I’m going to be rather blunt today. It’s a day for it.
There’s more than 1 puzzle piece you have to look at to be a successful author. Here’s a short list.
- Print books
You can’t obsess over just one part of that and put all your hopes and dreams on it. Telling yourself that, if you just get your book on the shelf at B&N, you’ll be found by readers is lying to yourself. Because you’re going to make more money off of ebook sales. And B&N won’t host you just because you want them to.
I spend 6 hours in a B&N every month, trying to help them sell my books. I got lucky. My local store was open to bringing in my books, even though they’re POD. Most stores won’t touch POD books. I’m not getting paid to be there. I got my royalties from the books when they ordered them initially. I get no bonuses. I’m there because I feel an obligation to help the store that took a chance on me. If I sell enough books, they’ll order more and then I get to see more royalties. That’s how it works.
Each author defines success differently. Some are fine with the knowledge of knowing they have one title up for sale. It doesn’t sell. If they have a publisher, they’ll end up being dropped at some point simply because they aren’t out there trying to market their book. Some expect to be on the NYT best seller list with their first title, and get pulled up short when reality doesn’t meet that expectation. Still others won’t be happy until they see their book on the shelf at B&N.
There are no shortcuts for new authors. You have to put in the work, and deal with disappointment. You will be told no a lot. By publishers, agents, and bookstores. Some things are simply impossible. Having your books be part of a print run when the publisher only does POD books is one of those impossibilities. Expecting original art when your publisher tells you they don’t do that is being totally unrealistic.
New authors are not in a position to make demands. Stop thinking your book, no matter how good it is, is going to propel you to fame and fortune within 2 months of release. Get ready to do the work – all of it – and don’t let yourself buy into the falsehood that there’s a magic bullet. Because there isn’t one. If there was, I wouldn’t be driving a 12 year old minivan. LOL