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Monday, August 26, 2013

Is It Time to Finally Quit this Crazy Business?

Hello, friends and Fire Enthusiasts. We’re going to get real today – not that I lie, cheat or steal here. I just mean that I thought I would spend this time talking about my reality, and perhaps yours, too.
I’ve sold a few books, but that’s really all. Not too many. The 30 total reviews or so I have received for my three novels have been pretty good. I certainly can’t be anything but pleased with those. Even the one or two bad reviews are helpful in the grant scheme of things. I read those and then quickly moved on, refusing to dwell on the negative.
So why am I telling you all of this? Well, it’s because I wonder who else is struggling in the same waters as me?
For the most part I try and put on a positive display. I don’t lie and make up glorious numbers or pretend to be a best seller when I am clearly not. I do think it’s important to appear to be an “I’ve got it all together” -looking author. I think readers need to know that you’re not quitting tomorrow. On the other hand, I want to be a help to others. If I step out and admit that things are moving at a snail’s pace, perhaps it helps someone else who is on the verge of giving up.
I really think it is more important for me to get someone to back away from the proverbial ledge than it is to continue this front.
Earlier I mentioned something about water. You see, I know I’m not a bad writer. Too many have said wonderful things about my work for that to be true. The trouble is – and I really believe this – there is a sea of books out there. Ultimately, it may prove to be too much competition for many of us. I don’t think it’s only me. Are we telling our stories because we want to get rich? Or are we doing it because we simply have stories to tell and it would be a shame not to?
For my third book, I moved away from horror and penned a paranormal with a strong dose of romance. I was (and am) very excited about it. I once again paid for the professional edit job, and lucked out by getting a wonderful friend, author and artist to design a beautiful cover. I started dropping the teasers well in advance. I built buzz for a cover reveal, followed by the event; I literally did everything right in the promotion of it. I’m sure there was more, but I put all my time, efforts and everything I’d learned into it.
Very little happened. *crickets play*
Perhaps we really do need to withhold judgment until book ten. I don’t know. Seemingly every day we read about someone hitting it big with a first effort. Perhaps it really is not in the cards for me. Or you. Only God knows.
I did not pen this to be a rant. Nor did I hope to eclipse some record amount of comments, hoping to have so many people run to my aid for fear of me finally stepping over that ledge.
Let me just thank you well in advance now. I’m fine, and I appreciate the well-wishes. I’m not quitting. I have too many stories to tell…and I hope those of you who are in that same boat as I have stories to tell as well. It’s a tough business. However, it still is a very exciting time to be alive and find ourselves equipped with the gift of storytelling. For better or worse, I’ve published three novels that a handful of people seem to have enjoyed. You’ve written some things that people have enjoyed, too, right? If nothing else, we need to remember that it really is tough for everyone, and that we are not alone in that boat. Let’s take an evening to hold hands, pass the bottle around, sing some songs and celebrate our gift!
And then let’s get back to work.
Let’s not quit. Regret is a terrible thing. We’ll stop when the fingers no longer work well enough to hit these keyboard keys, or perhaps when they pull the damned plug.
I had hoped to spend the rest of the year promoting/networking. Now it appears I’m shutting that down to simply begin the next project. If you don’t hear from me it’s because I’m in the writers’ cave, using my two hours a day to write instead of network - thanks to my 11 hour day job.
I’ll be back. I promise.
I hope you will be as well.

We’ll talk soon.     


  1. Glad to hear you're not quitting. Keep up the hard work, James!

  2. That's just how it is. You write and eventually the audience will find you. Either way you've done something you've always wanted to do. Still have your book on my list to read!

  3. Hi Jimmy
    Good of you to be so honest. You're right, sometimes it does seem as though it's all going well for other writers but the reality is different.
    Keep on writing at your own pace and I'll pop over the pond to check that you cave dwellers come out for air now and again.
    *Hugs and waves*
    Teresa x

  4. Well, you're one novel ahead of me, but otherwise I could have written this post. I've certainly written this same lament in emails to writer friends.

    I've quit writing a dozen times in the last two years.

    I've had the "crickets" experience.

    I've questioned my writing ability. In fact, right now, I'm wondering if I know anything at all about structure ... and since I'm questioning that maybe I shouldn't even try to write the third novel I'd started.

    Yes, some authors have been discovered with their first published novel. And some have been discovered on their tenth. We just don't know when it might happen to us.

    And because we don't know the future, that makes it hard to let go of that dream, doesn't it, Jimmy?

    So, we write.

  5. I wish my words from my mouth/FB shares were more influential to all my peers...I loved how it brought me in the beginning to Kingsburg (maybe it is because I have lived there) and I just felt as I was a part of the story as I continued on to the adventure of the paranormal. I think because I felt a part of it is why it had been literally an easy read,

  6. I'm sorry sales aren't going well, but I've heard from many authors not to expect much until your third, or maybe your fifth book is out there. It's hard to imagine, but think about your own reading habits. I know I'm guilty of that.

    So that's what I'm doing. Writing, writing, writing. I'm hoping that's the kind of promotion I need to sell books--putting out more books.

  7. What a great person you are, Jimmy to go out there and say what's on your mind/what's happening with things!

    No. You are not alone. I got my last royalty check from my publisher for good back in July. Now, I'm all on my own. Things are really slow out there. People put your book on the TBR list, and who knows when they will get time or $ to buy it.

    Heck, I worked on a blog today that took me 3 hours to post and I made an error and could not change anything because my brousers out of date and no mater how many times I try, I can't up-date it. I feel out of date, myself.

    But you know what? I can't quit. I wanted to, finding out I had to go back and read/edit through a book of mine that a friend told me had errors in it and really needed to be worked on. So, I had to drop everything and go and do that. >.< So, we're all on this learning curve, having to endure the slings and arrows.
    I know you're a fantastic writer, I've seen that here. We're only one person in the water, as you put it, wearing various hats and trying to get it right. We'll get through this.

    Good luck with your next work, buddy!

  8. Jimmy, I'm glad you aren't deciding to quit. One thing I've begun to realize about this business is that one has to have thick skin and intestinal fortitude or it becomes too easy to give up on your dreams. Hang in there. My fingers are crossed that things get better.

  9. There are a lot of books out there, but there are still plenty of readers. Just have to find them. Since your third book was a little different, maybe you just didn't reach the right audience?
    Just keep writing and connecting with potential readers. You just never know when one of your books might take off. And then they all do better.
    And if you need to connect with more authors for help, I invite you to join the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Bet several authors would have some great suggestions for you. Plus encouragement!

  10. The internet makes it appear that there are more authors hitting mega sales than there actually are.

    The best advice I ever got came from one of my editors. She said the most valuable thing I can do for my career is build a backlist. And by backlist, I mean 10+ books as a start.

    So go back to your writing cave and write the next book. That backlist isn't going to build itself. :)

    Keep the faith.

  11. Great post. Sometimes it just helps to get your thoughts on something out there. For the most part, I think we're all in the same boat with sales and visibility. One friend of mine pointed towards amazon flooding the market with free books and tweaking their system for the hundreth time.

    I did notice no one seemed to sell for a while as my ranking barely changed whether I sold something or not. It appears not the logjam is starting to move again, so there may be something to what he said. Who knows for sure?

    I'm too stubborn to quit and I have plenty more stories in me so here's to locking ourselves in the writing cave and making the best of things. Best of luck to everyone. I'm sure things will begin to turn for the better in time. :)

  12. I have yet to publish a first novel. But I haven't quit, and if it takes me a few more years, so be it. I'm lucky to have a job which, while mentally and physically exhausting, is also rewarding. But it has to come first. As long as you have the drive to write, to create, to share, then keep at it. Everyone dreams of hitting it big with a bestseller, but I believe that for a writer the very act of writing nourishes the soul. And you've touched a whole lot of people with your kind and gentle spirit. :-)

  13. I hear ya and I feel ya and I am sending you hugs... because I know how it is! He has a time and a purpose for it and He also knows who our work is going to touch (and I think sometimes that comes into play in a big way!!). Sometimes our plan is for something to happen quickly, when His is such an overall, perfect one, we can't even begin to see the beginning of it. Keep doing what you love, friend! *****hugs*****

  14. I know. It's so hard! But I just can't help but be an optimist and believe that with perseverance everything happens.

  15. Keep telling your stories, Jimmy. It's tough to stand out from the pack, especially in the blogosphere where everybody seems to be a writer. But there are millions of readers out there; we just have to find a better way of getting our work to them directly.


Thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate you taking the time. I'll get back to you here or on one of the other social networks. It's not like we're not on all of them, right? ;) Also, if you're here to give me an award - bless you. However, your friendship and visits are more than enough. Thanks and blessings.