Overnight Success?

Before I get to success and failure, I’d like to thank those readers who bought my books and especially those who left reviews on my novels. Those reviews are vital to an author. Many advertising companies will only advertise with authors who have a certain number of reviews at a certain ranking, so THANK YOU!

I’ve been struggling for three years as an author. The writing is the easy part. Marketing? Not so much.

Something happened on Sunday and suddenly my free book is ranked #46 on the overall Amazon charts. I’ve worked by butt off for this to happen. Switched out covers. Tweaked blurbs. But I wasn’t prepared for success to happen. I’m used to writing, publishing, and watching the book sink like a stone in the ratings. And now I feel like I’m seven years old on Christmas Eve waiting to open presents.

I’m new at this thing called success, but I can tell you the changes I’ve made this past year and hopefully that will keep some poor writer from struggling as much as I did to get to this point.

1) Eye-catching covers with interesting subject matter. I’ll be honest. I LOVED every cover I released. My joy and excitement in the whole process of book release gave me a blindness to the marketability of my covers. They were AWFUL. I loved them and they were awful. But in the spirit of learning and new direction, I tried, tried, and tried again and came up with covers that I LOVE…and apparently so do my readers. (I certainly can’t trust my own taste in cover art.)

2) Writing in a series. The folks who have been at this a while will tell you to write in a genre and stick to it. I have a hard time with that because I love reading all kinds of genres and wanted to write fantasies and mysteries and whatever else came to mind. But my standalones aren’t selling. What is? The series.

3) Submit your book everywhere. I didn’t want to believe that an author REALLY needs to spend a third of their time marketing. I don’t want to market. First of all, it’s boring. Submitting the SAME thing over and over and over in the hope that one of those bloggers will like it, review it and do a write up. I still feel like I’m wasting time when I’m online. But it’s hard to argue with results.

4) Free. Yes, free works. Not all the time. I had a cartoon book that I entered into KDP Select and finally pulled it because it watered down my brand. But if you have a series, give it a try.

For those looking from the outside in, sometimes it feels like an author has had an overnight success. “Why is SHE ranking #78 and I’m not”. I don’t have an answer for you. I can only say that those authors may be as surprised by their success as anyone else. I’m still a little shocked. Sometimes that strange surge comes from years of trying, failing, and writing some more. I’m wondering how long the ride lasts until I have to jump off the roller coaster and run around to get back in line.

But it’s worth the long hours and hard work. Because I do love the work. And now I’m starting to see that others might love it, too.

So Thank You Readers. I couldn’t have done it without you.

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About jeanetteraleigh

Jeanette Raleigh is an artist and author who has spent most of her life at some creative pursuit. Whether painting a castle or writing a novel, Jeanette enjoys the playful aspects of creation and strives to make worlds where others feel at home. You can find her works of art and information about her fiction at www.jeanetteraleigh.com.
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