Waving The White Flag

S. J. Pajonas April 18, 2016
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This is for all the people that ask me how self-publishing is going. This is also for all those who say, “How are your books doing? You MUST be making money to stay at home and do that!” And this is also for all the people who tell me I just haven’t done enough yet to market myself and my books. If you want to know how my self-publishing journey is going in Mile Three, when I’m still running the marathon, here ya go…

The road to nowhere. #ig2015 #365days #dailyphoto
It’s a long, long road ahead of me. This is just the beginning.

I don’t give up easily. I’m the kind of person who keeps trying and trying and trying, and even if I fail, I usually consider it a chance to learn something new and formulate a strategy to keep going. But there’s something I have to give up on and that’s trying to gain visibility at Amazon. I have tried and tried and tried and poured plenty of money and resources into cracking this nut, and with everything going on, it’s just not possible (right now) for me to make any headway there and find readers. I have done everything: writing in a new genre, Facebook ads, changing my keywords and categories, giving away books, building up my newsletter, social media pushes, putting all of my books in Kindle Unlimited, etc etc etc. None of it works for me. It’s time to wave the white flag and circle the wagons…

Because in publishing news, the Amazon Kindle Unlimited scamming has gotten worse and prompted more blog posts about it. Remember how I wrote about this last month? Even though all of my books are out of KU now, this, unfortunately, still affects me and my books because scammers are dominating the “free” lists on Amazon. I just made REMOVED permanently free again (permafree) and it was buried by scammers almost immediately. I CANNOT WIN. Each time I try to gain my books a little visibility, I lose.

So I’ve decided to take a different tack. I will not game the system. I will stay the course and work on building my platform. How will I do that?

The Game Plan

I will continue to build my catalog of books, including short stories and novellas, on as many vendors as I can. I will not be using Kindle Unlimited until Amazon can clean it up (which I believe they are doing but it may take years or something drastic and I’m not getting involved in it till it’s clean). When I start new series, I’ll do a blog tour. I’ll have a few times per year when I discount my books and pay for advertising. I’ll give away books to my mailing list when I feel like it.

That’s about it. Facebook parties are not effective so I’ll only do them as favors for others. Giveaways will only happen during blog tours. No illegal sweepstakes. No sketchy pen names trying to game KU (because I just don’t have time for it). None of that.

When I think about what has worked for me in the past, guess what the answer is? Blogging.

In addition to my fiction writing, I’ll be publishing non-fiction about Japan, writing craft and self-publishing, and anything else I can think of here on the blog. I’ll offer some deleted scenes and bonus material from my books, and I’ll concentrate on making this blog my author platform. I’ve been blogging a long time and it’s always worked well for me, unlike other things I’ve tried the past three years. Lol. I should stick with it.

This has been a bumpy road for me with hard lessons to learn, and I’ve been very open here about my few successes and many failures. I want to thank you all for sticking around and showing your support as I’ve struggled through all these big shifts. I really appreciate all the notes, the hugs, and the kind words. Love you, guys!

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  • Wonderful post and a great insight into your world of publishing. It is so unfortunate what is happening at Amazon. I had a great few months on the heels of my Book Bub promotions in December and January, but now that has subsided and I’m in the same spot you are. I love your work and you’re such a terrific author. I wish you were given more visibility so people could see that.

    • Thank you, Tracy! You know how I’ve struggled with this and worked hard only to find very little success. I feel like I have a real opportunity here on the blog to gather people who like the same stuff as me so I’m going to go with it. It’ll be a process, but I’ll make it happen!

  • I didn’t realize about the struggles with Kindle Unlimited (I’m going to go read your post about that in a minute). So sorry that your journey has been frustrating – you so deserve to have a wider audience. Wish I knew the “magic formula” to make it happen!

    • I wish I knew it too! But I suspect I just have to work even harder to get out there! 🙂