Riding the roller-coaster

picture of person on roller coasterAs I start the final push to finish the first draft of Morgan’s Return, the sequel to Morgan’s Choice, I’ve become a tad introspective, It’s that time of year. I have no interest in the various festivals celebrated at the summer solstice here in Australia. Apart from remarking, yet again, that it amazes me how we Aussies try to cling desperately to traditions that make no sense here. Fake snow sprayed on windows while we broil in the summer sun? Puleeese.

This year the highlight for me as a writer was a giddy three or four months when Morgan’s Choice was in the top 100 best sellers in space opera. I was right at the top of the ride. Wheeeeeeeee. I’ll bet you’d LOVE to know how I managed to do that… So would I. Sales have dried up, but that’s life, I guess. What that has to do with the Big A’s clamp down on all sorts of things I have no idea. Somebody mentioned sales come in cycles. So right now, the roller-coaster is speeding up, going down. I hope the up part is not too far away.

A smaller down-slope was changing from being published by a small independent publisher to being published by an even smaller independent publisher – me. I’m not sure how successful that was. I turned down two contracts for my paranormal romance, Black Tiger, and went it alone without great success. It was a change in genre and I admit I expected it to do better.

I’ve certainly cut down on my online presence. I’ve left Goodreads because I really didn’t spend any time there and I left Google+ for much the same reason. I play on Twitter but not on LinkedIn – after all, I’m not looking for a job. I’m in the process of pruning my ‘friends’ list on Facebook. The changes since it became a public company have left me cold. I appreciate they want to earn some money but for me FB has become klutzy, ugly, over-engineered and full of inconsistencies in interface. I pop in to keep in touch with people, post a photo or two. I’m convinced that the ‘fan page’ concept is a waste of time unless you already have a huge fan base.

As for Amazon, its bully-boy antics regarding reviews has been mentioned many times. The tweaking of its algorithms to discourage free or very cheap books is also a hot topic. So is the returns policy, where increasing numbers of people are using Amazon as a lending library, especially for shorter works.

Me? Sure, you have to be on Amazon. But you can keep Kindle Select. I’ve tried that experiment and I’d prefer to have my work out in as many formats as possible. I don’t write for myself; I write to be read. Having said that, I’ve revised my prices. Writing a book is bloody hard work, an enterprise that takes months and months. You can still buy my short work for $0.99. Between fifty and eighty-five thousand words you’ll pay $3.99 and for eighty-five thousand words and up, you’ll pay $4.99. That’s for e-books, of course. I still reckon they’re a bargain.

There are times, you know, when I gaze intently at my navel and ask myself why I bother banging my head against this particular brick wall. And occasionally, just occasionally, I get an answer. Someone on Twitter told me she was eagerly awaiting Morgan’s Return. She’d read Morgan’s Choice three times. Another person told me they were settling in for a third read of Starheart and a number of people asked me when a book on Kindle Select would be available in other formats. And there’s the unexpected reviews from complete strangers – the 5 star, ‘I loved it’ ones, not the ‘I would have given it 0 if I could’.

So there you go. Greta’s roller-coaster publishing year in a nutshell. Onwards and upwards in 2013? Of course. What else would I do if I wasn’t writing?



About Greta van der Rol

I'm an author of fast-paced, action-adventure novels, mainly space opera - although I've been known to write in other genres. I live not far from the coast in Queensland, Australia and enjoy photography and cooking when I'm not bent over the computer. I have a degree in history and a background in building information systems, both of which go a long way toward helping me in my writing endeavours.

Posted on 22 December 2012, in Life and things and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Greta, I know how you feel. Success, sales, lack of sales – sometimes nothing makes sense. There is no magic key. There is no one formula. There is never one size fits all. I use Amazon KDP Select because the program provides me with discoverability, which other outlets lack. I do agree Amazon’s liberal return policy hurts authors.
    I’m happy publishing my own books – designing my own covers, working according to my schedule, editing my own work. And I do love your work. Big fan!

  2. Oh gosh, almost forgot – I’ve simplified this year – no Goodreads, no FB, no Google+. I use twitter. I’m so much happier!

  3. I’ll be getting you into Triberr, girlie. We help each other out, easy peasy. I’ve been Tweeting your books anyway, we need to get you some more exposure.
    I’m now through re-reads of all the books, and also finally got everyone settled as to who happens where and when. Now we need to get more and more and more people reading them. And maybe while they’re at it, they can be reading mine!!!!
    I have NO clue what ensures success, in books or dogs. I just know I’m waiting for my opportunity to be an overnight phenom…it’s only been forty years in the Salukis, not so long

    • Oh, I’m in Triberr – even got my own little tribe. (Don’t ask me how) Sure, it helps but I don’t want to drown my feed with too many RTs. There’s such a fine line between acceptable RTs and pissing too many people off. (Whatever you do, some people will get their knickers in a knot)

      Folks like you, that even re-read, that’s fabulous. I’ll need to blow my nose. Thanks.

  4. Oh girl, you’re not alone. I swing from “I’m going to be one of those lucky millionaire ones!” to “Oh god, THISISSOMUCHWORK and for what???” (my poor husband.) I recently went through a serious craving to sell everything and take to the road in a campervan, with nothing but my laptop. It’s November in US. This does not make sense. But I was feeling claustrophobic with the demands of life, and just wanting to simplify and escape it all somehow.
    That craving hasn’t really passed, and I may well do a couple of months trial run in the campervan. Mike’s game, and polishing up his cameras.
    Being a self published author/businessperson is NOT simple or easy, and I’m one of the “successful” ones! (whatever that means. What does it mean to you?)
    I hear you. I wish I could settle my own hopes/despairs.
    In the end, I write on.
    Becuase I love it, and my characters, and basically that’s enough.
    Aloha and friendship,
    Toby Neal

  5. And then there’s the Christmas thing and for that matter Thanksgiving. Both based on poor interpretations of reality and both consumer driven. I have dear friends in Melbourne, one American, who insisted on a full Thanksgiving feast for family and friends. Such a chore to get a large turkey in November, in Melbourne!
    I’m just not traditional enough I guess.

    • Sigh. I guess we all try to hang on to ‘tradition’. I remember when I was a child my dad made ‘olie bolle’ for New Year. It’s a traditional Dutch thing, a deep fried doughnut affair. In Perth, it was too hot to sleep or even be indoors. Nobody wanted to eat deep fried stodge. He never did it again.

      But many people still try and do the traditional English Christmas dinner, which is like your Thanksgiving – turkey, ham, too much food, plum pudding. To each his own. I think it’s crazy.

  1. Pingback: I’m back on #Smashwords (want to know why?) | Greta van der Rol

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