Thursday, June 4, 2015


A couple of updates today—some good, some not so good. Let's get the negative news out of the way first. Sales of The Mountain Lion King haven't exactly been record-breaking. There could be several reasons for this. I didn't do any promotion. I don't have a following on social media. I don't even bother with social media. Times like this are when my antisocial tendencies come back and bite me in the butt. The romance market, and the ebook market in general, is glutted beyond belief. Anyone with Word and the Smashwords style guide can format and upload a book, and thousands of people are doing so. This is the sea I tossed my novel into. I shouldn't be surprised that after a month it's already sunk out of sight.

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.

# # #

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.

# # #

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.

1 comment:

Savanna Kougar said...

Pat, you're a good writer!!! That's ***not*** the problem. The market is way over-saturated at this point, and disposable income, so to speak, keeps going down, down, down. That means many readers stick to their tried and true authors. Plus, you're right, it's more the story than good writing, for many readers... this is partly because many are limited in their reading skills, anyway. They didn't learn what we learned... many can't sound out words, and their overall comprehension is poor... all this leads to books written for third grade readers now.

In my opinion, that's pathetic. But it doesn't matter what my opinion is, it's the facts of the situation. Which is one reason I have NO high expectations for my books, not anymore. You actually have to have a thinking, reasoning brain to understand the whole of the story. A few readers who have contacted me appreciate that... but they are sinking fast into the minority.

In fact, many romance readers just want a quick, mindless, and to them, entertaining read.. or a TWITTER romance, but expanded a bit. Nothing wrong with that, of course, given we all need down time. However, it's at epidemic proportions, imo.

Yes, there are highly intelligent, not dumbed down readers, who would appreciate your cleverly written, highly entertaining books... but they are becoming a niche market more and more.

And you do have to do some promo just to get the book before the readers. Likely they aren't going to find you, otherwise.

The lack of sex scenes could be part of the problem. However, there are readers who enjoy that type of book. And, imo, you need to market the book as sensual romance. I think that's the right category.

As far as trying a new market under a new name, GO FOR IT! I wish I had the time and energy to do that with some of my WIPS.