out of business and starve. Vengeance is mine.