Just four days until the "Kickin' It with Adrienne Kama and Bridget Midway" event in Williamsburg. I have the printed books in hand. The swag bags are nearly packed. Adrienne is ready. My demonstrators are ready. I know readers are ready. I see the posts on Facebook. I've even checked out the hotel layout so I'll know how to have the room set up. I cannot wait to have the registrants see the demonstrators in action. I also can't wait until they have my book, Is This Love?, in their hot, little hands.
As an author, I could chalk the dip in sales to a myriad of things. I didn't promote enough. I'm not writing what readers are interested in now. I'm not publishing enough. Notice how I keep the focus on me and not the readers or my publishers or even global warming. It's because there's no one to blame but me and my actions. I can't really complain about a problem that I, myself, have contributed to in the past.
Readers have been enjoying the wave of low-cost box sets that have been so prevalent within the last few years. They're able to get nine, ten, twelve, and I think I even saw one with fifteen stories, sometimes even full-length novels, for only $0.99! Why should readers pay full price for a novel when they can get several for a tenth of the cost? Even I participated in a box set a year ago.
For authors, it's a way to get to that best-seller status. For readers, it's a great way to learn about authors they may have never heard of or read before, and a way to get cheap fiction. It's the Wal-Mart of romance. No, better yet. It's the Costco or Sam's Club of romance. Big box superstore versus a specialty store.
Authors can't compete with the bargain, but we've become so shortsighted about the immediate result that we haven't considered the big picture. Or maybe we have, but we thought we would get a different outcome. Maybe authors, like myself, thought that if we got involved in a box set and new readers discovered us on top of making a best-seller list, that those new readers would buy our backlist titles. The only thing we managed to do is make readers even more ravenous for similarly packaged works.
So what am I to do? Keep doing box sets? No. For one, it's not as lucrative as one may think. Yes, there's a great chance to garner enough sales to make it to a best-seller list like New York Times or USA Today. Ultimately, you end up feeling like you've sold yourself short. Secondly, it can stifle creativity. It did for me. I discovered very quickly that I'm the kid who plays in the sandbox alone. That's okay. Self-awareness is a great thing.
Recently I saw a video on Facebook of Lady Gaga talking about how she almost quit the music business because she was forced to do things within it that she didn't like. I love Lady Gaga and I think she's a very talented woman, but I posted all the things she'd done wrong up to that point in her career that she said she hated. As I typed the words and reread them, I realized I was talking to myself.
In order for me to be a happy, productive writer, I have to love what I write. I want to give readers great fiction. Not rushed fiction. Not stereotypical fiction. Definitely not predictable fiction. I'm going to stand by my idea that if I continue to write strong romances with great plots and engaging characters that the readers will come.
So, in order to support that claim, I need to cut this post and get to writing.