Modesty. Yeah, we are always taught that it isn’t polite to blow one’s own trumpet. Most of my blog posts have been about how I have created my stories. This one was ‘inspired’ by research into author associations. I am a member of the RRBC (Rave Reviews Book Club), and am considering joining the Romance Writers of America (https://www.rwa.org) even though I am UK based. So, I thought, there must be UK versions of these organisations … Seems logical, right? Wrong!
Put in ‘author associations uk’ into Google, and yes, you do return some results. But then, it seems that whoever runs at least one of those groups is missing the point.
I have alluded to the perception that to be a ‘real author’, you must have an agent, a publishing contract and have sold loads of books. Otherwise, it is just vanity publishing. So, in my search, I came across one group, which did have a category of membership for ‘self-published authors’. Click on the link and I nearly spat my coffee out over my laptop. Why? In order to be considered by this group, one had to have sold £500 worth of books or over 100 copies. Yet, when I looked at the sorts of topic they covered, they were topics aimed at new authors e.g. how to build a fantasy world. So why the disparity?
I can’t say that I know the reason. But what struck me was that, if you expect an indie, self-published author to have sold £500 worth of books, you are talking anywhere from 500 copies to … well, the sky would be the limit. In effect, they are expecting an indie author to have the same sort of sales as an author with an agent actively pushing their work, and a publisher doing the same
Why do I have an issue with this? I am an indie author. I don’t want an agent and I have my own registered company which I list as my publisher. My day job is working in sales, so I appreciate the whole issue of sales, profit margins, production costs etc. I sell my books at prices of £0.99 to £3.05, with one book on Kindle Unlimited by Amazon. I have print-on-demand versions available for those who prefer a ‘real’ book rather than an e-book.
However, the key thing is that for me, I don’t expect to make my fortune from my writing. If there are people out there willing to buy my books, then well and good. I thank them from the bottom of my heart. But, that set of criteria for joining the UK organisation could be very discouraging. It takes time to establish yourself, and if you have to work a day-job in the meantime, it decreases the amount of time you have for self-promotion.
The right kind of self-promotion is what helps to sell your books. Can you see the ‘Catch 22’ of the situation? Some will not perceive you as a ‘real author’ if you don’t have the sales. But I am a writer. I have sold books. If ever I reach the dizzying heights of selling a few hundred books, I will be rather pleased. But, dreams don’t pay the mortgage. So the day job stays, with the acknowledgement that it limits the number of hours I have for self-promotion.
So, where does blowing my own trumpet come into this? There is one thing that I would like to think I have done. I am fortunate in that, in writing my stories via ‘live’ posts on Facebook, in the style of ‘online role play’ which I export into Word for editing, I have also met some wonderful people. Many enter the world of online role-play because they want to write, but without the hassle. Does that make them any less of a writer? Some of them write some incredibly involved and detailed stories. Due to the risk of Facebook attacking their author accounts, I can’t give them to public praise that they deserve. Thus, many of them remain hidden. But one or two have been willing to work with me.
On 31 March, I will publish my latest book, “Merysekhmet”, written with the wonderfully talented Kaitlyn Bosch, a Californian-based author whom I met online. Kaitlyn had a bad day at work, so I suggested we wrote a fight scene. Previously, we had been discussing characters to whom we wanted to give ‘voice’. We decided to use two such characters: Ramses Tariq-Omari, a lion shifter and doctor, and pair him with Elizabeth DeAnglo, the assistant to one of the other characters, who was very much under-utilised. A fight scene led to a meet up for coffee, so Ramses could check Elizabeth was healing after the fight. Then Elizabeth was threatened by the Wendigo who had killed her husband. Ramses, being the conscientious doctor that he was, couldn’t leave her unattended, and she finds herself in his apartment …
If you want the rest, you have to buy the book, or download it if you have Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited.
Trumpet blown. I am happy with what I have done. I have made some fantastic friends online, not all of whom I have met in person, but it doesn’t make them any less my friends. If you don’t sell hundreds of books, it does not mean you are not a ‘real author’. I have a small group of followers who read my stories as I write them. Even if they don’t buy my books, although some have, it does not make them any less my fans.
And, going back to that UK-based organisation? In a business world, which seems to be their focus, they should perhaps remember that they are not the only organisation out there for romance writers.
LINKS TO THE BOOKS IN THE DIARIES OF THE CWN ANNWN and HELLFIRE PACK SERIES
“Bound”, Volume 1 of The Diaries of the Cŵn Annwn
Amazon.com $0.99: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B016TQFBNY
Amazon.co.uk £0.99: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B016TQFBNY
Smashwords.com £0.00 (Free): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/589130
“Alpha”, Volume 2 of The Diaries of the Cŵn Annwn
Amazon.com $0.99: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01ENZ972O
Amazon.co.uk £0.99: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01ENZ972O
Smashwords $0.99: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/631708
“Beta”, Volume 3 of The Diaries of the Cŵn Annwn
Amazon.co.uk: £3.05 https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01KB20OL6
Amazon.com: $3.99 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KB20OL6#nav-subnav
Smashwords: $3.99 https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/660156
“Merysekhmet”: A love story with bite
Amazon.com: $1.12 or free on Kindle Unlimited https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XJPK5S7
Amazon UK: £0.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XJPK5S7