Stubborn opinionated determined author at work

You can’t guarantee the results

Isn’t ‘effort’ the same thing as ‘work?

After I wrote the above, I realized that I think of them separately (personal choice), with effort being the whole mental atmosphere surrounding what writers do – from paying attention to things other people never notice, including information on publicity, covers, and selling – and work being actually sitting down and turning that attitude into things such as a finished ad or a description that rocks or any number of other ‘deliverables.’

WORK‘, of course, includes the writing itself, the finished words on the page of a pdf you are about to upload to Amazon or others.

And know it’s the best version of the story you are able to provide that mysterious elusive creature, the Reader.

After that, Amazon takes over and supplies copies of the WORK to those who pay for it.

For many of us, Amazon is currently publisher and distributor, for a hefty portion of the rewards (30% for ebooks, more for print books). I am currently okay with that. Because that equation is far worse on the traditional publishing side, and many of the benefits to using them (editing, covers, advertising, promotion, reasonable advances, royalties) are on the path of the Dodo bird.

Writing successful fiction requires two additional things:

Finding your potential readers, and

Getting them to try your writing.

If you haven’t truly written a good book that readers would buy if they only knew about you, YOU’RE WASTING YOUR TIME when you promote and advertise and stand on your head to do PR. You may fool some of the people some of the time, but that is rarely a recipe for commercial success.

Indeed, after reading some authors’ latest ‘work’, I know I will never read another from them.

But the whole discoverability part of writing is hard, tricky, and requires the one thing I don’t have: energy and the capacity for endless self-promotion.

If you have written ‘a good book’ for a segment of the population

the satisfied readers should be clamoring for more.

If you have more (backlist), they have a lot to discover and enjoy.

If not, well, keep working. And some readers will never get that pleasure from you again, but it won’t be your fault, if you’ just keep truckin’.’

And hope for some luck, or ‘Here a miracle occurs,’ or going viral, or catching someone’s eye…

Some of us will simply have to hope for an afterlife, and wait to ask Margaret Mitchell what happened to Scarlett. Assuming she still cares – the afterlife runs on different rules, I believe.

And now I’m going off to nap, followed by keeping my nose to my particular grindstone.

I do so want to finish. It’s coming nicely. And every time the idea that life might be easier if I spent it entertaining myself instead of torturing myself with imaginary people, I have managed to fight that attitude off.


What are the things in your life that you will never give up on?



7 thoughts on “Stubborn opinionated determined author at work

  1. marianallen

    Family. Short and sweet: Family. But if you mean work, I’ll never give up on writing, although I’m currently on creative pause, because I can’t. It’s somewhere between what I do and who I am.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      If anyone ever had a good reason for a pause…

      I have no doubt you will be writing some time in the near future, when you are ready again. Because writing is how we process when we’re used to having way too much stuff in our heads. I’m always so afraid to lose something – my memory tells me, “Don’t worry, I’ve got this,” and then promptly forgets what I don’t write down.

      There are pieces in the past I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to read – but I needed to write them.

      But you are a writer, whether you’re writing at this moment or not. I don’t understand those who think they’re not writers because they have doubts. Doubts are part of the package. A doctor doesn’t stop being a doctor because she can’t currently practice medicine!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lloyd Lofthouse

    “If you have written a good book for a segment of the population, the satisfied readers should be clamoring for more.”

    The readers that might be satisfied by a good book have to know it exists before they can consider reading it.

    That’s why I’m currently running Amazon Ads for my first published novel, to attract readers that might be satisfied with that book and talk about it, spreading the word. I read recently that Amazon has more than 40-million titles and several hundred thousand new titles are added each year.

    Fortunately for authors, not all authors promote their work to get noticed by readers. Imagine what it would be like if every living author was running Amazon ads and Kindle Countdown deals all at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      My point precisely – finding the readers in the first place is very hard – especially for niche authors.

      Advertising is a whole separate skillset – and often attracts the wrong readers, those who will start something and give up – and from whom you are lucky NOT to get a review.

      But everything fails if you don’t produce the book your target audience will like.

      Something which seems taken for granted on the advertising websites – it is easy. I don’t think so.

      I also think there are a lot of perennially-unsatisfied readers.

      Best of luck with your advertising – it’s one of those things that always gets paid for and never has to guarantee anything. Though making payment dependent on people reacting to the ad by clicking IS one step in the direction of the advertising system sharing the pain.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lloyd Lofthouse

        Even after you spend a lot of time learning how Amazon, BookBub, and Facebook ADs work, it’s still complicated. And after reading five books on just how Amazon ADs works and watching too many YouTube videos to count, I still haven’t started learning how BookBub and Facebook ADs work.

        From what I’ve read, they are all different and Amazon may be the most difficult of the three, because from what I’ve been reading, Amazon seems to change things just about the time you think you have their AD system figured out.

        I’m now down to advertising on Amazon six of seven hours a day from about 3 PM to 10PM. I set the daily spending from $5 to $10 a day depending on the day.

        I have five books and I only advertise two of them, and the three I don’t advertise mostly sit there, ignored as if they don’t exist.

        The ranking shows what I mean.

        First, the two I advertise regularly.

        Today’s rank at 12:00 PM:

        1. Best Sellers Rank: #39,916 in Kindle Store
        2. Best Sellers Rank: #123,020 in Kindle Store

        Then there’s the three that aren’t advertised:

        3. Best Sellers Rank: #378,001 in Kindle Store ( the only reason this one is that rank is because of #1 above. They are in the same genre so its getting a little action (emphasis on little).

        4. Best Sellers Rank: #1,385,117 in Kindle Store (this one sold one book in the last two months.)

        5. Best Sellers Rank: #1,999,107 in Kindle Store (I don’t remember when this one last sold a copy – it’s been that long)


        1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          It can be discouraging – and I often wonder whether people are reporting their income and/or advertising costs accurately. But of course the only numbers that matter are your own.

          BUT I am pretty sure things can’t get better unless I finish that second volume in the trilogy, and get it and the prequel short story out there. Life keeps interfering, but I plug away at it. Latest was losing most of three days to the aftereffects of the booster vaccine (for which I am very grateful – effects were okay except for one bad day of flu-like symptoms, and 2-3 more of brain fog).

          I HAVE the prequel, but have been reserving it for a simultaneous launch.

          I don’t think that with just the first volume I can do much more than I’ve done – I have 50 reviews, all but 3-4 of them 4* and 5* reviews, some very well written. With no energy, I have my ability to do the things indies are supposed to do – promote like crazy – extremely limited.

          It is what it is – my main job is to write. When I can.


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