Reflecting on April 2015… My Own Medicine…

GET OVER ITThere goes April. Another year older. I’m now 3#. Yes. 3#. 2 years away from 4#. Cue existential possible mid-life crisis… Well, it’s not that bad, but I have been pretty fed up. Now, before you get all sympathetic for me, I don’t have much to complain about really. Relationship is good, the furry kids (cats) are well, I have managed to keep my job for another year, despite the local authority cuts getting very close to home (I think I felt the displaced air of the axe on that one), and sales have been pretty consistent. So, what have I got to feel fed up about?

Well, I’ll start with the writing sales. Now, I love writing, and all I want to do is write. Sadly, to do so, it needs to make me money. After a token sale here and there for my other titles I wasn’t encouraged. Granted, the time, money and interest in promotion is pretty minimal so I have myself to blame for that. But then I started to get sales on ‘The Room’. I’m all for being honest about my writing progress in the hope of being a realist in the market, I have had quite a few peaks in daily sales. I think the highest has been 20 copies of ‘The Room’ sold in a day, but typically averaging at about 5 or 6 sales a day. I’m sure to anyone reading this that might not seem much, but compare it to 0 and it feels great. Then I saw my royalties… My titles are 99p. Amazon takes their cut and leaves me 35% and I think the government takes 20% for VAT. So, I get 15p for every title I sell. I’ve made about £55 in approx 6 weeks–which is about 360 sales. I would have to sell a lot of titles to get a decent return.

‘The Room’ is a pretty thick book, so I’ve got a bit of a wait for readers to drop a review. I only have four at the moment. 3 5 star reviews and 1 scathing 1 star review. Pretty mixed lol. Also it’ll be a while before I notice if readers will then go onto read my other titles and build those sales. 99p seems to be the popular indie list price and I’m loathe to up it to 1.99 because it might kill sales of ‘The Room’. I’m thinking I’ll just ride it out and see what happens. I think ‘The Room’ being in the gay horror section has been why this title has had more success than the others, so I’ll be interested to see when my next fiction release ‘The Pack’ hits the crime horror section later this year.

On top of writing with little optimism for success, my work and college week has also sucked and left me pretty wiped out. I had this moment where I thought–‘what’s it all for?’. I have a nice home and lifestyle with my man, but I’m having to do stuff I hate to have it, and pushing myself to achieve in a market which is notoriously difficult to break into for little reward. I wish I wasn’t so materialistic and driven and could lead a simpler life, but then I would be limiting my life through fear of failing and I’d be giving up on hope. I’ve also found that I’ve been getting quite stressed about work again–feeling on edge and defensive all day expecting the worst kinds of cases being dumped on me, which of course, makes me feel just as crappy as if those cases had actually landed.

Fortunately, while I haven’t had the focus to write fiction, I have been turning my old therapy course materials into a self-help book. ‘Get Over It’ is pretty much done. The first draft is off the printer and in the being-scribbled-on-phase, before it goes to the wife’s-editing-phase, and the obsessive-checking-and-formatting-phase. Revisiting my old Cognitive Behavioural Therapy studies has been just what I needed to pick myself up. I am now taking time out to chill out and enjoy myself more, and I’m doing my best to challenge the way I think that makes going to work and studying such an ordeal for me. Failing that, the 175 page first draft makes quite a tome for my man to beat me around the head. *beating yourself happy is not a chapter in the book.

So, I’m all picked up, and I just hope that this book will help someone else out when it hits the market. I have to remember that when my titles are on the market they are possibly on the market forever, and next year I should have some money for promotion if I want to go down that route, and I might be back into writing again. This is a long game, and I’m not going anywhere, so I can just see what happens…
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