My sad story if you really wanna know

Who has that kind of time? You do.
Who has that kind of time? You do.

By the time I had the MS done for my first book, it was so long it could’ve been two books – so I cut it in half and released book 2 shortly after book 1. (It/they were a compilation of vignettes about family humor so I could do that.) Book 3 followed shortly thereafter, with several short stories/novellas published in between, all in the same theme. I should mention book 1 sold NO copies for about 6 months while I waited for Oprah to call learned about having a nice, professional looking cover (mine was a homemade disaster) and while I tried my hand at promotions. Most promotion success came from asking other authors what worked for them, and then doing that. I’ll be doing that for you, too. (Because abyss = bad. And you will fall into the abyss without someone to guide you around it. Yes you will.)

More titles = GOOD

After about 6 titles (not books, per se) in a year, any time I ran an ad or promoted one book, the others would get a smattering of sales, too.

So, more titles was a big factor for me. Over the following year I did 3 cookbooks, 3 illustrated children’s book, and 3 novels, one of which was released; the other two needed some help and will be released in the next six months. This was mainly to get titles out under my name, and it worked. Rarely did a day go by with no sales, as in, I almost always had nice sales every day, even when I wasn’t promoting a book – and with that many titles, I was always promoting a book. (Some good ads are as cheap as $25, too!)

Not me but you get the idea.
Not me but you get the idea.

I also figured out Twitter and this blog and some other stuff. Not Pinterest. Fuck that nonsense for now. And Snapchat, too – for now. But Instagram, I’m coming for you. Meanwhile, Facebook suffered, so there was a cost to my education, as there always is, but FB is easy to re-master and I will return to dominate it once again, don’t worry.

This year, 2015, I focused more on writing, and sales have dropped as I promoted less, but the quality of the writing has increased drastically and I’m not the rookie I was.

Nether are any of you.

With time and experience we’ve all become better writers and marketers and etc. That all goes into the equation, but the main driver is MORE BOOKS, get more titles out under your name. (That’s not two points, it’s one point clarified; short stories are “books” or titles).

It has benefitted me greatly that when somebody bought one book and liked it, there was another one for them to buy. Publish your short stories. Publish your poetry. Publish your favorite amateur photographs. This will all be explained in detail in the marketing books, trust me, and has been shared with a few trusted friends, but I’ll go in depth on all that another time because that wasn’t the goal of this post.

Give your fans something to read while you write the next novel. It all adds up. Blogs can do that.

Good Blogs = GOOD; Bad blogs = ???

A visual representation of the number of followers my blog had during my first year.
A visual representation of the number of followers my blog had during my first year.

Those were the dark times.

Not because I thought I was a failure; (I needed to go WAY farther into my writing career successes to start thinking I was a failure on occasion). It was a dark time because I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. Or, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

I didn’t know where to go for help.

You, dear reader, won’t have that problem. This blog is ABYSS AVOIDANCE.

When I read those other blogs and I read the struggles of other authors, I say THANK GOD I’M NOT THERE ANYMORE – and thank God I’ll steer you away from making the same mistakes. They’ve been pushing the same book for three years, folks. I’ve already told you (above) why that doesn’t work, or why what I did works better. They don’t get that aspect of the business. They needed to get book 2 out there or at least written, but they seem to say, I’ve pushed book 1 as far as I can, time to start working on book 2. (I’m not picking on these authors or their blogs, mind you; I subscribed to some of the good ones and avoided the bad ones, but almost all of them were well written.)

You won’t make that mistake, and if you can only put out one title every 3 years (and everyone can do more than that, I assure you), I’ll help set proper expectations for you. Good ones, optimistic ones, but achievable ones.

Love you guys!
Love you guys!

I don’t look down on those bloggers in the dark. I just can’t save them all. But like the little girl who saw a storm had washed thousands of starfish onto the beach where they were dying in the sun, I can save each one I pick up and put back in the water, and that will create group of people who I can help promote and who can help promote me.

The best part is, if you’ve been reading this blog for the last 6 months or so, I didn’t tell you anything new. If you’ve just joined us, hang on cos it’s gonna start to be a wild ride.

Who was it that said, “I went out into the world and I saw, and I learned that there were many kingdoms to conquer, and I decide to conquer them.”

Oh yeah – me.

I’ll conquer it all – with your help, cos you’ll be right there with me.

a quoteUPDATE, 8/23/2015 10:30am:

Yep, it was me. (Alexander cried cos he had nothing left to conquer.)

22 thoughts on “My sad story if you really wanna know

  1. This is all so very true – there is so much to choose from out there that persistence and continued output are really the best ways to stand out from what is a very large crowd. And there are times with promotion where I feel like I’m on the edge of the abyss, but I have to keep going – and it is starting to pay off.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Better to concentrate on a few effective social sites than to spread ourselves thin everywhere. I joined Instagram not too long ago. I’m not there a lot, you’ll find me mostly hovering FB in the later night times, where I’m growing a lot in the last year. Do look me up there and when you join Instagram! 🙂 facebook.com/dgkaye, same for Instagram 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am excited to hear all of this, Dan. When my brother was a Prof at my old Alma mater,BGSU, he was in charge of driving children’s authors, some who also illustrated from BG (Ohio) up to Detroit via a nice meal out. I was thrilled to bring my little grandson up, go to the children’s activities and the accompany Rich with my grandie, Skyler. I loved listening to their attempts to publish and got a little advice, too. My illustrations are fun for me to do while my books are okay and need fine tuning. I met Steven Kellogg, another Steven who wrote the Biggest Pumpkin and Biggest Valentine and the woman who wrote the Biscuit puppy beginning Readers. She told me a cool thing about her husband being the stunt double for Al Pacino. I enjoy reading your blog posts when life is not full speed ahead. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like your illustrations a lot, and since we have a 5 year old, we are very familiar with the Biscuit books! (What an odd combination, though. Biscuit author and Al Pacino’s stunt double. In what world do those two paths cross? Is there a movie adaptation of Biscuit coming to the big screen played by Tony Montana? Inquiring minds want to know!)

    Like

    • This is sad to say, but I was talking to these authors in our car rides to restaurant and to the airport. My grandson would fall asleep after dinner. Rich would drive.
      I am not a published author or illustrator. I am a retired teacher who has written four books which have been used as pamphlets and sent out in the 80’s and 90’s to publishing companies.
      The 3 authors of these books were gracious and I certainly bought a book or two with their signatures added. 🙂
      Not sure of any inside news on Biscuit movie. I hope so!
      The Al Pacino story is absolutely true.
      Rosie the cat and Pinkerton the Great Dane books are awesome but my favorite S.Kellogg book is called, “The Day Took His Boa to School.”
      Just hope not to upset you. Texts and blog comments can be accidentally misconstrued. Thank you for your really kind comments, Dan.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The Biggest Pumpkin Ever book and other ones in this line was written by Steven Kroll. The name of my favorite Steven Kellogg book is, “The Day Jimmy’s Boa Are the Wash.” So glad you like the Biscuit books.
    Sorry (again) about miscommunication. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

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