The truth is (in my best Sherlock Holmes voice) I haven't the foggiest. As I try desperately to manage my time more effectively and not write myself to death, it turns out I'm worrying myself to death. You wouldn't believe all the factors that run through my head about why a book may or may not appeal to my audience. I'm tearing my work apart and that is never a good thing.
I can tell you for sure what doesn't work, everything I've tried so far. Advertising in every form I've tried thus far has been absolutely pointless. I haven't seen a definite increase in sales from any one thing. I've seen a temporary jump here and there that might be because of an online ad, but who knows. There isn't any way to know for sure. Print ads have been the biggest waste of money so far, especially if you hire someone to format your ad, and then (of course) you have to pay for the ad space. A very small ad in a magazine that targeted my audience and got good circulation cost me about $220. My sales on that book for the quarter were only around 300 copies. There was only an increase of roughly 50 copies more than usual. Not worth $220.
I keep doing my best to write quality stories. I know that I put the work in and I have faith in my work. I write the kinds of things that I would enjoy reading. That's got to be worth something, right? At least I'm not turning out crap and expecting people to buy it. I'm putting my heart and soul into my work ... and sales are down. But hey, at least I'm selling a product I believe in.
Lately, that's all I've got. I try to share advice here that I think will be of value to other writers. The truth is, sooner or later, you're going to be hitting your head on a brick wall too, wondering why your books aren't selling.
It's not just my self-pub titles either. Sales are down with my publishers as well. And from the other authors I speak with from time to time, it's the same for them. So, I can take a great big breath and calm down a little. This doesn't mean I suck, right? No, I really don't think so.
I have no idea what to think. I'm going to keep plugging away on my weekly word count goal and try to figure out my next move. Should I proceed to self-pub my next title like I was planning? Or would it be helpful to try submitting it to a large publisher? If they offered me a contract, would that help me gain more exposure? It's possible, but there's no guarantee. Then again, my titles on Amazon could sale like crazy overnight. It happens all the time for no apparent reason.
As you can see, I have no clue what to do next. The only thing I know for certain, is I'm going to keep working on this book.