Sep 3, 2015

Fresh Start

I've been debating whether or not to post this for a long time. I was worried about seeming like I'm moaning, or that it would be unprofessional of me. But when I get down to it, I've been dealing with some rough stuff for a while now and I want to make a clean break, start things fresh. So I need to get this off my chest. This isn't a plea for help, and I don't hold anyone to blame, it just is what it is.

The fact of the matter is my career isn't where I'd hoped it would be, three years on from my first book release.

When Locked Within came out, I was on top of the world. I watched sales drip in, figuring that they'd pick up as the rest of the series came out. They didn't.

I tried my hand at self-publishing with Lady Raven, attracted to the chance to have full control over things like release schedule and cover design. It was exciting and new. I thought branching into a new genre would open me up to more readers and help get my career break out. It didn't.

I released Red Skies, the second in the series, hoping that would prove I wasn't going to leave the series idle, and at least get me some more sales and attention. But it didn't.

Sales of Red Skies are the lowest for any book I've ever written. Practically non-existent.

I've messed up somewhere along the way. And now I have to figure out how to get back on track.

The upshot of this is I've sunk money into a series that hasn't paid out even close to enough for me to break even. And I can't justify that kind of spending anymore. So I don't know when I'm going to be in a position to begin work on the next book in the Lady Raven series. I had planned on having the third book out in time for Christmas, but that won't happen. I can't even commit to saying it'll be out next year, because I just don't know when I'll be able to afford it.

I've considered Kickstarter, of course, but I worked out that if the number of people I'd need to back a project were to simply buy Lady Raven and Red Skies, I wouldn't need a Kickstarter to fund the next book.

I may look into crowdfunding for a separate self-publishing project at some point, but I don't see the benefit in trying to convince a thousand people to fund the third book in a series none of them will have read.

I need a new plan, whether it takes me to querying agents and publishers or I keep self-publishing. I've got some book ideas, and I'm going to start work on one of them soon.

I've considered this from multiple angles, trying to work out the best course to take with my next book, but most solutions seem to involve galvanizing an existing readership, which in my case is quite small. I am very open to any advice or resources on this, as I'm still trying to figure out where I need to go from here to get my career to where I want it.

I want to go forward from this with my head clear and without any baggage. I've felt like a failure and I've felt like a fake, and neither of those is healthy. Neither of those will get my career going.

It's time to get back to work and move on.


  1. Dear Paul,
    You are neither a failure nor a fake. You are simply an unknown author trying to find an audience. That is daunting. I'm in a totally different position since I am much older and have no intention of making a career out of writing, but I totally understand about spending money that you will not make back. I am about to self publish my debut novel and am spending a great deal to make this happen. I have all the same feelings you describe here. All I can say to you is I had to write this book - I had no choice. And I don't feel I have a choice about putting it out in the world. All we can do is do what we feel called to do and hope it works out. I wish you so much success as you continue to figure this out. It ain't easy.

    1. Thanks. I'm definitely not giving up writing. It's just difficult putting so much in and not seeing anything in return.

  2. Hi Paul, Best not to judge the worth or value of your talent by book sales. Every year a million new books are published, making this an extremely competitive field. Keep writing and don't give up. Think of it as your art, something you must do to express what's in you, rather than a way to make a living. Btw, my husband Bruce is a big fan of yours. He's read all the Memory War books and has really enjoyed them.