Friday, April 22, 2011

Reserve one room at the mental institution, please

Tarot fool E Books are the way for mid-list authors to become millionaires.  That's what I keep hearing.

So what am I doing wrong?

Wednesday Lee Goldberg (who I have mega admiration for) said:  "any midlist author who signs another pissant three-book contract with a NY publisher (or any publisher) should check themselves into a mental institution right away."

Well, I just did sign such a contract--and for a nice chunk of change, too.  Not nearly as much as Barry Eisler just turned down.  (Did you hear, he turned down $500,000.  YES, all those zeroes are correct.)  The books I'm contracted for won't be available until 2013, 2014, and 2015.  By then maybe I will have looked like a fool for signing, but I don't think so.  Will the publishing world be drastically different in three years?  There's a good possibility it will.

Lee also said:  "It's actually possible for an author nobody heard of to become a millionaire within just a matter of months. I'm not exaggerating. Everyone talks about Amanda Hocking...but perhaps the most astonishing success story of all is John Locke. (*snip*) Locke earned $126,000 on 369,000 sales on Amazon in March alone. That's a huge uptick from the 75,000 he sold in January and the 1300 he sold in November.  John Locke went from selling 1300 books to 369,000 in four months. Holy. Shit."

(You can find the whole blog post here.)

Lee has done very well with Kindle.  He has a huge backlist and, despite a busy career as a TV and movie producer, he's also a prolific author.

Meanwhile, I have put up 7 short stories and 4 novels and I'm not seeing anything like the kinds of sales Lee is seeing.  : (

Despite great reviews, and a very small but enthusiastic audience, my Jeff Resnick books have not taken off.  Instead of hundreds of thousands of sales a month (per title) I'm not even seeing hundreds of sales per book.

Sour-Grapes Sour grapes?

Yes.  Not so much for me, but for my series.  If I hadn't believed in my characters, I wouldn't have written four books and (so-far) two short stories about them.

I've received reviews from Library Journal and Booklist, and have rave reviews from readers on Amazon and Barnes&

I believed I could do better when it came to finding readers than my former (small) publisher, and so I followed in Lee's footprints and put them up on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords (for distribution to other e sellers). So far, success has eluded those books.

(Man, those grapes are really SOUR!)

In the last few weeks I've:
  • sent out over 2000 postcards to readers and librarians
  • sent an e newsletter to over 4500 readers (although only 1675 opened it)
  • offered the first book in the series for 99¢ in hopes that it would find new readers (so far it has, but not all that many), and encourage people to go looking for the other three books.
I'm at my wits end trying to figure out how this series can find a new audience.

Any ideas?