Author Topic: Where'd everybody go?  (Read 1405 times)

Splunge

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #100 on: December 12, 2019, 12:10:59 AM »
I haven't been posting much because I think I'm just burnt out on the whole writer forum stuff. I've been all over internet message boards for writers for over a decade, and I'm tired y'all. I no longer have anything to contribute. Plus, my focus is less on publishing and more on other endeavors that still involve writing. I've been a writer my whole life and can't see myself quitting that, but this publishing bs, especially trying to figure out algos, has me  :shrug Oddly enough, I'm selling more wide than I am on Zon right now. Strange things happen when you aren't looking, I guess.
 

notthatamanda

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #101 on: December 12, 2019, 12:42:02 AM »
I'm curious as to what other endeavors you are up to, if you are willing to divulge.
 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #102 on: December 12, 2019, 01:31:20 AM »
I'm speculating, but I suspect the first people to use KDP were writing-in-the-bones types. No one knew if it'd pay but that wasn't their primary purpose in getting their books out.

I wasn't in the first wave, or the second, but getting the books out of my head was my motivation for writing. It was that or go insane. Mind you, I'm not sure if anyone could tell the difference.

It was never about the money. Even though when I started, it was already proved there was money to be made. But I wasn't even looking at that, just concentrating on getting the stuff out of my head.

I tend to think people starting writing for the money have the wrong motivation. But that's just me.
I was also someone who felt the irresistible need to write.

That said, it didn't take me long to start checking the sales stats every half hour. Part of the problem is that I think most natural storytellers want to have an audience to tell their stories to. An author might be breaking even or perhaps taking an affordable loss, but if the audience size was significant, that author might still be happy. I know I would be. The problem is that it's hard to have a significant audience size without selling pretty well. That makes it harder sometimes to tell the difference between someone who is in it for love and someone who is in it for money.

I don't actually have a problem with people whose primary motivation is financial. To use an analogy from my teaching days, some students loved learning while others just wanted to get high grades, get into a good college, then a good career, and make tons of money. Both groups worked hard and produced quality work. In other words, the motivation made little difference in the end product. I do become concerned when people try to profit with the shoddiest product the market will bear, perhaps by unethical means. That's when the question of motivation becomes more important.


Tickling the imagination one book at a time
Bill Hiatt | fiction website | education website | Facebook author page | Twitter
 
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Splunge

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #103 on: December 12, 2019, 02:54:35 AM »
I'm curious as to what other endeavors you are up to, if you are willing to divulge.

Focusing on audio, podcasting.
 

notthatamanda

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #104 on: December 12, 2019, 03:07:00 AM »
Oh do you do your own audio? Cool. I wish I could do that but I sound like a whiny four year old on tape.
 

Splunge

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #105 on: December 12, 2019, 03:18:43 AM »
Oh do you do your own audio? Cool. I wish I could do that but I sound like a whiny four year old on tape.

Yeah. Plus, I'm a trained actor so that helps. A lot. You probably don't sound as bad as you think. Everyone has to adjust to the sound of their own voice.

 :banana-riding-llama-smiley-em <---love this guy.
 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #106 on: December 12, 2019, 03:38:01 AM »
Oh do you do your own audio? Cool. I wish I could do that but I sound like a whiny four year old on tape.

Yeah. Plus, I'm a trained actor so that helps. A lot. You probably don't sound as bad as you think. Everyone has to adjust to the sound of their own voice.

 :banana-riding-llama-smiley-em <---love this guy.
That's true. Our own voice never sounds the same to us as it does to everybody else. Hearing our recorded voice takes getting used to.


Tickling the imagination one book at a time
Bill Hiatt | fiction website | education website | Facebook author page | Twitter
 

notthatamanda

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #107 on: December 12, 2019, 05:02:03 AM »
If I still answered the phone I'm sure they would still be asking to talk to my parents.  That happened well into my thirties.   :banana-riding-llama-smiley-em The llama looks happy but what happened to his ears?!
 

Lynn

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #108 on: December 12, 2019, 05:09:26 AM »
If I still answered the phone I'm sure they would still be asking to talk to my parents.  That happened well into my thirties.   :banana-riding-llama-smiley-em The llama looks happy but what happened to his ears?!

My daughter and me sound just alike (we also look remarkably alike according to others). I don't hear it. Neither does she. But even my mother has to ask who she's talking to. :D I just had my 45th birthday!

I have to do my "adult" voice when people call or they want to talk to my mother.
 

Shoe

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #109 on: December 12, 2019, 06:05:41 AM »


I don't actually have a problem with people whose primary motivation is financial.

I suppose I have trouble agreeing. When I write, my driver is what I want to say, not what will people want to read. I just trust that what I have to say will sync with enough people to give me a viable market. If I sit down and ask myself what will make the most money, my writing and novels won't be anything like what I actually now produce. And I would go from loving to hating the writing process.

The market for non-fiction is much larger than fiction's. One could probably write 100 fifty-page how-to guides in the time it takes to write a novel. Why don't the purely money-motivated focus there? Maybe they didn't get the memo (or look at the Warrior Forum).

But I'm sure there are loads of people who have an equal passion for both writing and money. I wonder if they're the ones clocking in at $100k a year plus.
Publishing since May 2017. Writing full time since January 2018 general fiction and satire.
 

Vijaya

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #110 on: December 12, 2019, 06:06:20 AM »
If I still answered the phone I'm sure they would still be asking to talk to my parents.  That happened well into my thirties.   

This is still me. I've been helping with some fundraising but I refuse to talk on the phone.

And Ethan, I am so sorry about your dogs. The sad thing is we never stop missing them. Our sweet golden is getting old so I often wonder how long we have with her.

From the very beginning of this writing journey, I knew in my bones that it'd be for the long haul. Although there's always an ebb and flow in this writing life, I couldn't be happier and I think I'll probably die writing.

Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces, primarily for children
Vijaya Bodach | Personal Blog | Bodach Books
 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #111 on: December 12, 2019, 07:28:58 AM »


I don't actually have a problem with people whose primary motivation is financial.

I suppose I have trouble agreeing. When I write, my driver is what I want to say, not what will people want to read. I just trust that what I have to say will sync with enough people to give me a viable market. If I sit down and ask myself what will make the most money, my writing and novels won't be anything like what I actually now produce. And I would go from loving to hating the writing process.

The market for non-fiction is much larger than fiction's. One could probably write 100 fifty-page how-to guides in the time it takes to write a novel. Why don't the purely money-motivated focus there? Maybe they didn't get the memo (or look at the Warrior Forum).

But I'm sure there are loads of people who have an equal passion for both writing and money. I wonder if they're the ones clocking in at $100k a year plus.
I agree with you completely when you talk about your own motivation. I think you and I are quite similar in that way. I write what I want to write and hope someone will want to read it. I wouldn't necessarily jump on a popular bandwagon unless I felt

All I was saying was that I wouldn't be judgmental about someone who is primarily interested in the financial aspects as long as that person was pursuing success in an ethical way. Maybe the person is trying to escape from a horrible, soul-numbing job and needs to focus on doing that. Maybe the person has other reasons to really need the money. Some people would be OK treating writing primarily as a commercial endeavor and might still enjoy doing it. Popular writing isn't necessarily bad writing, either. Many people might be able to find a balance that works for them--making money without making themselves hate writing.

As far as nonfiction is concerned, while it's a large market, there are practical limitations. There's only so much room for how-to books on any given subject, and given the variety that already exist, I'd imagine any of the more complex subjects would probably make a successful book only if the author were an expert. And if the subject were more simple, there are plenty of free how-to resources, including YouTube videos. It's not that people don't still exploit nonfiction for commercial reasons, but that route may not work for everyone. The appalling emails seem to tacitly acknowledge that by suggesting very short, ripped-from-the-headlines kind of nonfiction. Churn out a short book on a very trendy subject, sell at a relatively low price-point, rake in some bucks, then catch the next trendy wave, and so on, ad infinitum. That sounds depressing to me, but it's one way to milk nonfiction that doesn't have any obvious limit. But the books will be really short and probably of temporary interest at best.


Tickling the imagination one book at a time
Bill Hiatt | fiction website | education website | Facebook author page | Twitter
 

Marti Talbott

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #112 on: December 12, 2019, 08:03:54 AM »
I'm speculating, but I suspect the first people to use KDP were writing-in-the-bones types. No one knew if it'd pay but that wasn't their primary purpose in getting their books out.

I wasn't in the first wave, or the second, but getting the books out of my head was my motivation for writing. It was that or go insane. Mind you, I'm not sure if anyone could tell the difference.

It was never about the money. Even though when I started, it was already proved there was money to be made. But I wasn't even looking at that, just concentrating on getting the stuff out of my head.

I tend to think people starting writing for the money have the wrong motivation. But that's just me.

I did it for the money. I was looking at living on less than $1,000.00 a month social security with only 10k in the bank when I retired. Yes, I got in on the good years, but I can't imagine where I'd be if I hadn't. On the other hand, I did have several books already written, so I suppose I dreamed of being a writer too. I just knew long ago if I didn't do something, I was financially screwed. Single moms often find themselves in that situation.

By the way, I'm thrilled with all those rejections letters from traditional publishers. Turns out, they did me a big favor.
Author of over 50 full length historical and mystery novels.
 

Shoe

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #113 on: December 12, 2019, 12:07:45 PM »
On the other hand, I did have several books already written, so I suppose I dreamed of being a writer too.

I think having several books already written is significant. You already had the impulse to write (if I read you correctly), and KDP came along at the right time to make self-publishing a viable means of securing your retirement.

I didn't realize you have over fifty books published (even though the information was right there in front of me). I'd say your plan worked.

Publishing since May 2017. Writing full time since January 2018 general fiction and satire.
 

Mark Gardner

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #114 on: December 12, 2019, 12:09:42 PM »
To @OfficialEthanJ : having lost a dog to aggressive cancer last year, I understand your pain, and you have my sympathies.
 

Maggie Ann

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #115 on: December 12, 2019, 01:04:57 PM »
I haven't been posting here for a while. I'm not sympathy trolling, but we lost both of our dogs about 9 months apart (both this year) and losing the last one cut deep. My wife and I are adjusting to post-dog life. I haven't been writing either. I don't have anything to say, either here or on paper.

When I do, I will.

::: returns to the shadows :::

I didn't get my first dog until I was in my late sixties. He was a senior dog then. I had him for six wonderful years and then he died of liver cancer. I got another dog as soon as I could because I can no longer see my life without a dog in it.

I feel your loss, especially losing two like that. If you don't feel you can get another dog right away, maybe you can volunteer at a shelter or foster one or two while they wait for their forever homes.
           
 

twicebitten

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #116 on: Today at 05:37:16 AM »
Like JRTomlin, I'm expecting the end for my FT status one year soon. That I got so many years is something of a miracle, and I'm grateful I jumped into KDP when I did.
I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that people who are able to make a full-time living will continue to do so, or at least come close. I think it's more likely people in the range below that will lose the most if the conditions become more difficult. I also think that breaking in will become more difficult.

That's a nice thought. But every new success story we hear means an old success story falls in the ranks. So if everybody making a FT living today continued to, no one else new could (because readership #s are pretty flat--not everyone reads novels and not everyone will). So I like your limb you went out on there  :cheers but .... not I'm counting on it to last. There are younger, fresher, hungrier people biting at our heels. And I don't resent that, and I'd reach out to help any I stumbled across who had a question I could answer. Being FT feels a little like musical chairs to me. One day, the music will stop, and I'll look around, and I'll be the one without a chair.

 

Marti Talbott

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #117 on: Today at 05:53:02 AM »
Like JRTomlin, I'm expecting the end for my FT status one year soon. That I got so many years is something of a miracle, and I'm grateful I jumped into KDP when I did.
I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that people who are able to make a full-time living will continue to do so, or at least come close. I think it's more likely people in the range below that will lose the most if the conditions become more difficult. I also think that breaking in will become more difficult.

That's a nice thought. But every new success story we hear means an old success story falls in the ranks. So if everybody making a FT living today continued to, no one else new could (because readership #s are pretty flat--not everyone reads novels and not everyone will). So I like your limb you went out on there  :cheers but .... not I'm counting on it to last. There are younger, fresher, hungrier people biting at our heels. And I don't resent that, and I'd reach out to help any I stumbled across who had a question I could answer. Being FT feels a little like musical chairs to me. One day, the music will stop, and I'll look around, and I'll be the one without a chair.

---the one without a chair.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. This is exactly why we need to put our heads together and come up with more creative ways to market our books. Maybe we could develop some sort of coupon system to put on our websites, or pool our resources and buy more expensive ads that are better pointed at actual readers.

How about free content exclusive to our websites, like a fun two or three person argument over something trivial that people will come back to read daily, with of course, ads for our books. I say people are starved for good clean fun that doesn't cost them an arm and a leg. We just have to figure out how to do it and then spread the word.
Author of over 50 full length historical and mystery novels.
 

Simon Haynes

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #118 on: Today at 05:53:31 AM »
That's where having a large backlist comes in, I guess. It's going to take those up-and-comers a while to write 30-40 novels.



 
 
 

 
WIP

 
 
 
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Bill Hiatt

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Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #119 on: Today at 07:23:28 AM »
That's where having a large backlist comes in, I guess. It's going to take those up-and-comers a while to write 30-40 novels.
And it was easier to get noticed even a few years ago than it is now. That's why people with established fan bases have a distinct advantage.

I'm saying it's impossible for a newbie to break in, even at this point, but I think a lot more newbies will give up faster than in the past. It's hard to keep going when you don't seem to be getting anywhere.


Tickling the imagination one book at a time
Bill Hiatt | fiction website | education website | Facebook author page | Twitter
 

Lynn

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #120 on: Today at 07:34:20 AM »
I guess I'm just not feeling that same kind of disappointment in the market because I've never had huge success. Successes come and go, based on books, based on series, on whether you happen to hit the zeitgeist in the markets. It's like construction work, where one or two bad years might be followed by the kind of money that dreams are made of but anyone smart puts it back because the next rainy year could mean delays and bad budgets and bankruptcy. It's speculation, and in a sense, the fiction market especially, somewhat like gambling.

:D

I think the days of authorship as a steady regular day job kind of gig was always a delusion. The arts are just not that kind of business. The ladder isn't being pulled out from under anyone so much as the ladder wasn't really there to begin with. It was an imaginary ladder. :D

What you have is a swing set, and the ride up is inevitably followed by a ride down, but if you haven't jumped off you might get another go at the sun. :D

Maybe it's a row of swing sets, all swinging at different rates and started at different moments, and it looks like Susie is overtaking Mark but in reality everyone is just in their own groove, reaching for the sun. :D

How I used to love trying to swing hard enough to get the chains to let loose and send me twirling over the top. Never quite made it but it sure was fun trying. :)

Publishers can spread out risk and have so many fires going at once that it becomes a whole different thing for them, but even they depend on a few big hits to pay the bills. That is not the indie publisher. Anyone doing that has graduated to small press and left indie behind.
 
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Tom Wood

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #121 on: Today at 08:03:07 AM »
...

How about free content exclusive to our websites, like a fun two or three person argument over something trivial that people will come back to read daily, with of course, ads for our books. I say people are starved for good clean fun that doesn't cost them an arm and a leg. We just have to figure out how to do it and then spread the word.


I sometimes wonder if the Sam Sykes-Myke Cole-Chuck Wendig 'arguments' on Twitter are pre-planned, at least to some extent. They are a lot of fun to watch, but I don't know if they help sell books. Very good for visibility though.