Guest post: Dalya Moon – Remember who you were

Dalya Moon is a fellow writer of fantasy whom I met at the kindleboards, where her posts about the trials of being a no-name self-published writer are refreshingly honest. She also keeps interesting records of her sales (much better than mine! I should not be allowed in the same room as an Excel spreadsheet). In this post, she addresses that all-important gap between expectations, hope and reality.

I quit writing at least once a week. So do many of the writers and self-publishers I know.

It wasn’t like this in the beginning. There’s the initial rush: someone read your book! They liked it! This seems like enough for you, and in the beginning it is.

But then, you hear the success stories. Your friends and peers get amazing deals and top the best-seller charts. You start putting out more books, faster. Now it’s not just about having a person read your book, but about a hundred or a thousand. Some of your friends sell a thousand books a day. Why not you?

And this is where the real problems begin.

Amazon is this big piggy bank full of coins, and you’re circling it with your ball-peen hammer. Other people are standing under rivulets of coins, telling you that all you need to do is write quality books and work hard and it’ll happen for you, too!

You bang on the piggy bank. Nothing comes out. You toil, all day and night, for months, years. You read blogs, analyze numbers, talk to other hammerers on message boards, comparing notes. You make charts. The charts tell you nothing.
You have low sales, and on top of that, you get critical reviews. You pay cash for advertisements that do absolutely nothing. Perhaps a few of your mates are unkind and diss your work behind your back. You get hurt feelings, and then you feel ashamed of having hurt feelings. It’s just a book! It’s just eight or nine books! Why are you being so petty?
You have a few bad days, and then you have a very bad day.

And you think that your very bad day is about the writing. It’s Amazon’s fault. Algorithms. Wrong genre. Cover confusion. Epub formatting. Blame Smashwords!

But maybe your bad day isn’t about writing at all.

Not everything’s about writing.

What were you like before you wrote and published books? On what did you blame your bad days?

Try to pick up some new life activities to give you a variety of things to be annoyed about. Take up yoga. Or pick up the empty food containers around your desk.

Remember that before you became a writer and a self-publisher, you were someone.

* * *

Dalya Moon is a self-publishing author –


7 comments on “Guest post: Dalya Moon – Remember who you were

  1. Just because there aren’t millions of people buying your books doesn’t mean you don’t have hardcore fans (like me) who will buy everything you are willing to publish!! (That goes for both of you)

    • Oh, yes.

      I don’t feel like I need to prove anything in fiction writing. I have my big magazine sales (and hope there will be more, if only I could write some new short fiction), and am genuinely no longer interested in a deal with a large publisher. I am happy to keep flying under the radar and produce new work and explore new avenues. My trilogy is doing well by my standards on all sites except Amazon. I accept that this may not last, or it may, or it may be reversed. With self-publishing, writers are fully exposed to the bewildering vagaries of the market. The only thing you can be sure of is that you can never be sure of anything.

  2. Awwww! Hi Louise! It’s true that connecting with fans on Facebook is really an amazing perk. 🙂

    I hope I didn’t sound too grouchy in that post. My point is just that we all have complex emotional lives and writers tend to fixate and think it’s all about the writing, when sometimes we just need to get outside and get a little sunshine. Like today! Gorgeous here in the Lower Mainland (That’s the Pacific Northwest for my American friends.)

    • Oops. I have to approve this thing for each new commenter and I only just logged in.

      Yes, I’m that snarky bitch at the Kindleboards. Haha. I just don’t suffer any bullshit merchants and like people like you who call a spade a spade.

  3. Pingback: Friday Features #26 - yesenia vargas

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