Yesterday I launched my latest book and it felt good. Except for a rare half hour at Starbucks with my cafe mocha while chatting with a fellow author on my phone, there wasn’t much of a celebration. It was like a normal day – grocery shopping, picking up the kid and doing the laundry. Someone said I should have a glass of champagne but I just wasn’t in the mood. After following up with ARC readers from my mailing list and then peering with one eye open at their reviews, it was just a huge relief to finally get the book out to the world. Each review honestly scares the crap out of me (especially Goodreads where they can be brutally honest, with reaction gifs), but I can also not look.
But the feeling after this book launch feels like a rollercoaster ride that’s coasting back to the starting line and you have to get out and wait in line again.
So the waiting has started. I need to write my books again, although this time, I need to finish the prequel to Loving Ashe before releasing its sequel, Loving Riley. I can’t entertain anything else but that, not even a second book of Dax and Harlow. My dance card is full. That line to the rollercoaster ride is moving.
But that waiting in line isn’t just about writing the next book. It’s also marketing the existing books, and after trying out Facebook groups for two weeks where I post something about my book on two or three Kindle Unlimited groups, I’ve come to the conclusion that that shit just doesn’t work. You’re basically marketing to fellow authors, and maybe it gets you one sale here and there, but it’s a risk you take to post in many groups because Facebook will put your account in jail for a few hours or days. It’s just not worth it.
But you know what’s worth it? Facebook ads. Done right, that stuff works – but only when done right. When not done right, it’s money out the window with very low or hardly-there ROI. You don’t boost posts because that relies on engagement and somehow I’m not there yet when it comes to engagement with readers. I can count with ONE hand how many people will engage with me, and I’m grateful for every single one of them, but the same time it takes me to craft a single Facebook post hoping for engagement, I can literally craft a 2K word chapter. Seriously.
But FB ads, when done right, work. I don’t have to rely on engagement. Sure, it’s nice when people reply to the ads or boosted posts, and I envy writers who get thousands of likes and comments, but at least, with ad copy, I have the basics down. Four years of college majoring in Advertising and Journalism should give me the basics, right? And so I crafted my ad copy and let it loose. At first, there were more misses than hits. Performance versus clicks that were downright embarrassing. But at least you can test, and test some more.
That’s when I saw the sales happening, when I started with a good ad copy and then another. Started with one or two sales a day, then up to ten a day on a book that was released a year and a half ago. It’s not even my new release I’m talking about here. Loving Ashe is actually selling again. It’s also selling outside of Amazon, primarily iBooks AND Kobo.
I used to feel pangs of regret for leaving Kindle Unlimited, and it took awhile to get past that stage where my chest wouldn’t hurt from the mere thought of missed KENP reads and the bills I could pay with that money. But I don’t hurt anymore when I think about leaving KU. It’s nice to go wide. Scary at first, but nice.
And with the ads, I get to see my books sell on various platforms and that makes me feel good.
I just need to make sure to have the money set aside each month for my ad budget and go back to writing. Which brings me to one more realization after meeting so many “writers” who weren’t really writers after all. They’re strictly business people. They hire ghostwriters for their books and now every writer I meet is suspect. Seriously. It’s popped that “joy” bubble I thought everyone was on when it comes to writing.
Now I know better and it’s honestly made me hard inside, cold even. Real writers are hard to come by anymore. Sometimes I think no one writes for the love of writing anymore, but that’s really not my problem, not when I’ve got too many stories waiting for their turn. I still write for the love of writing because I need it to heal the wounds of my past and the unspoken words of my present, but I also know I have to run a business.
So the wait to get back on the rollercoaster begins. But, at least, now I’m wiser.
Writing for love is fine, but, hey, eventually you gotta write for the money. The bills still need to get paid.