4 VITAL Things To Know As An Indie Author (The Emotional Rollercoaster, part 2)

Well, maybe that last one...


If you wrote a book and published it, congratulations! You’re a small business owner, and entrepreneur. A budding capitalist.


You write your product. That’s cool!


Then, you sell your product.


So… you’re a salesperson.



Salesperson??? Nooooo!

Most of you NEVER wanted to be salespeople.


Your book/books are your business, and you have a small staff of employees. Probably just you. That means you are the boss, but also the manufacturer, the salesperson, the marketer, the accountant… the janitor… Since without sales there really isn’t any business, the most important thing is selling the product (after you have a product).


Whether it is a hobby or a part-time job or full-time job, that just means the amount of JOY or PAIN & SUFFERING you go through are magnified. Whether you are selling 1 book a week, 1 book an hour, or 1 book a minute, you probably want that number to go up.


Pick a good number of sales for a day, a week, or a month, or a year, and manage your expectations to trends, not little blips. Doesn’t matter what number you pick; some of you are new and some of you have been doing this a while. When I published my first book, it didn’t sell squat for a long time. A loooooooooooooong time.


Back then, if I sold a book a day, I was on FIRE! I was king of the world, a marketing genius! Things were going my way! Oprah was sure to call. I started rehearsing my Oprah interview questions and answers. Honest!


Your writing self image when sales suck.

I don’t care where you are on the sales volume ladder, if you go a few days without making a sale, you will be convinced that you are suddenly a dog. Worthless. Unfit to walk the earth. Nothing is coming your way except more empty Amazon sales reports.


By picking a time frame of a week and setting my new-author-self’s expectations to sales over a week, I wasn’t disappointed if I didn’t sell a book that day. I kept doing things every day to sell books, knowing they’d come in. That’s hard when they don’t come in, which is why you track efforts and results, but you want to give yourself enough time to produce a result before stopping an activity.


  1. UNDERSTAND: You are the same author on a good sales day as you were on a bad sales day. Your book is still just as good. (This is easy to say but hard to make yourself believe on a bad sales day.)


Welcome to the emotional roller coaster that is sales! It will mess with you!


Give yourself time to develop that thick skin for this. It’s not easy. I have had a book flying off the shelves. THOUSANDS of copies over a few short days. I was a guru. Talk to me three months later when I hadn’t sold for three days. I was an idiot. Except, I wasn’t. I was just as good as when I was selling big.


Sometimes the brain doesn’t get it, either.

Your brain understands this. Your gut does not.


At first, you will question everything when sales dip. Or when your second book doesn’t launch better than your first. Or when book three is a blockbuster and book four sells in piddles.


Guess what? Even if every book does better than the prior book, you’ll wonder why they didn’t do even better!


You’re a tough boss!


When you started, you were planting lots and lots of seeds, not knowing which activities might result in sales. Most seeds come to harvest later on, maybe after you stopped doing the activity.


  1. Good salespeople prospect all the time, and try different things. So do good authors. That may be different things for different authors, but consider an “all of the above” strategy until you have the sales volume you want.


My friend Jason Matthews constantly re-tweaks his SEO keywords in his books, among other things.


Another friend, Kelly Abell, does lots of events and signings and lectures. As in, talks to groups of people who came just to hear her speak.


Another friend doesn’t do jack, he just keeps writing books. (He’s the one the rest of us hate.)


Like on a spread sheet? Ugh.

What you want to do is keep track of what you’re doing so that later on you can have an idea of what worked. That will help. Track results any way you can, so you don’t spend time or money on things that don’t work.


  1. Sometimes things fluctuate. Now, if your sales go to zero and stay there for six months, you really need to think about what you’re doing, but if you have an occasional blip, you need to let your emotional side know that it’s going to happen. Look for trends. Don’t freak out over any one little thing.


  1. Very rarely do two books sell the same. No two kids are alike, and your books are a lot your kids. They will sell in their own unique way.


Don’t get discouraged. Even Stephen King puts out a dud once in a while, but since his marking is so good you would never know it. Maybe if you had the insights on his sales numbers you would see certain books sell a lot better than others. He’s still a great writer.


Same with Steven Spielberg movies. Some are great; some are not. He’s still a great talent.


And in both cases, certain ones that didn’t do at the box office or with critics, you may have thought were terrific.


Don’t let your emotions run thing. Put your emotions in your books but try to keep them out of your book business.


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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Click HERE to check out his other works.


Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages. From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heartwarming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry - or hang onto the edge of your seat - has been enjoyed by audiences around the world. And you are guaranteed to get a page turner every time. “That’s my style,” Dan says. “Grab you on page one and then send you on a roller coaster ride, regardless of the story or genre.” Readers agree, making his string of #1 bestsellers popular across the globe. He will make you chuckle or shed tears, sometimes on the same page. His novels always contain twists and turns, and his nonfiction will stay in your heart forever. Dan resides in the Tampa area with his wife and daughter. You can find him blogging away almost every day on www.DanAlatorre or watch his hilarious YouTube show every week Writers Off Task With Friends. Dan’s marketing book 25 eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew has been a valuable tool for new authors (it’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter) and his dedication to helping other authors is evident in his helpful blog.

29 thoughts on “4 VITAL Things To Know As An Indie Author (The Emotional Rollercoaster, part 2)

  1. I read somewhere that an average consumer has to see a product a pretty high number of times (I think 20) before they’ll consider buying. I think that goes back to planting the seeds you were talking about. Maybe they won’t buy during this ad run or when you post about that review, but maybe they will four times down the road.

    It’s also a strong argument to start promoting WAY before a launch.

    1. Definitely. Your point also means if they saw your ad on Twitter and Facebook and a few other places, THEN finally bought when Amazon asked them to, maybe all those other things played a role. Most author stop doing those other little things.

      You’re a great example. You did LOTS of things to keep the book in the eye of potential readers.

  2. “So… You’re a salesperson. Ugh.”

    I couldn’t agree more with that “ugh”!

    We’re writers not professional marketers, but this is what we got ourselves into. After the creative process comes the dreadful business part. The most important thing is patience. It really does take time to build a following, write more books and just keep at this thing.

    Thanks for the advice! 🙂

  3. THANK YOU! I loved this article. I have just published my first book and have made almost no sales since the initial pre-orders and first few days of release. I have been battling the doubts and can’t focus on writing my next project. All I’ve done is try to get the book noticed. I keep saying tomorrow I won’t look at any social media, but that day still hasn’t arrived. I feel like I’m going insane. At least your article shows me I’m not alone!

    1. Your sound like me when I put out my first book.

      Zero sales. None, zip, nada.

      For a loooooooooooooooong time.

      I changed the cover, the blurb, did some marketing, paid attention to what worked and what didn’t, and things turned around. That mountain is now a molehill, and the next mountain is starting to look a lot like a molehill, too. But even though I hated the experience, it taught me a lot that I have been able to pass on to my author friends so they don’t go into the same abyss.

      Ask any questions you have so we can help you, too. There are a LOT of smart authors here and they are all very helpful. Even if it’s just to suggest things NOT to do, that can help.

      One example: I showed three prospective book covers to my friends on Facebook. Just regular people, not fans or anything. The winner – the cover they liked best – was NOT the one I liked at all. Shows what I know. Guess what? When it started selling, I liked it a whole lot better!

      A few simple changes can make a big difference if they were bad selections initially, but that information was available to me for free, I just never thought about doing it (asking friends in a group on Facebook)! Now I do it every time. They haven’t been wrong yet.

      1. Thanks for the support. I will take another look at the blurb etc. and start asking around. But the cover I love, and so far that’s had great feedback. Will just have to struggle on, but I will start asking more advice from the author community.

        1. I had a look at the cover and it looks good to me. The blurb seems pretty good, too. (Did you do the blurb or did you have help?)

          But… I’m pretty bad at blurbs AND covers, so I’m probably the wrong guy to ask!

          I guess it’s all marketing now. Keep at it!

          1. Blurbs are my second biggest hate – just behind the synopsis. The great thing about self publishing is you don’t need a synopsis!
            I wrote the blurb, but my editor helped me tweak it. Thanks for looking at it, and I will keep going with the marketing.

    1. You are just as smart, just as funny, just as worthwhile, the day after you publish as the day before you published. And six months later and a year later, too.

      Except you’re tougher than you used to be!

    1. I have too many friends going through this not to explain how common it is. Glad you found it useful.

      And everyone who commented makes it easier for somebody else who’s in that situation to see they are not alone! So thanks!

  4. Taming the pesky ego to go sit in the corner, is a bitch. The ego ALWAYS is dissatisfied. A momentary bit of bliss here and there, but it never lasts, always says, “That’s it? Why didn’t you sell more, what went wrong?” Honestly, I like the guy ya’ll hate. Keep creating. Keep finding opportunities to introduce your book, do crazy things that make you laugh uncomfortably. What the Hell, it’s only life. Good post Dan.

  5. Dear Dan,
    Thank you for writing The Emotional Rollercoaster Part 2. I never thought about it that way before. I always overpay for everything so the thought of being a sales person is daunting to say the least. Thanks for your advice.

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