Monday, May 21

Sales and Depression

Loretta originally posted part of this on The Wild Rose Press loop. While I don’t necessarily agree with everything she had to say, I thought she made her point very well. I hope you let us know where you stand on the issue of why writers publish the way they do and what they hope to gain from it. For now, welcome Loretta C. Rogers. – Liz Flaherty

Recently, the topic on The Wild Rose Press loop has been about disappointing sales numbers. While I enjoy reading the topics, I’m mostly a lurker. But, I found one particular discussion about sales and depression especially interesting, so I thought I’d chime in.
Like many of those posting, I’m living my dream and absolutely enjoy being a TWRP author. I didn’t become a writer hoping to become the next Nora Roberts or John Grisham, or even having my novels made into movies. I write because it makes me happy, and if I make a little money, then that is a wonderful side benefit.
My point is, I have author friends who have self-published, put their books up for free, done all the “right” things and have experienced absolutely “No” sales. Zero. Zilch.
I have author friends who have agents and are published with the larger publishing houses. They have the same complaints—low sales. Maybe you’re thinking, “Yeah, but they’ve got that big advance.”
Getting the advance isn’t everything, especially if those authors don’t make their sell-through. Many who don’t make their sell-through risk not getting another contract. Personally, that’s not the kind of pressure I want in this phase of my life.
Think about the shelf-life of books published by the big 6. Our (TWRP) books have an infinite life span, whereas books published by many Harlequin imprints and other large publishing houses have a shelf-life of approximately three weeks. Then the covers are stripped off the books and shipped back to the publisher.
Let’s talk about royalty rates. TWRP offers an excellent percentage on royalties, whereas royalties with the big six is approximately 6%; but if Wal-mart slaps a $3.95 price tag on the book, do the math—how much of that does the author get?
Sure, B&N doesn’t want to host book signings for POD books. So what? I’ve seen authors sit with stacks of books from Harlequin, Avon, St. Martins, etc. and never have anyone approach the table. Talk about depressing; that’s a real downer.
Be creative and set your own book signings. In the fall, I take advantage of local festivals. Sometimes, I sell 40 or more books, sometimes five or six. The point is not the amount of books I sell or the money I do or don’t make, but that I’m reaching the reading public and having fun at the same time.
In this business there is no magic bullet. What works for one author may not work for another. The thing is—if you approach writing and getting published with the mindset of making money, then you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Personally, I don’t track my sales. I write, I stay in contact with my reading public via newsletter, blogs and FB. I don’t tweet and I don’t spend money on ads.
Writing is an enjoyable outlet for me. I know people who sit in front of the TV all day. They gripe about their aches and pains, they complain because they have nothing to do, they dwell on when they were young and how much they miss the old days. I don’t want to be like those people. Instead, I do what makes me happy. I write; and when people email to let me know how much they enjoy my books, I’m even happier.
If writing and not making enough money to quit your day job or to go on that dream vacation; if writing and low sales numbers causes you to be depressed, then it may be time to step back and reevaluate your goals—why do you write? For the joy of creating wonderful stories and bringing a few hours of pleasure to the reading public, or is for the sole purpose of making money?
I like what Vonnie Davis (another TWRP author) said, “Fulfill your dream…success is slow coming.”
Loretta C. Rogers
Heart of Excellence & Beacon Award winner

Read about Loretta’s The Wild Rose Press release
Buy Link to Forbidden Son from – The Wild Rose Press
Buy Link to Forbidden Son from –

Blurb: High school dropout Honey Belle Garret never thought of herself as poor white trash—just poor. In the summer of 1964, her world changes forever when sinfully sexy and very rich, Tripp Hartwell III offers her a ride in his convertible. When Tripp proposes marriage, it is the happiest day of Honey Belle’s life. Then, unbeknownst to Tripp, dire threats from his father force Honey Belle and her family out of town and into silence. Hidden in another state, Honey Belle determines, successfully, to make something of herself. She keeps a scrapbook of news clippings about the young man she had to leave behind. Seventeen years later Tripp is not only a lawyer like his father but a Vietnam War hero and a United States senator. Before anyone can question the strong resemblance between him and a new congressional page, Honey Belle has to tell Tripp the truth. And he must come to terms with the knowledge that he has a son by the woman who stole his heart and then mysteriously disappeared.


He towered over her, his stare drilling into her. His eyes seemed to capture her from hair to high-heeled shoes. Clearing her throat, she tried to appear businesslike. 

“Have I changed so much that you don’t recognize me, Tripp?” This wasn’t at all the way she had rehearsed the scene in her head. She didn’t blink an eye—afraid any reaction might betray her uncertainty. 

“Look, miss, I don’t have time for twenty questions. I meet a lot of people, if—” 

She wanted him to remember, to remember her, to remember—what? That seventeen years ago she had walked away from him? That she hadn’t had the courage to stand up to his father and fight for her position in the life of the man she loved. That for sixteen years she had raised the son he never knew existed. She should never have left Tripp. So much guilt, for so many mistakes. She had no one to blame but herself. 

She lifted her eyes to his. “Seventeen years ago, in Charleston, South Carolina, I asked you to take me for a ride in your shiny white BMW.” 

The silence of the office closed in around her.



  1. Even though I don't agree with all your points (I love "creating wonderful stories and bringing a few hours of pleasure" but the money matters to me, too), I enjoyed how you presented them.

    Thanks for visiting the Wranglers today.

  2. Do what you love and you always win. I write because it's my first love. I've been fortunate that no matter what job I had, I got to write something somewhere as a part of it.

    Now I have my first novel coming out! How blessed am I? I know rhat this is exaxtly where I should be right now.

    If you do any job only for profit, you're cheating youeself out of the best part of life. Find what you love -- then pursue it like your happiness depended on it!

  3. Good post--I try hard to write for me, but it's difficult not to get caught up in the pursuit of sales. It's a hazard of the industry, I think. Best to keep a Zen attitude and simply enjoy the writing, but pursue the goal of being published. Writing with a purpose doesn't invalidate the love of the game.

    1. Right on, Nan. I think you better write with a purpose unless it's a journal. I do, however, sometimes wish I could write "genre" stories. I have a friend who has published 8 or 9 books with Zebra. She's written 3 mysteries since, finally changed agents in hope of getting one published, and is now the author of a self-published YA. Nothing seems to be easy, no matter what you may have in mind.

  4. What a thought-provoking article! I write because I love to and have a passion for it. I've been doing it since I was six years old and will continue to do it as long as I live, sales or no sales.

    I've recently sold my first book (releasing in the fall) and, as you mentioned in your article, have no delusions about becoming the next Nora Roberts or selling the story to Hollywood. I am, however, driven to be successful in anything I do; it's part of my nature. So, while I am not going to be put off writing by medicore sales (and, yeah, I'm sure I'll be bummed if that happens), I will definitley do everything I can to promote the book.

    Either way, win or fail, it won't stop me from writing. I have too much passion for it . . . which is why I would love to do it full-time. And that means sales. :)

  5. I'm like Liz - I write because I love creating stories...but I'd love a little cash to accompany the outlay of blood, sweat and tears on my keyboard. You do make a good point, though: creative pursuits need to be followed because you love what you do at the core. Because if you don't love the characters or story or the painting or photograph you create that will shine through...

  6. I love writing, been at it 20 yrs before I got a contract, but I'd like to see some sales, too.

    I didn't stick with this all this time to get rich, but I would liek to make a little money.

    1. And enough to allow claims for expenses on tax returns!

  7. From your Isabelle, Brides, and Trails, it is easy to see you enjoy writing. We readers bennifit from your joy!

  8. I think it is important to write because you love to. Making money is an extra most of us want--and it validates our work. I think most writers, in the end, write because they feel this compulsion--they MUST write!
    Roni Denholtz

  9. I agree with Loretta--TWRP has been very good to me as a newbie. I loved my editor and feel so fortunate to have had my first novel published with them.

    However, Mae Claire and I must be very similar. :) I think it's the competitive thing in me. I'd just like to be able to waltz into any big name bookstore someday and see my book on the shelf. Vain, I know, but there it is!


  10. A good post and thought-provoking. I do find low sales discouraging because I want to reach as many readers as possible. But as you say, lets not forget why we started writing in the first place--because we really enjoy being creative.

  11. I have thoroughly enjoyed everyone's comments. It's very obvivous that the reason you write, first and foremost, is because you love to create.

  12. Today I got a call from a woman I recently met who is reading my first book. She told me she never reads but can't put my book down and just loves it. As she described the characters and what she loves about them, all the passion and heart that I put into that book flowed through me. That is why I write, too, Loretta - for the sheer joy of sharing a story that might touch someone else!

  13. I'm going to have to agree with all of the above. I write because the thought of not doing so is like a spike to my soul. Personally, I want it all. I want the pure joy of weaving a story. I want readers to connect with my characters and thrill to my story lines. I'm not greedy and have no interest in living Nora's life. I simply want to make money doing something I love. Fortunately, I'm enjoying the promo process which is so new to me and hopefully that will translate into sufficient sales. As for the future, I'll keep doing what it takes to achieve all of the above. Just saying.