When I listened to a lot of advice from other writers, I rapidly learned that most were myopic and vague. They only saw what worked for them specifically, and immediately recommended it to others.
"FB ads have brought me loads of readers,” “Twitter works so much better than Goodreads,” “these promotion sites give back the most downloads,” “you need to offer free things on your site,” “Book Bub is an amazing alternative dimension of great sales.” “WRITE BOOKS IN MY GENRE.” “Book Bub always rejects me, I think I’ll look elsewhere,” “I’m all about LibraryThing’s giveaways,” “newsletters, newsletters, newsletters. Great authors have strategies to utilize this POWERFUL tool, the newsletter, and you should too,” “I hate Amazon.” “I love Amazon.” “I published with a site other than Amazon.” “I’ve had great success with podcasts.” “AUDIOBOOKS.” “Keep up a courtesy blog every couple of months so people know you’re alive.” “Blog daily.” “INSTAGRAM.”
And in the midst of all buzz, I’ve found only one thing that worked for me—follow your heart.
In this deeply commercialized writing world, I found a lack of clarity about who the readers actually are. The goal is to be the same as some other author you view as successful. When the truth is that authors are individuals. They are thinking about what their readers are thinking about.
Finding your path is about finding your readers, who may or may not be on Instagram. Or Twitter. Or be interested in podcasts. Or audiobooks. Or book conventions. Maybe they never read blogs. Or maybe they love using a site in an unexpected way, like getting a feel for an author’s personality on Goodreads instead of using it for books. Whatever your readers are thinking about, that is what you should think about. There’s no use going to lots of FB groups if your readers hate them and would never hang out there. It’s pointless going wide on ebook sales if your readers only download from Kindle. Do your readers want paperbacks and hardbacks? If they don’t, don’t bother buying author copies that will lie around in your house. EVEN IF OTHER PEOPLE DO IT.
Follow your heart. What would you do? It’s what your readers do.
And there will be more updates.
I did a post on Victoria earlier this year, but it needs to be replaced because she's changed a lot. At the time "Victoria" was a separate story from "Alyce," but since the merge Victoria became a new heroine, a blend of both girls. Alyce was a quietly independent person who got stuck in a situation she inherited (and had no interest in) and Victoria was a wealthy and complacent duke's daughter who had great interest in situations, but didn't understand them. When the stories were rewritten, Victoria's age shot down, she took on some of Alyce's adventures, and the new person who emerged is a proof of just how different the finished result really is.
Victoria is now about 14, a timid teenager who looks up to her secretive big sister Bella and lives in a large family run by a blustering, but goodhearted father and almost invisible mother. She's pulled out of this reasonably peaceful existence by a sinister man who shows up around her sister and haunts the castle. But it turns out this man is actually looking out for Victoria. It's not clear what his motive is because Victoria is clueless. However, she follows his lead and eventually learns the king is planning a trap for their whole family, one by one, because of something old Victoria's never heard about.
Victoria lets the plot pull her along more than either of the two girls who blended to form her personality. She doesn't have as many opinions as they do. But because she doesn't express herself, we actually see more of the world around her. Sometimes just quietly letting things fall into place around you provides a better solution than engaging with a situation--and that's exactly what the new Victoria does.
And there will be more updates.
This blog serves as the newsletter for Sarah Scheele.com. Posts are delivered to your inbox every Saturday. To subscribe, fill out the form below.
I live surrounded by cultivated fields that rapidly give way to wild flowers, wild plants, and wild life. I get most of my ideas while drifting innocuously around my house and some of those ideas get into print.
Bellevere House has been featured on Ezvid Wiki video "10 Wonderfully Inventive Retellings That Interpret Classic Stories in a New Way." Click to see the video.