Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Guest post from thriller author Ethan Jones

Author Ethan Jones has a new spy thriller novel out titled Tripoli's Target. Also, his novel Arctic Wargame, the first in the Justin Hall series, is free for the Kindle for the next few days. Yesterday I provided a preview of the new novel, and today I'm proud to have Ethan guest posting below.

Self-publishing and Expectations

As writers, we want everyone to not only read our books, but also love them. The reality is, of course, a bit less stellar and much more sobering. Not everyone will love your books. Not everyone will read your books. In fact, even your closest friends and relatives may not buy and read your books.

Arctic Wargame, my debut spy thriller, came out officially on May 22, although I uploaded it on Amazon.com a few days before that date, just to make sure everything worked fine. I promoted my work extensively on my Facebook personal page (which has almost 200 friends) and Facebook author page and my Twitter account. I e-mailed pretty much everyone on my e-mail contact lists. I put up posters at my workplace and announced it on the newsletter of the church I attend. The result: I can count the book sales from this blitzkrieg with the fingers of one hand.
What is happening here? Why aren’t these people who I consider friends and close acquaintances buying my book? They don’t love me? They don’t care? What, then?

You may have wondered about these things if your experience is similar to mine. The answer to these questions is complicated and lies as much in your expectations as in the reaction of your friends and relatives.

In terms of expectation, there is nothing wrong with aiming high and dreaming big. But self-published writers need to brace themselves for the most likely scenario of a slow start of their career. Gaining recognition and gathering a readership is generally a marathon, not a sprint. Even many traditionally published authors attest to many difficult starts. Allow yourself time and be prepared for a long journey. Nurse patience and develop a hard skin for negative criticism and rejection.

In terms of your friends and relatives, they are not really to blame. At least not en masse. They love you, of course, each in their own way. Some of them are forgetful, fully intending to check out your work, but then life got in their way. Others simply are non-confrontational and do not want to tell you they are simply not interested in the genre in which you write. After all, we have different tastes and what you spent a year or more writing, re-writing and revising may just not be their cup of tea. Then, you could even have the occasional acquaintance or “friend,” who considers your success as a threat or resents it for whatever reason and has has no intention of supporting your efforts.

The bottom line is that even if all your friends and acquaintances bought your book, that is still quite a limited number. The goal of each author is to sell to complete strangers, who pick up your book solely because they heard something good about it, and they want to enjoy a great story. Then, if they like it, they will want to tell their friends about your work.

During the first few days that Arctic Wargame and my two short stories were published I used to check my sales and ranking almost every hour. Now I check it once a month, just to make sure some activity is taking place. I promote my work vigorously and I advise you do the same. We can’t control who buys our books, but there is something we can all control: how much promotion and marketing efforts we put on our products. I know we are writers, but self-published authors have the additional task of becoming salespersons. We need to take our work to the public and hope and pray they will enjoy our stories.

And don’t forget to keep writing. Perhaps your second, third or twentieth book will become a best-seller. At least, that’s my hope.


Ethan Jones is the author of Arctic Wargame—the first spy thriller in the Justin Hall series, released in May 2012, and Tripoli’s Target—the second book in this series, released on October 4, 2012. He has also published several short stories. Ethan is a lawyer by trade. He lives in Canada with his wife and son.


Ethan's blog: http://ethanjonesbooks.wordpress.com is the place to learn about his future works, to enjoy exclusive book reviews and author interviews.

Follow Ethan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EthanJonesBooks

Ethan loves readers' feedback. They can get in touch with him via e-mail at this address: fictionwriter78@yahoo.com . He promises to write to each and every one of them.

His works works can be found here:


Charles Gramlich said...

Your experience is much like mine, and I think you're right on the money about reasons and expectations. We just keep writing, keep publishing, and keep hoping something will break for us. luck you, of course.

Ty Johnston said...

Charles, don't you have some tests to grade. ;-)