I admit to the same flaw most other authors I know suffer from. That is to say I find myself frequently checking on the sales of my book. I’d like to think I have it under control, since I only check once or twice a day. Some authors seem to have a nervous tick that causes their finger to click on the button for checking sales every five minutes.
It’s easy to see your sales as a validation of your talent. When sales are low, it is just as easy to think maybe you aren’t any good. One author friend in particular has tied a lot of her self-worth into her sales. Don’t do this. It takes a lot of time to build up your fan base and sales are generally slow early on.
Low sales aren’t an indication of your talent lacking. They indicate only that your book isn’t selling well. Are there reasons for this? Sure. The real question is how many of those factors do you really have any control over. Assuming you wrote it well, edited it cleanly and have a decent cover that matches the content, all you have left you can do is market yourself.
There are thousands of would-be authors daily trying to break into the business. E-publishing might have opened the door for a more direct author/reader relationship, but they also muddied the waters. There are countless books being released every day. Some of them are amazing. Some of them are utter garbage thrown together. As a reader, there’s no way to know which is which until after you’ve read it. It is going to take time to build a following.
Each time someone takes a chance on your book and finds it enjoyable, you’ve gained a potential reader for future works. Assuming you keep them engaged or convince them to find value in your newsletter, then when the next book comes out, they are far more likely to buy it. Over time, the total numbers will increase.
A lot of it isn’t about writing to what is popular or writing like . Instead, you are writing what you love and doing what you can to help the right audience for your work find you. Don’t think that low sales mean you are a bad author. Tying your self-worth into sales is nothing but heartache. Let’s not forget that there are a number of authors whose amazing works weren’t recognized until well into their careers. Sometimes it takes a bit of time to find your readers. Take heart and keep writing.