Publish? Perish?

The Keeper of Tales came out over three months ago now. I’m pretty proud of it. But something interesting has happened… sales have dropped off. It’s not getting all that much attention, as far as I can tell.

Now that’s not uncommon in the least. Most books make their best sales within the first month of release, and then they sort of piddle out. There’s a reason “publish or perish” is a saying. Course, I usually hear that in relation to college professors, but it applies just as equally to authors.

With every publication, authors get eyes on their words again. And if someone likes what they read, well, they might just check out that author’s backlist. I know I’ve done it before. When I first discovered Neal Shusterman, I started looking for other books he wrote. Same thing with Robert B. Parker. And Peter David. And… well, you get the idea.

In professional writing, generally the more you publish, the more each book makes as readers start searching up that backlist.

What that means practically for me is that if I want to make more sales of The Keeper of Tales, I need to get another novel out there!

There’s a few ways I can do that. They all begin the same way, of course. I need to write!

But once there’s a product, I can attempt to publish that novel through a publisher. For instance, Dragons of the Ashfall will be coming out in December from Dark Owl Publishing. I’m quite excited for that! Publishing this way has definite benefits. For instance, the publisher fronts all the money. I don’t have to pay for art for the cover or formatting or anything like that. The publisher will usually have its own methods of advertising beyond what I can easily reach.

Or I could self-publish. My wife and I investigated that option, actually. It’s definitely more profitable for the author, as the writer doesn’t have to split profits with a publisher. It also allows your own timetable. Dragons of the Ashfall is a series. However, the rest of the series will be released, at least in part, based on the publisher’s schedule, not mine. If I self-published, I could put out more product based on my own schedule, not having to wait for anyone else.

Ah, but the downside of self-publishing is that I would have to pay for everything up-front. Cover? That’s my money I have to spend. Formatting? Editing? Paying for ISBN’s (though there are ways around that depending what you do)? And then you’re in charge of all your own marketing. You need to design how you advertise, pay for it, and monitor it to see how it’s doing.

For me, at least right now, having someone else publish my books is far, far better. I’m not up for the work of marketing yet. That may change, but Dark Owl has treated me so very well. I have nothing to complain about!

But the downside is I do need to wait for their schedule to get the next book out and hopefully also give a boost to my backlist. Sure, there’s only one novel in the backlist at the moment, but I’m planning on that changing!

So yes. I’m getting less sales right now. I’m planning on that changing as more books come out.

Which means patience.

Sigh.

Maybe I should go write something while I’m waiting.

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