Tag Archives: sales tipping point

Tip Me Over! #atozchallenge


Here is one I see All. The. Time.

Authors who put out a book, maybe two, and are immediately disappointed in their sales. Maybe they’ve done promo for it; usually if they have, it’s been minimal, sending out review copies and getting upset when they fall in the Black Hole of Reviewers, never to be heard from again (it happens more than you’d expect, and to everyone. Even me and Jett over at The Rock of Pages).

Keep writing, I always tell these antsy authors. Put more novels out. Build your network of contacts, and build your network of readers. But definitely put more novels out. Good novels, too, not garbage that you’re putting out to hit a magic number.

Since I began networking with other authors around the time I started self-publishing (in 2008, for those of you keeping track), one thing has held true: the tipping point for a novelist is around 5 to 6 novels.

What’s the tipping point?

It’s when you have enough books for sale that, if you market one of them, will somehow stimulate sales for the other four or five.

For some reason, you need five or six novels — not short story collections; sorry, folks! — on the market and available for readers to buy before readers will read one of your books and gobble up your backlist.

Why is this the magic number? I have no idea.

But I’ve seen it time and again.

That means you’d better get busy. And some editors, like me, love prolific authors. You guys keep us busy, and we’re here to be kept busy.

Really, there’s nothing to fear. Don’t fear bad sales. Don’t fear screwing up.

Okay, fear putting out a bad book… and then take steps to put out the best book possible.


To Quit or Not to Quit (Shouldn’t be a Question) #atozchallenge


When I was younger — like, late high school, college and even grad school — I’d fight my tendency to be a writer. (Little did I know the editor gene wouldn’t be fully awakened for awhile yet) I’d vow I was quitting.

But over the years, the time between proclaiming, “I quit!” and returning to my fictional worlds shrunk, to the point that, as a married woman, I barely had the words formed on my lips and had to acknowledge the lack of truth to them.

Some of us are just cursed.

But if you’re not one of them, I get how hard this whole writing-as-a-career thing can be. It’s big. It’s scary. There are a million other books out there, and what feels like ten million other authors. And because we’re writers and we suffer from Inherent Writerly Insecurity, it seems like those ten million other authors are better writers, savvier marketers, smarter networkers; the whole deal.

It is enough to make a peson quit writing, and yes, I’ve had a few authors tell me that after their second or third book, they were done.

Not so fast, I like to tell them. Everyone I’ve ever spoken to tells me that it takes four, five, sometimes six novels before the momentum takes over and you have enough of a back catalog to stimulate organic sales. (Of course, this does NOT excuse the need for good marketing!) No, they don’t have to be a series — although it, of course, helps.

But you need a critical mass.

So don’t give up too fast. In fact, if you can NOT give up, if you can return to those days when you’d write for the sheer love of writing, you’ll be ahead. Write what you love. Write FOR love.

Network with other writers, and seize the marketing opportunities they present to you. Network with other readers. Leave reviews of books you’ve read because you want to.

In short, BE a writer. That doesn’t mean sitting around at home, slaving in front of a piece of parchment as the candle burns down and the tip of the quill goes soft. Not anymore! Being a writer means supporting other authors. Learning craft. Reading. Networking.

And mostly, having fun.

Because if you’re having fun, why contemplate quitting at all?