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Sunday Update – December 14, 2014

Remember that book I started writing last week that I was super excited about? I'm almost 20k into it and completely doubting myself. I was just looking at sales numbers for last month and the month before that, and wondered, “Do people even want these kinds of books?” Because it certainly doesn't look like it. I've given away more books in the past two months than I have sold, and I've had ebook returns to contend with as well. I write stories with families, friends, and love interests, and I never write these popular dominating heroes everyone seems to love. The hero in this book is a quiet, Japanese-American guy who is just as unsure about love as my heroine. He is not the type to jump in and declare himself if she's going to turn him down. He's the most realistic guy I've ever written (based on plenty of guys I've known myself), and I wonder if realistic is just not popular. Fantasy men are more popular. This is another day when I wonder if I'm even a capable romance author. I swim in a sea with the huge sharks of romance, and some of them are even my friends. Today, I am a small fry.

The questions circling my brain now are: What am I thinking? Who will even want to read this? Why do I do this to myself? I love the story, though, so I'm going to press on and try to leave the doubts behind. I will come back and read this blog entry when I eventually publish it and decide once and for all whether or not my books are even what the public wants.

This post goes to prove that even though I am extremely positive on the outside, I am full of doubt about my work like every other writer.

So that's my Sunday in a nutshell, plus Christmas tree shopping and home decorating.

Time to get a Christmas tree! #instagram365


The Pajonas family tree is up!

25 thoughts on “Sunday Update – December 14, 2014”

  1. Don’t doubt yourself, I love your books and I want to read this book, so you have to write it!

    It just takes time to build your audience and maybe people don’t know what to expect from your books and that’s why they don’t read it. I don’t mind dominating heroes, but I also love the quieter ones and the dominating ones sometimes feel a bit unrealistic. And your books are always so realistic, which is something I often miss in other books. I am sure there are more reader’s out there who love realistic heroes, they just have to find your books.

    btw I love your christmas tree, I hope you have a great christmas season!

    1. Thank you, Lola. At least I know you’ll read the books I write! :) I worry sometimes about market saturation. Everyone is writing books and there are so many of them out there that I wonder if I’ll ever be found or if I’ll just drown in the masses. It’s a tough market and anything can change. I’m looking forward to seeing what new things will happen in 2015. This year was crazy! I can only imagine what will happen next year!

  2. Well, you know how much I love Lee, and he was not the dominating hero of more mainstream romance. But he was forward and direct, which is a more realistic version of that archetype, and way sexier to me.

    I am so bummed that Face Time hasn’t found its audience, because I think it is your best book (with no diss intended to the Nogiku series, of course!) and would be widely beloved once discovered.

    Uncertainty is normal and it’s a good way to self-check and be certain you are writing the best book. This one sounds pretty great to me!

    1. I wish FACE TIME had found its audience too, but I believe the battle for that book isn’t over yet :) It’s got some promotion coming up and I participated in a read & review program recently that has brought in some nice reviews. Maybe some day it will get the exposure it deserves.

  3. If you stick a half-naked guy on the cover & promise some smut, they’ll read it. … And I’ll disown you. :)
    You’re an amazing author.
    I believe in your art.
    Believe in you.

    Readers will come back to literature.

  4. You know I completely agree with how you are feeling because I feel the same about my own stuff. I feel Pieces of it All went against the grain and people don’t like that. It sucks. But YOU don’t. Your work is amazing.

  5. Honestly, readers love Alphas (in romance–you can write quieter men in other genres). Actually, I have detailed theories about what romance readers want in a hero, but really it doesn’t matter. What you should write really depends on your goals. Are your goals to write the sort of books you like to write (I do which is why I haven’t sold many copies myself) or books that will make you money (then add more sex, sex, sex, among other things)? If it’s the former then stop worrying about the latter. If it’s the latter, then you may need to reassess.

    1. My goal is to write the books I want to write and make enough money to offset my investment. I published my first book 15 months ago. I still haven’t made back what I put into that, nor any of the money that I put into the following three books and four short stories. I’m not hoping for a lot. I don’t expect to be a best seller or anything. Writing at mid-list would be amazing for me. I just wonder when my funding is going to be cut off because I can’t even make back 10% of what I put in. So, obviously, I have a lot of assessment to do in the coming months. I set aside a budget to get me through five years of publishing with the caveat that I made some money back. Year 2 is going to test my goals considerably. I’m going to have to shift some things around to make it happen.

      1. If you’re not trying to be able to live off the money your writing provides, then you should be able to reach your goals. It does take time, though, to build up a following. In the mean time, you might try to figure out ways to save money through the publishing process.

        1. I would like to make a livable wage off it someday, like minimum wage? :) I will be budgeting differently next year and then maybe I’ll be able to break even on some titles.

    2. Sorry the process has been discouraging. It’s true that there are a LOT of books out there and it’s hard to find your niche. I have to confess that I haven’t read your books YET, but since you came over to my blog and commented, you put yourself on my radar. That combined with the fact that I read a review of your series on someone’s blog that was incredibly positive (maybe it was even Lola’s? I know I follow her) makes me sure that I’ll be reading it. I guess that’s just how it works sometimes – you have to build up that reputation by word of mouth and hope that enough people will be intrigued enough to buy it! Here’s hoping that 2015 is your year!

      Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      P.S. I just went and bought Removed and I can’t wait to read it!

      1. It probably was Lola :) She may be my biggest fan next to my friend Cori. I was glad to find your blog this past year. As a reader, I was discouraged to see so many book blogs go almost all promo, and the thing I liked about your blog was that you mostly posted reviews and of books I am always interested in. So thanks for continuing to provide such good things for me to read and comment on.

        I think the only reason I am discouraged is because so many around me have found success. I’m truly happy for them all. They definitely deserve it. I just need to stop comparing myself to them. I need to find peace with my work and my niche so that I can continue to write the books I love and want to write (and read). Finding that peace is an exercise, for sure.

        I hope you enjoy Removed! Please let me know if there’s any way I can help you in the future :)

      2. After many years of knitting design, I found that worrying about whether people will want something is one of the worst grooves to get into. We all do it, of course. It’s so hard not to. But the things we design or write are always better when they’re made without worrying about the masses’ desires.

        This week I have been looking at a whole bunch of plotting systems and outlines and ways to do this new novella. The best thing I found was a teeny exercise that you might already do, but maybe it would be helpful. I just made myself write two sentences about why I want to write this book. Not just why I want to be a writer, but specifically for this story in this book. I am sure I’m going to look back at it someday, maybe many times when I’m having these kinds of doubts about the story I’ve set myself to.

        1. I think that’s a great idea, Larissa. To sit down and just write a sentence or two of why the I wanted to write the story, what it meant to me. Really, that’s what matters, right? How and why we put our heart and soul into something.

          Sometimes I get sidetracked by the mixed messages of the book marketing elite. They say, Write What You Want To Write… and they also say, If You Can’t Find A Market For It, You Can’t Sell It. So finding the intersection of those two axioms can be really difficult. All in all, I’d rather write something that I love than try to write to the market. My husband reminded me that it’s all back catalog. He said, “You never know when you’re gonna hit it big. Tomorrow, next year, five or ten years from now. And when that happens, you’ll have all these books for them to read.” I love that he’s always so positive. He helped me climb out of my hole this weekend.

          1. The Tim Grahl marketing stuff is interesting and does not suggest that you write to a market. Do you read his blog? I’ve been listening to a webinar he produced with the author Michael Bunker who did not write to a pre-existing market when he created his Amish Sci-Fi. As you can imagine.

            Since I recently started following you, I’ve found that you are doing the main thing that Tim Grahl says will lead to success. He says that we should all be ourselves on social media and we should seek to be “relentlessly helpful.” Then when it is time to ask people to do something, like buy a book, they are there with you. That’s your market. Not the market for XX kind of book. If the latter were the case, we would not have such wonderful books that cross over sci fi/romance/historical/dystopian lines.

            1. That sounds like fantastic advice. I’ll have to check him out. I am listening to all the Writing Excuses back catalog right now. I’m bound to run out soon ;) And yes, I have that amish scifi on my Kindle! I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for the tips! And for lending an ear :)

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        S. J. Pajonas