It is about five years since I started to blog and to write for magazines and three years since I published my first book. Since then I have written two more books and around eight short e-guides.
When you first begin to write there is alway that feeling that no-one will buy your books, but you write them anyway and hope. You are delighted when you make your first sale and then perhaps when you get into double figures. Possibly you get a favourable review and all looks good.
Certainly that was true for me, but then comes the moment when you are reviewing your figures and you see that someone sent one of your books back for a refund. It hurts; how could they? But have you ever bought the long awaited new book from a favourite author and been disappointed? Or taken a chance on something that was well reviewed or caught your interest on the bookshelf and found it not to your taste? That has happened to me many times and there are a good few books that I have left unfinished over the years and found their way into the charity shop. So whilst it hurts as a writer to see one of your offspring rejected it is inevitable that it will happen one day.
If a book returned hurts though the pain of a bad review is a knife to the heart and can leave you feeling down for days if you let it, but again you have to learn to accept it as an inevitability, especially in these days where a couple of clicks is all it takes and on-line booksellers actively seek feedback. It is a fact that people are more likely to complain than praise so accept that you are possibly at least twice as likely to get a poor review and prepare yourself.
You can take the approach of some and just not read reviews; this works for many actors, but I suggest that you do look at what people are saying. When you do get a poor one look at what is said and see if there is anything that you can learn. It might be that the category you have chosen is leading the wrong audience to your book for example. It someone comments on your proofreading that would be worth checking on as would any comments on factual issues. Other things like “too much/too little” or “doesn’t cover” are all useful.
Don’t agonise over it and don’t let it get under your skin though. I know that is easier to say (or write) than to do, but it is the best approach if you want to retain your sanity.
I had little expectation that I would make much money from writing, but delivering features for magazines can bring in a steady trickle.band then you find you start to get the occasional royalty payment. These may be very small amounts, but tot them up and treat yourself to lunch or something. You have earned something from your efforts and let’s face it few of us are going to make it big from our writing. Giving yourself a little pleasure from some income helps to make all of the effort worthwhile.
Whatever it is that you write, keep it up.