I have come to the following conclusion.

Not all books that hit the charts are good.

A lot of excellent books never sell.

You can become a NYT bestseller by targeting carefully and working the system.

What is the difference?

Marketing – which equals getting your book/s out there and VISIBLE, really  VISIBLE.

Now before you read any further don’t think for a moment that I am whining. I applaud and admire those people who have the marketing skill. I may or may not write good books, depending on your point of view (you can see them below!) but I ain’t got the marketing skill, nor do I have the money to pay some person or organisation to do it for me. I cannot even railroad DH into doing any of it either. (you may say aaaah here)

I receive dozens of blogs each week telling me how only Facebook ads work, no, wait, it’s Amazon adds that do the trick.

Twitter – tweet every fifteen minutes and you’ll hit the best sellers. Yeah right, but how do you get people to follow you and who is going to pay for the alarm clock to wake you through the night to send those tweets every quarter of an hour? Oh, there are automatic schedulers? Great, they cost? Ah!


Book promos, “you can’t make sales unless you get your book out there in front of the millions on our mail list and for today only we are offering a 1% discount” – yeah, right!!  Some good, some bad. But then author X sold hundreds on Promo A and when it came to your turn, you scraped in ten. Hmmm.

Book Bub is the only one you make any money on, you do have a spare $600 don’t you? – in the hope your one free book will entice readers to buy the rest of the series. (Do bear in mind your average review rating will go down, it’s a no holds barred audience out there who will download and cheerfully give you a 1 * rating). Is it only writers who will beg a company to accept the equivalent of half a month’s wages to allow BB to include your free book on their list on one particular day only?


List your books on every site you can find, blast the FB groups. Whoops, they dropped down the page way out of sight in seconds didn’t they?

No! Only Pinterest will bring in the sales – widen your audience. Try all the other social media as well and do linger to chat, make friends, what else would you do with your time but write more books?

Let’s have a swap, I’ll promote your book if you’ll promote mine – could work, but then her fans only read vampire stories and yours are sweet Christian romances.

Throw an online party, especially when you have a pre-order up, get hundreds involved – give away free books, bags, pens, bookmarks, t-shirts, shopping bags, any swag will do, don’t even think about the cost of posting, why spoil it?


Pay for ‘how to’ books, or cough up fees to experts who did it and can let you into the secret of their success (note, theirs, not yours).

Reviews, you can’t sell books or get promos without reviews, dozens and dozens and dozens of them!! Go out, find people who don’t know you, are not friends, probably don’t read and browbeat them into scribbling a few lines in the right places telling the world how good your books are. Alternatively, join a review group, read lots of books you would never, ever have checked out of your local library, slobber over them, or, you can give yours away for free to strangers who may or not review once they have their paws on your precious manuscript.

Competitions enter as many as you can find on google, it’s only after you realize a) how expensive they are b) most of them are listed in the Watchdog site as decidedly dodgy c) cough up extra money for the certificate and the stickers d) fight them off for a year as they try to sell you promotional material, or embroil you in a popularity contest making you beg and plead with all your friends to vote for you – a good, bad or indifferent book doesn’t even feature here. But the stickers look great and there is a tremendous sense of satisfaction – unless it turns all your other now ex-writer friends green with envy.

Media! That’s the way to go – get on radio, even better try the TV (forget Oprah that costs a fortune and chances are minimal unless you are best friends with the producer). OK, come down to earth and try the local press, fabulous spread for the cost of a book, wait for sales to hit the heights. They didn’t? Oh. After the radio show then? Was anyone listening?

Get a #1 bestseller sticker. Oh, you got one? How long ago? And now? Yes I know, blink and they’ve gone, and now you’re sliding back down the rankings. Shame.

A web site, Oh My God you don’t have a web site, you need one now! You can’t sell books without a web site. It’s really easy, you can do it yourself. Oh, where are the 3D graphics and the swirling psychedelic images? You must to buy this graphics package, and it will only take six months to crack it.

Blog, blog and then blog some more – only you mustn’t mention your book too often, make friends first and then casually, after a couple of years, drop into the conversation one day that you have written a book or two, or three, or four, or five.

Build your own mailing list, the perfect and only answer. Send out begging tweets and FB posts please sign up here is the link ( yes that’s mine and I’m begging and grovelling in the hope you will sign up (why am I the only one in the group with less than 20K followers who would pay for a bus ticket those other authors have scribbled on.) Ah, problems with your mail provider, you didn’t get subscribers to sign in fifty times and send in a pint of blood? Ah, got cut off? Try upgrading, it doesn’t cost all that much.

By now you have lost all sense of decorum – rather like the change between your first and last maternity appointment – “it’s natural, normal and every day, so stop being such a wuss, take your clothes off!” You have morphed from a shy, reserved, quiet writer into a loud mouthed, pushy virago swallowing bucketfuls of Prozac in your desperation to make your books visible. They never warned you about that did they?


A final word – before you press that button to publish, order in the Prozac, Valium or anti-depressant of your choice and wait for the nervous breakdown.

I’ve tried all of these. What has worked for you? Has anything shot you up next to the great scribes? Please let me know.

And while I’m at it, here are my books –


and my web site of course


151 thoughts on “AM I WASTING MY TIME?

  1. Ah yes, that day, was it over 40 years ago, when I realized, “Hey, wait a minute. This is garbage. What, I say what was it doing on the NYTimes Best Seller list?! Hey, wait a minute, best seller lists do not mean a book is good.”

    And so I started using librarians. Librarian, “What do you like?” Me, “Literature.” Librarian, “No, what kind of stories do you like?” Me, “Anything, any subject as long as it is well written.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Maybe dunedelight – why don’t people use their own names, it’s like referring to a four wheeled buggy – has it right. Libraries are a key.
      I have about four hundred hardback copies of a book that it about to be released in its second edition as a paperback and e-book so I am minded to tour my local libraries and donate five copies of the hardback to each one. Well, maybe ten copies, then I can encourage them to get the reading groups they support interested. That will clear a huge space in my garage and spread the word.
      I’ll put a note in each copy telling readers that the second edition will be slightly different – it has photos, maps, and one of the tales has been swapped- and I’ll include a bookmark showing all my other books as well.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I wasn’t just proposing to log the books with any library directory. That was done long ago. I’m proposing to go in and donate a box of books to each library within about fifty miles of here. With a bit of luk they’ll tell others in the same county and they might order some.


    • So get them printed in Europe. Printers don’t care what language they print in as with PoD it’s up to you to do all the checking and set up. They just print. Lightning Source have at least three print works in Europe and there are many others to choose from. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Most people don’t use their real names online because people get stalked, hacked, harassed. My SO has had their identity stolen 4 times. Three of those times were a huge, expensive headache. Seriously.
    I apologize for inconvenience.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, Lucinda, I feel the pain and I understand it. We are all in the same place flailing around uselessly, knowing we don’t have the resources to do any better. If we didn’t love it, we’d have walked away from it before now. I almost have numerous times, but what the hell else am I going to do?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand the implications of identity theft, but what have you done to make your particularly identity so strong a target for such action? Does it make you so scared you have to hide your light beneath a bushel? You should be crowing about it, reasserting yourself and letting the world know that you are who you’ve always been. I know of eleven other people with the same name as me and I’ve even met four of them face to face. None of us has any problems with our identity because it doesn’t just depend on the name. At least Lucinda (whose real name I do actually know) gives dome indication of her gender with her nom de plume, so comments can be phrased appropriately. Dunelight is rather ambiguous and I’m left wondering….that’s why I asked. All the same, I’m sad if you’ve been scammed. It seems to be a growing disease of the modern era.


    • Oh Grant yes exactly. Today I’m being dragged out to lunch – it’s freezing out there, teeming with rain, winds at 50kmph and all I want to do is write. Why can’t everyone just sit by the fire and tap away on the pc? Blog post coming up on that soon. 🙂


  4. Lucinda, you are very funny!! I hope you do get a wider audience for your books soon!! Have you tried dropping the first chapters only, into urban areas, by blimp?? and at the end of course, your website, and amazon number, so they can buy the rest of the book! When you dod that, you must give me credit for the idea!! No compensation required.


  5. Yes Julie we are – and while I try not to be bothered if I don’t sell any books, I still want to share my stories – whether people want to read them or not – I’m insisting they do!! Those KDO flatlines have a lot to answer for. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lucinda, I have got to that point as well. You have to write and tell your story without trying to please people. Took a while but I feel I am there now. Or else it would all drive you mad 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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