I'm a success because I set out to write a book and publish it. And I did.
I'm a success because after that book came out, I was begged for more from readers.
I'm a success because people have messaged me to tell me how much they liked my books & some have said how my book impacted their life.
I may not have made a best seller's list, or be making enough money so my husband stops calling my writing a hobby, but (as the above part said) my books have affected people. My books have changed the way people think about themselves and their relationships, or about other people (speaking about my MM books here and that I've been told by some readers that they never really saw gay men as having the same kind of love that straight couples do, but they do now! *joy!*)
Sure, my writing could use stronger editing and maybe more digging in, but I'm learning. My degree isn't in English or Creative Writing. I have a degree in Psychology. I think I've done pretty good so far. (or is it "well"? I've done pretty well so far. *shrug*)
I am a success.
Furthermore, even my most beloved authors receive really harsh reviews. I just remind myself that not every book is for every person. Diversity is the spice of life. And that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
How does an author stand out anymore?
This is the growing challenge among authors these days, both traditionally published and Indie Authors like myself.
It seems that every week there 20 new authors. And 50-100 new books hit the market every day!
How does a reader know which books to choose?
Some authors release their books for $0.99 or even for Free. While this might gain the author downloads, personally speaking those are the books that seem to sink to the bottom of my TBR. I gravitate toward the books I've invested in. The books I have heard the most buzz about. The books by authors I have already read and maybe have met.
Furthermore, this practice breaks my heart. Why? That author is only earning $0.34 per sale. AND s/he has to pay her income taxes out of that. Not to mention the hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars that have gone into putting that book together. (Cover art, editing, formatting, advertising, takeovers with giveaways! See the next section.). AND that's not even touching the HOURS AND HOURS it takes to write the book (Books usually take me about 2 full months to write. Let's round that to 60 days... and lets say that i "only" write for 6 hours. Truthfully I write closer to 8 hours a day, or 10 on some days. But at 6 hours a day that's 360 hours. That means you as a reader are dropping that $0.99 essentially paying the author $0.000094 an hour to write. Again, that's BEFORE taxes have to be paid. How much are YOU paid for your job?)
Some authors do Takeovers. I certainly do - but seems fewer and fewer readers go to the Takeovers, and those that do are just in it for the free stuff (specifically the Amazon Gift Cards because then they can buy anything they want...I've only once been told that someone used their gift card to buy my book. One person won the GC and actually posted something to the effect of, "Yeah! Now I can buy the new release from <Insert NYT Best Selling Author here.>" I wish that winner had simply said, "Thank you.")
I pay for advertising on Facebook ($10-$20 per day). I've done ads via BookBub (literally HUNDREDS of dollars for ONE ad.). ENT (eReader News Today) is also hundreds of dollars. Book Gorilla, BookScream... There's no end to marketing groups who will take your money to send your book into people's email inboxes.
But it still doesn't make an author stand out.
Reviews are super important.
You can help an author by reviewing.
You can help an author by telling your friends about the books you read that you enjoyed.
You can help by following that author on Social Media (Not just liking their page, but visiting that page & checking out the posts. Facebook will help you if you click on FOLLOWING and adjust to See First. And you can do this for ALL of your favorite Authors - then your newsfeed will have ALL of those posts first - THEN the latest news from Aunt Edna about her toe fungus.
What are things YOU do to support Authors? I'd love to hear from you!
About Isabelle Peterson
Contemporary Women's author.