One of the hardest parts of being a new author

Some of you may have already guessed what the answer to this is. Now, while writing the next book might be the obvious choice, for me at least, it is not. Admittedly, I’ve had my difficulties with writing book three here in my series, which I’ve mentioned a couple of times. The thing is, book two was done by the time Deadworld released. So, I had none of those sophomore jitters to go along with it. I had no idea how Deadworld would do, and so I had nothing from which to compare The Vengeful Dead with. I had feedback from my agent and editor of course, but no public/reader feedback from which to say, “Okay, I need to ‘this’ better the next time” or “I really need to show ‘that’ in the next book.” For example, the vampire hero of Deadworld, Nick, has a fairly interesting backstory, which I could have flashed back to in Deadworld but chose not to. In hindsight I believe this was a mistake. A number of readers have wanted to know more, and it’s simply not there.  It’s not in book two either. Because I’m now writing book three, I can afford to work some more of this in. 

The other major aspect that develops with a debut, is knowing just how well (or not) it’s doing. Two months into release, and I still have no solid idea of this. It has been the most nerve-wracking element for me. I can track the half-assed numbers of bookscan at authorcentral on Amazon. I can follow my rankings there as well as at places like B&N too. As expected, it climbed steadily for the first three of four weeks and then began a gradual decline. But short of climbing into top ranking spots and getting picked up by major reviewers, where it’s far easier to tell if a book is getting notice, I’ve been scratching my head in wonder. The publisher doesn’t get sales numbers on an immediate basis. They still don’t have solid numbers yet, other than some anecdotal remarks that indicate the book is meeting expectations. While I can take heart in this, that it at least isn’t tanking, I don’t really know what that means. Not knowing is a killer.

I can look at reviews. Currently, I have 86 rankings on goodreads, with an average of 3.2. Reviews have been across the whole spectrum, from glowing to ‘wtf is this?’ If everything was a 4 or 5, this might indicate something or if they were all 1’s and 2’s, I’d know too. All I can tell is that people are tending to like it a bit more than not. Is 86 rankings after two months a lot for an unknown debut? No idea. So, when it comes down to it, I have no real clue where I’m at with it all. I hope I’m doing okay. I think I’m doing all right, but it’s honestly kind of a guessing game. All I can do is keep writing and hope for the best.

Happy reading/writing everyone.


2 responses to “One of the hardest parts of being a new author

  1. It really is weird, the info vacuum. If you hit a bestseller list or go into multiple printings, you have some idea, but otherwise you don’t know. Part of the reason the publisher doesn’t know is because of the possibility of returns. This early in your book’s life, the publisher will know how many stores ordered it, but nobody knows yet how many of those copies will be returned, or whether they’ll sell out and reorder.

    Publishing: the great mystery. 😉

  2. That would truly stink. It does sound encouraging though! I know pubbed authors whose books HAVEN’T met expectations early on… and I’m told that second and third books usually broaden sales for the first…

    Fingers crossed!!!