Saturday, September 21, 2013

Gee Willikers, I'm Overloaded

So my plans for a Sunday post seems to be something of a pipe dream, but here I am again. One of the most tried and true bits of advice any writer will say to you is that you need to keep writing and working this social media thing. Which I agree with. The more you write, even in places like this, keeps your name fresh. And with a zillion people writing and liking and also working the social media, you need to keep a "leg" in, so to speak. I can't even seem to manage a baby toe these days. Life is crazy busy. I'm editing up a storm. A STORM. I'm trying to fit in some writing, which isn't being very successful, by the way. And also trying to keep my name fresh. I guess it would help if I didn't have one of the most generic last names ever. Sigh.

What authors don't tell you is that social media takes gobs of time if you do it right. Time. Lots of it. Time that could be spent writing. You know, the stuff that actually constitutes and validates what you do. This is what I suspect is the true tragedy of the collapse of the legacy publishing system. Not that I didn't have to hoof it to conferences, etc., book stores, etc. I did, but their pipeline to bookstores and media was and is invaluable and where the real sales happen. Or used to. I don't know where real sales are these days.

Sure, I enjoyed the conferences for the sense of community and meeting up with fellows writers. All that jazz. That mostly came to a halt when I attended a Bouchercon, was on a panel with some great writers, and we had a fantastic turnout. The room was large and it was packed. I entered the book signing room with a confident spring in my step, absolutely convinced  I'd waltz off with fifteen sales. At least! I had none. Big zero. After sitting at my table and not having one person walk up to me during the course of thirty minutes, I slunk off to my hotel room to have a big cry. Yes, authors cry. I barely managed to get it together to get to my room without bawling my eyes out in the elevator. What went wrong? All those people who came up to me after the panel who loved my presentation? Why weren't they buying my book? Why????

Well, it turns out they were. They were buying it off of amazon. My amazon stats were great for two days. And I realized that I wasn't hardback material. I was an amazon-worthy author. But even those sales were hard to justify in terms of the cost of attending a conference all the way across the country when you factor in airfare, con fees, and the hotel. That wasn't the final nail in my mystery conference attending coffin but it was the first nail. The second nail happened the following year.

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