As Charles Dickens writes in A Tale of Two Cities: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." The same could be said for being an indie author nowadays, living in an exciting time where we're free to write and publish our own stories without having to rely on the arbitrary approval of traditional publishers. But it also means we're responsible for all our own marketing and publicity, dealing with reader expectations, good and bad reviews and piracy.
Then, there's the issue of free books.
Don't readers understand that asking authors to give away our books is destroying our livelihoods? I wonder if they really care? Between the freeloaders and the pirate sites downloading our books illegally, there's not much chance of earning a crust in this job. But then, since most people see writing as a hobby, I guess they reckon we don't need to be paid.
Ah, the wonderful world of readers' illusions.
Unless this culture of entitlement changes, I can see more and more writers quitting the business. Why put all that time, effort and money into writing, editing, polishing and marketing a book only for it to be either stolen or ignored by the general reading public until they can grab it for free?
In the four years I've been published, my sales have bottomed out. By now, with 4 books out, I should be selling 4-8 books/day. Instead, I'm lucky to get 1-2 sales/day.
And it's not as if my books are invisible.
According to the experts, I'm doing all the right things - offering my short story (Laura's Locket) for FREE, and Book One (BloodGifted) for only 99c; an active social media presence; a fantastic number of genuine followers on twitter (even a bunch of Russian and Asian hookers, bless their little pearly G-strings. Guess they like reading paranormal romance in their spare time!); a website with a blog, and I'm even on Instagram posting pretty pics that take me hours to create or locate in hope somebody might like it enough to check out my profile - yet the results are enough to turn even a unicorn's rainbow poop brown.
And paid marketing sites aren't as effective as they used to be.
This has never happened before. My cover and blurb are just the same, so I can't blame the lack of sales on that.
Nope, the book world is changing.
With so many free books saturating the market, it's freeloader heaven. Why pay? And that pricey $3.99 book readers are dying to get their hands on? Well, they can simply download it from a myriad pirate sites while sipping their $5 Starbucks coffee.
And they say it's the best time to be a writer.
I suppose that depends on your point of view.
If you haven't yet read my Dantonville Legacy Series, and would like to support an indie author, here's your chance 😊
Get BloodGifted on Amazon