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.
Stories aren’t static. They meet the needs of readers. I used to think a story (Little Women, for instance) was set in stone. It was what it was, with an unchanging cast of characters. But actually, stories are fluid, even old classics—let alone something new. As people come and go, losing or gaining interest in areas of the book, it changes. It metamorphoses. Suddenly bland characters are striking, “flawed” characters are seen as just evil, minor characters turn out to be the most loved of all, and good characters seem to have questionable morals. All because new people are reading the story now and they’re shedding some light on situations that might not have been noticed at first.
Oftentimes, they are seeing something that was always there—it was just the original audience didn’t quite see if a character was hiding something or if another character had potential. But as time goes on, people become more and more observant and can come up with some surprising things.
Anyway, here is a list of my books as they currently stand in popularity on the website. Since it’s been so much time after writing most of them, I’ve certainly seen some things I didn’t notice at first. Reader interaction on the website has helped me immensely as well.
This list isn’t a breakdown of the value of each book—only of the website visitor population. And there will be more updates.
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.