When Sales don’t meet Expectations


It’s a slow one here. Probably going to need at least 2 cups of coffee today. Or a 3 hour nap. Possibly both. Colds tend to mess with sleep schedules. Ugh.

As authors, we have to balance reality with expectations every single day. We all want to be making a living off of our writing. Want to see the royalty checks that rival Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. Be able to hire someone else to do marketing, clean the bathrooms, set up book tours, or laundry.

The truth is that, most months, this isn’t going to happen. Heck, for most authors this will never happen. There could be a lot of reasons why. Everything from we wrote a story that doesn’t resonate with the majority of readers to we didn’t bother to listen to our editors and put out a book that’s full of errors and poorly written.

When you get those months where you feel like you’re spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere, it’s time to evaluate why you’re writing to begin with. Is it because you love to write? Can’t imagine a time where not writing is an option? Or did you just want, expect, a big payoff?

Writing should, in my opinion, never be about the money you might earn. Because that’s the biggest question mark in the business. With self publishing, anyone can have a book up for sale. That doesn’t mean they should. But to expect to retire to the Bahamas two months after your book goes up for sale? Nah.

Most of us write because we can’t not write. We love crafting a story, developing characters, put them in interesting situations. If we hit it big, can make a living off our words, that’s great! But few of us do that. We work 2 or 3 jobs to pay the bills. We choose between being a parent and marketing our books. Parenting, 9 days out of 10, wins.

Instead of being depressed when a sales drought hits, we need to buck up. Take a look at what we’re doing. Figure out what worked in the past, how it changed over time. Remind ourselves it’s not really about the paycheck. But the process of writing.


3 thoughts on “When Sales don’t meet Expectations

  1. Gaby, there’s a number of authors out there who write because they think they’ll become millionaires overnight. It won’t happen, but they believe it will. It’s not about the money for me, either. I get a lot of other kinds of payment from having my books out in the world. A sense of accomplishment, a ‘in your face’ to those who thought I’d never do anything even close to that, and knowing my daughters are proud of what I have accomplished. But I know of authors who will complain within months of their book going up for sale that they ‘know’ more people have bought the book so they should be making thousands. It simply doesn’t work that way.

  2. Absolutely right, Kate! It has never been about the money, and in my case, that’s a good thing, because if it was, I’d be doing something else. I’ve asked myself at least 100 times over the years whether I really want to write and the answer always comes back a resounding YES! Like you said, I simply must write. It’s in the blood.

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