Sunday Scribbles: Stop being a freaking whiner - Melissa Schroeder

Sunday Scribbles: Stop being a freaking whiner

I have to get something off my chest that has been bothering me for awhile. After a phone call a few mornings ago, it sealed the deal. If you are sensitive, or think that everything that is written on the Internet is about you, I  suggest that you leave the blog. I don’t want emails from you about how you think I hurt your feelings.

For several months now, people seem to think they need to contact me. See, I admitted that I was earning over 6 figures this past year, and I figure at the rate I am going, it will not be a problem this year. It did not happen overnight. I had my first release July 27, 2004. That’s right. I am coming up on 8 years of being published. I have continuously published since that date. It might not seem like a big deal, but I remember being told that this author or that author was going to be the next big thing. Many of them are no longer published.

  I started with very small publishers, and I was one of the first authors Loose Id signed. I didn’t have ads taken out for me except on rare occasions. And, even though Harmless sold 18,000 downloads in May of 2011 and A Little Harmless Sex was a top 100 Nook Book in 2010, other than a free book, I have had no other support for that either. I am not saying this to say my publishers were cheap or wrong, just stating facts. I have had over 30 novels, novellas, and short stories released with 8 publishers, and I have had 3-4 RT ads taken out by publishers  and no web ads that I know of.

I wanted to give you a little background so that you can understand why I am pissed. Apparently, people think you can do this overnight. That you can put a book out, do no promo, expect a personal assistant to promote you (and IMHO that is NOT what a PA is for) and make the kind of money I do. I set up marketing campaigns for every one of my releases. From the small to the big. I have an active Twitter account, facebook fan page, Harmless Addict group, and even have a little Rough n Ready page. I have recently become a better blogger. Does my PA Brandy Walker help me with this? Yes. She organizes me against my will, make sure I remember appearances, and handles correspondence, schedules, promo and mailings. But she DOES NOT promote for me. I do that. Her organization helps me, but I come up with the marketing plans. Does Brandy suggest things? Yes, and I get a reader’s point of view from her. She is brilliant with contests and making lists, lol.

I promote. A lot. I see my time in social media as fun, but it is also work at times. You cannot just put out a book and expect it to sell. I am sure there are people who do it, but 99.99 % of the people do not. And if you think this has to do with self-publishing, it does not. Publishers are tightening their budgets, especially those in NY, and some of them spend their money on things that they think are good for the company but a lot of times don’t help you. Your publisher is not your mommy and it is definitely not your BFF. Many times, they will not promote a best selling series. (in case you missed it, read the above mentioned Harmless book comment) Hiring someone to run around and say your book is THE BEST BOOK EVER, is not going to sell books. In fact, it might lose you some readers. It was one of the reasons when Brandy started being my PA that she stopped writing reviews of my books. We thought it was unethical. And divorcing yourself from readers, crawling into your writing cave because you just can’t handle it isn’t acceptable. If you are that fragile, leave. Stop writing. This is not a business for people who are too delicate to promote themselves. Also, get this. I don’t like to promote. I would much rather be reading or spending time with my family. I am sure everyone has a part of their job they would like to avoid. Still, I do it. It is part of the business that isn’t always fun, but you can make it that way. Or try. This is the part where I tell you that if you don’t like it, suck it up. Do it.

This is going to seem harsh, and mean, and well I am the biggest bitch out there. But this is your career. In what other career would you tell people you just couldn’t handle part of it, and expect someone else to do it? And then, expect to make 6 figures. I am sure people do it. I have noticed some bigger authors doing it. They are just too busy to make time for their readers. And while they will probably keep selling books, they probably not go much further.

You are the face of your business. YOU. Not your husband, your kids, your PA or your mommy. Your readers can chat your book up, but they are not YOU and cannot promote the book completely (and you should not expect them to). Writing a good book and have regular releases is super important. But with the competition heating up, and you have to connect with readers. Putting out a book then coming to me and complaining about sales is not going to get you sympathy. Promote your book, know your audience. Stop the fucking pity party you have decided to hold for yourself. Nut up or shut up. Show readers some respect. It isn’t their job to go find you. Talk to them. They are people who LOVE what you do. Giving them a little time and consideration isn’t too hard. When someone tells me that they cannot promote, it makes them feel icky, it makes me think they assume they are too busy to talk to readers. If you have no respect for your readers, they will know it.

And for the love of GOD, stop emailing me. At first I didn’t mind, but I am getting annoyed with the emails and messages that tell me they don’t understand why I do so well. Because I  WORK HARD.  Discounting all the years I have been published and worked with small publishers with little budgets to build a name is just fucking rude. And in case you were wondering, NO I am not going to teach a class on self promo. I tried that once and an author attended and then stole all the info and presented it at RWA Nationals without my permission. I learned the business without much help. A few people helped me here and there, but for the most part, I learned how to promote, market and speak to readers. I worked hard at it so please quit discounting all the work I did and expect it to happen for you with one release. It can happen for you, but it isn’t easy and don’t expect handouts. Stop the whining and the bitching. It doesn’t reflect on you and this blog is a warning. I am NOT going to deal with it anymore. I will tell you exactly what I think.

Get your rear in gear and promote your books.
(NOTE: if you do not care about sales or making a living from your writing, this blog is not for you)


Categories: Self Publishing