Turmoiling in Obscurity: “When is enough enough?”

canstockphoto18799595Dear JC,

Just curious, but do you ever think you’re really not that good and should probably just quit? I spend a year of my life writing a book, rewriting it, getting it edited, then publishing. Just so nothing happens. I feel like I’m just plugging away in a vacuum and watching a sale pop up every few weeks. And don’t even get me started on the rentals and returns. Urrrgggghhhhh!

But I keep on believing in myself and all that other BS. Just wondering when enough is enough?

Sincerely,
Turmoiling in Obscurity

Dear Turmoil,

I’m not sending any platitudes your way. I promise. Besides, it sounds like you’ve heard them all. But you’ve got to ask yourself: Why are you writing?

If it’s to make millions of dollars, well, there’s easier ways to do it. Is it for recognition? We all want that. We all want to write the novel that enters the all-time top-selling books list with a total worldwide sale of 100 million copies. That’s not going to happen overnight. Plus, it sounds like you’ve written one book. If so, the odds are stacked against that becoming a runaway best seller. I hear most people start finding traction for their sales with their fourth or fifth book.

But since you’re down in the dumps, I’m going to list a few things you can do to lift your spirits.

Become a student and improve. You mention returns and a self doubt that “you’re really not that good.” That makes me wonder if there’s opportunity to improve your writing skills. Read books about writing in your genre, story structure and building characters. You don’t know what you don’t know, right? So learn. One litmus test for improvement is to pull out an old manuscript from a year (or more) ago. Re-read it. If you don’t see flaws and areas that need rewriting, you aren’t improving. And, that may be affecting your sales.

Also become a student of marketing. Amazon has over 2,500 books available about marketing books. Get some and follow the tips. If one book doesn’t work, get another. That will keep you motivated.

If you’re wanting immediate feedback that will increase your Amazon and GoodReads reviews, then look into some blog tours. Over the course of a few weeks, you’ll get some reviews, conduct some interviews and spur a few sales. It’s not bringing in the big bucks, but it is nurturing, motivational soup to sip while you write your next book.

The point is, enough is never enough. Once you’ve published your first book, you’ve got to focus on writing the next one. When that’s done, start the next one. Something will happen. I don’t necessarily know what. But something will happen. Like the old adage says, Write. Publish. Repeat.

Good luck and keep writing,
JC

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Got a question for me? Hit the contact button at the top and send me an email. Or do you disagree with my advice? Let me know in the comments. How would you respond to Turmoiling in Obscurity’s problem?

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