Last year I had a lot of goals. This year I only have one:
Stay in the game.
After four years out of work, I’m focusing all of my energy on staying afloat. Down to my last three hundred dollars in the bank, my mission is just surviving 2013.
Paperback sales have been stagnant. If it weren't for eBook sales I wouldn't be making any money.
Unfortunately, it's not enough to live on yet.
So one of my goals is to find a way to keep going in the face of all these challenges.
The publishing business is filled with struggles. But anyone who is a part of it knows it’s a long-haul business. I’m praying I can get through this rough period and eventually get to a better place.
With me unable to find that full-time job it’s going to be a struggle to keep my books in print this year and the SJS DIRECT imprint going. All About Marilyn and The Temptation of John Haynes may get one more year in print. That’s all I can afford at this juncture.
Unfortunately, due to my ongoing financial issues the paperback edition of All About Nikki-The Fabulous First Season will be going out of print this August. While the eBook does well sales wise, the paperback has never sold a single copy.
So with a heavy heart I have to say goodbye to the Nikki paperback. It’s a shame too. There's a lot of great work I put into the page layouts for that book and no one but book reviewers saw it. The production quality of that book is on par with anything coming out of a trade publishing house.
In spite of that setback, I’m working towards getting All About Nikki- The Sensational Second Season published as an eBook. I was halfway done with preparing the print version of that book when financial issues and slowing sales forced me to stop production. Seven episodes are complete. Six more need to be done to finish the overall storyline I outlined. Not making any promises, but it or part of it may be one of the offerings for the Summer YA eBook exclusive series.
I’m also working towards getting The Thetas ready for publication. My first full novel after two years focusing on self-publishing and promoting, working on that book has been a challenge. The first act is where I want it to be, but I’m still in revisions of the second and third acts. I’d like to have The Thetas be part of the YA eBook Exclusive series in some capacity. But with all the hours I’ve put into that book (research, editing, and writing) I really want to see it make some sort of financial return.
Due to my financial issues, I’m forced to take paperback production of my future titles to CreateSpace. That’s how Isis: Amari’s Revenge and Isis: The Ultimate fight were produced last year. While I prefer Lighting Source for my print needs due to their large international distribution network, CreateSpace allows me to keep the SJS DIRECT imprint publishing for the interim through Amazon.
In spite of my financial and personal issues, there will be a Summer YA eBook series for 2013 on Smashwords. I love doing that campaign. I love sharing the gift of reading with people all over the world. I’d like to think I’m helping people with that project.
As I persevere in the face of these obstacles I still have some goals set for 2013. Goals such as:
I hope to write more about Writing on the blog this year. I know I make this promise every year, but I’d like to dedicate at least a blog a week to that subject. With my 20 years of experience, I’d also like to think that I could show other writers a thing or two on the subject.
Writing more about Men’s issues. Another subject I love writing about is Men’s issues. Over the past year those blogs are some of the most popular, with some getting over a hundred pageviews. And the feedback I’ve been getting on those Men’s issues pieces has been extremely positive. So I’d love to just dedicate a day just for blogs featuring men’s issues.
No more articles about Black women. In shifting the focus of my writing about Men’s issues, I’ll be leaving Black women alone. While I wrote pieces in the past about Black women, from a Man’s perspective so sistas could understand how men felt about them, I realize it’s just counterproductive to write on that subject. Instead I’d rather focus on how men can improve themselves and improve their quality of life.
Doing something to spur eBook sales. I’ve been brainstorming on ways to get people buying eBooks.
Networking with other writers and professionals in the publishing industry. I think social media has taken me as far it can go. If I’m going to further expand my readership and get more new readers to discover my work I’m going to have to network with other writers and professionals. Now I can’t afford writers’ conferences, but I’m brainstorming ways of meeting new business contacts. I even floated the idea of just standing in front of Rockefeller Center and handing out promotional cards for my books.
Moving past the African-American audience. My demographics for my paperbacks, eBooks and the blog have been mostly White and foreign readers. When I first got into writing, my mission was to serve the African-American audience and enrich the African-American community.
But in spite of my best efforts most brothers and sisters don’t seem to be interested in reading the stories I want to tell.
So I’m pondering moving past that audience of readers to the larger audience of people all over the world who want to read my writing. It’s a scary place for a Black writer like myself, but I feel I have to go where the readers are. That’s the only way I can make money on my writing.
2013 is going to be a rough period for me. If I can get through it in one piece I’ll thank God. I’m just hoping I can make some progress this year and I’m not set back.