An interesting thing happened to me during the horrible collapse of my book sales and income in 2011/2012. I ended up making the quarterfinals in a screenwriting contest!
At this point, I reached a definite crossroads in my career. Should I pursue screenwriting seriously? At my age???!!!
At the beginning of 2012, I attended a seminar on indie filmmaking. By that time, I had decided to seriously pursue screenwriting, and I understood that filmmaking was a group effort. The seminar was also recommended (well, really sold) as a good way for screenwriters to better understand the business.
I attended the seminar (nearly killing/crippling myself in the process, but that’s another story) and realized as the speaker spoke of matters related to financing that filmmakers were using the Internet in ways authors could and should be doing.
I also realized that most authors were trying to make bestseller lists and probably catering to Amazon, as much as they could. That was exactly what I’d been doing all along, not realizing the devastating impact this would eventually have for indie authors who chose to remain in a non-exclusive arrangement with Amazon.
Starting in 2012, my so-called writing business began hemorrhaging money. I was so far in the red, I was beyond crimson. In desperation, I tried various promotional services. I signed up for someone’s course on creating lead magnets and doing joint giveaways and newsletter swaps. But I wasn’t seeing the downloads. Wasn’t getting the sales.
I experimented briefly (and unhappily) with making one of my titles Amazon-exclusive for three months. The result was many, many free downloads and
nothing little to show in terms of long-term gain.
Meanwhile, authors were adapting in various ways to the situation. And, slowly, they began to open up about various problems with a certain online retailer/web services company.
When things were looking bleak, I finally faced the facts. I needed to do something. I couldn’t keep spending money on a losing business. But it required a change in many assumptions I had, about a lot of things.
And one of them is my ability to tell you my side of the story.