A Reality Check and A New Plan


Writers. We get stars in our eyes from time to time. We see what others are doing and we think, ‘hey, why can’t I do that?’ or ‘hey, why can’t I have that type of success?’

I don’t think that applies only to writers, but people in general. However, for writers, this business is tough and it’s easy to believe that if someone else can do it, why can’t we? Sure, it has become easier to get published, with the Internet and E-books and Web-Zines. The process is so much simpler than what it was even ten years ago. We don’t need big publishers or editors to tell us whether we’re good enough or whether readers will like our work. We can do it ourselves with self publishing now.

Readers have access to all sorts of books, just by turning on their computer and browsing from the comforts of their own homes. If they have an e-reader, then they can browse pretty much anywhere there is a wireless connection. Readers don’t even have to read anymore. They can listen to audio books while driving or working out or just sitting on their couch with their eyes closed.

Yes, the world of publishing has changed. Those changes are good and bad, but that’s not what I want to talk about today.

Just for the record, I’m in a relatively good mood. I’ve been listening to Third Day all morning and I’ve been developing a plan for a new e-book collection.

Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let me back up.

Last night, I was a little down. I’m not going to lie. I was down because the sells of my e-book collection, Along the Splintered Path weren’t all that great for the first quarter. The free download period was great–1400 downloads in that five day period. The sells, not so great. The negative to this is the sells were, as I’ve mentioned twice and this will be the third time, not what I thought they would be. But there are at least 1400 people who now have Along the Splintered Path on their Kindle or computer. That’s a positive in my… err… book. No pun intended.

The way I see it (and believe me, I struggled yesterday seeing it this way) is that the e-book has the potential to garner at least 1400 new readers. And I’ve always said I want readers. Sells would be nice, but without readers, you don’t end up with sells.

It’s a pretty simple equation really: Book + Readers = Sells.

Before I go any further, I would like to thank those people who bought Along the Splintered Path. I would also like to thank those folks who downloaded it during the free promotional week. It’s not lost on me that over 1400 people thought enough of my book, to purchase or download it. Thank you. Sincerely, from the top of my heart.

[[Side Note: I’ve never understood the whole bottom of my heart thing. I would think the most gratitude and love would come from the top of the heart. What’s left over was at the bottom, kind of like backwash in a cup. Yeah, yucky. I know. End Side Note]]

Here’s the real problem: I’m relatively unknown. Very few folks know about me and if that’s the case, then the readers aren’t going to be there and if those readers aren’t there, then neither are the sells.

1 Book + 0 Readers = 0 Sells

So, being down a little, I talked to Tracie McBride (a wonderful writer and really nice gal). We chatted about the business and she stated something I had thought and even read a few times at various web sites and forums: If you have a book out and people like it, then they might look for other things you’ve put out. That’s not how she said it, but I can’t remember it word for word. What it boils down to is if you want to try and get your name out there, then one e-book isn’t going to necessarily do it for you. You have to have a slew of things out there, places where readers can find your work.

You know, she’s right.

When you’re a virtual unknown, even in today’s world of e-books, you have to make your mark and for genre writers, such as myself, you have to really put yourself out there.


Today I have begun the process of putting out a new book.

What? For real and for true?


But, A.J., your sells haven’t been all that great.

Yes, you are correct. However, as a writer, I have to develop a fan base, no matter how small or large it is. If one reader out there likes my work and wants more of it, then I am obligated to that one reader. I hope it’s more than one, but if it’s not, then I want to entertain that individual.

I’ve said before that I wish to put out a collection titled, Southern Bones, and starting today I will be perusing my stories, both published and unpublished to find between eight and ten pieces to put together in an e-book.

I’ve already talked to a very talented artist about creating the cover. Just watching the way his eyes seemed to dazzle when I told him what I wanted made the blood flow a little faster. It got me excited, the way a new book by my favorite author does. Or the upcoming Lord of the Rings LEGOs.

There are a couple of other things up my sleeve, which is funny, since I rarely ever where long sleeves. But I’ll save those for when Southern Bones is closer to being released.

For the record, the stories that have been previously published that end up in Southern Bones will be reworked and probably overhauled before appearing in the e-book. In some cases, that complete rewriting will lead to much better stories.

Stay tuned. More updates as I go through the process of selecting stories and putting the collection together.

For now, I’m going to remind folks about Along the Splintered Path. This three story e-collection was released in January by Dark Continents Publishing and can be found at Amazon here.

Pick up a copy, give it a read. If you have, please leave a review. It is much appreciated by me and all the voices in my head, including Herbie.

Right now there are no stars in my eyes. Only reality. There are things I want to accomplish in this business. In order to do so I have to think reasonably and I have to get more work out there. I’ve always told folks, the only way to get better at something is to work at it. The same goes with sells of anything. If you want it to do well, you have to put it out there.

That’s part of the plan, at least for now.

Until we meet again, my friends…


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