Friday, May 11, 2012

Humpty Dumpty Sat on Wall

by Peg Brantley, author of RED TIDE

I'm trying to work through this new author balancing act. It has given me more than one nightmare.

My personal energy comes from creating a new story. From stringing words together that might make it worthwhile for someone else to read. I write for myself, yeah… but to be honest, I really want someone else to find an escape—some pleasure—when they read my words. I'm a sucker for affirmation. But right now, if I'm not focusing on the book that's already out there, I'm focusing on initial edits for the next one that are dragging me down. If only I could write well enough the first time around that I could read through it once, call it good, and ship it off to an editor who would find very little that  needs improvement. Yeah right… whose dream did I just slip into?

With the publication of my first book, I suddenly find myself in a cyclone. There's a convergence of past, present and future that all relates to and hinges on my choices. How much time do I devote to all of the pieces that need some of my time? 

My sales are about to offer me a break-even for the editing, cover design and interior formatting. But suddenly I find this amazing actor who I think would be perfect for an audio version for which I've had requests. And then there's that website presence we've been told over and over again we need and that I don't have the expertise to handle on my own. It's all money beyond what I want to pay right now. On the other hand, maybe there's part of it that would be a good investment. These items take more time. More consideration. More research. Less writing.

And then for a day my sales falter. I frantically try to figure out what I can do to "fix" things. Should I tweet more? Do I need to get involved with Kindle Nation? Would a trailer help? Is this a fluke or am I settling in to more realistic sales? (And while I'm here, small rant: some readers were disappointed there wasn't more romance. I never described my book a romance. There is no tag that purports it to be a romance. Not even a romantic suspense. The cover, the title? No romantic themes.)

In my heart of hearts (speaking of romance), I believe the best thing I can do to help RED TIDE get into the hands of more readers is to get my second book out there.  But what do I know?

How do I manage this? What should my priorities be? Have you found a rhythm for your day?


  1. Boy, do I relate to all of that. Kindle sales fluctuate, and sometimes there's not much you can do. But a Kindle Nation promotion could help. More posting is probably not the answer because it takes too much time. Getting another book out there is the best thing you can do. So don't sweat the sales of the first one. If you're breaking even after such a short period of time, you're doing better than most new authors.

  2. Wow! I feel for you, Peg! LJ's advice sounds right on. And when you get your second book out there, that will spike sales for the first one, as well.

    And as for writing perfectly the first time, bestselling author Steve Berry says he revises / rewrites each book 60-70 times! That's before his editors look at it! Plus, hey, you've gotta give your editor something to do!

    Good luck with all of this, Peg! You can do it, wordsmith and published author!

  3. Thanks, L.J. and Jodie. I'll be focusing on my initial edits today. I think. Mostly. Maybe a giveaway on Goodreads. Or that Kindle Nation promotion. But probably those edits. Yeah...

  4. I know we're supposed to have website AND blog, but honestly, when I discover a new author, I google them to see they're web presence and I'm thrilled when I find a blog--not necessarily a website. I like to see and hear what an author has to say and be able to comment or interact. You're on the right path, Peg. I've started your book and it's good. Yanked me in and hanging on to me. Write and quit worrying.

  5. It's a balancing act but not one you will master right away. It takes time. I'm not even sure if I'm there yet. I've learned to realize that there are things I can control and things I can't. The things I can't--fluctuations in sales that have nothing to do with me or my book--I let go of. When in doubt, just write :)

  6. Peg, just wanted to let you know I'm still reading and enjoying your book. I've gotten a little slow these days. :)

  7. Hi Peg, indeed, you're facing the hurdle that every author faces no matter how long they've been around. As Andrew said, however, you'll get better at it with practice (at least, that's what we hope!).

    Let me give you a reason why I think a website is a good idea. When I do an article for on an author, I always go to the author's website first for information. I expect that that's where I'll get the best information about the author (not always true, but that's my expectation.) I also always reference the author's website in my articles. If they don't have a website AND a domain name, I don't go searching. I don't have time.

    If you have a site, you can easily include a blog. If you have a blog, you don't necessarily own the domain name. I have to admit that I'm biased because we build websites for a living, However, because I write two columns for, I know that the easiest way to put new readers in touch with an author is through the author's website (with an easy-to-remember domain name).

    Good luck with the struggle, I'm right there with you.

  8. This post so resonates -- it's nice to hear there are other writers out there struggling with the same questions I am! If it's any help, I think right now your exposure on this site is a fabulous way to balance the need to have a web presence w/ trying to get that second novel done (I actually found you and RED TIDE through Crime Fiction Collective, and am thrilled that I did!). As for your other questions -- promotions, blogging, Amazon numbers, and the eternal struggle to just sit down and write... Yeah. I have those questions, too. If you find a secret formula to balance all of the above, I hope you'll share it with your readers! In the meantime, I've just recommended RED TIDE for the Awesome Indies site, and would love to schedule an interview with you. Your book is wonderful!

  9. Jess, thanks for your support. I sort of like blogs too. They're a lot more fluid… and a lot more time consuming. Thanks for reading RED TIDE. I hope you like it all the way through. *wink*

    Drew, I like that: "When in doubt, write." Sheesh. And "Trust the process."

    Nissie, thank you too for your support. And boy, can I relate to "slow."

    Terry, I've been trying to find a website that felt right to me and I haven't. I suppose that's because I want a website that reflects me and not someone else. I'll keep looking.

    Wow, Jen. I'm flattered. Thank you. I'd love to be interviewed. I think.

  10. Peg, you're right to be picky about your website choice; it's a very big deal and not something you can just return to the store if it's not a good fit. If you get to where you have questions about the options, I'd be happy to kibitz as a favor. Feel free to send me a Friend request on FB so we have a way to communicate directly if you're interested.


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