Tuesday, September 21, 2010

When I Get Discouraged

I published Choices back in 2007. On the day it was released I was in a hospital bed with a staph infection in my bloodstream, but even though I was deathly ill I still remember wondering about my Amazon sales, hoping somebody bought a book. That first year months went by without a book sale and, even though sales have picked up, today there are still boxes of books stored in a closet in my husband's office (well, I guess I should call it our office now, since I kinda took over most of the space and placed books by other authors of YA fiction on the desk shelves). I have to say that I am disappointed. I imagined every book sold way before this time; not so I could feel like I was somebody important but to know the story was in many hands would help me to feel like I was doing something worthwhile with my life. My sons are older now, so they don't need me the way they used to. When I actually take the time to sit down at the computer and write - having scenes just seem to come from nowhere, writing dialogue, laughing at things a character says or does, getting frustrated with certain characters and situations, resolving issues - there's fullfillment. Choices is an emotional read, though, so writing certain parts drained me. And the whole domestic abuse thing, oh my goodness, I remember being so angry that I had to step away from the story for a while. I'm glad all of that drama is over with. But then again, as long as fiesty Angel is around there will always be drama. And in the next book LaKeeta will give birth. Now, if you've read Choices you know that I can write in a way that can make a reader feel a character's pain, so if you plan to read the next book be prepared.

Okay, so I admit that I didn't promote Choices at all before publication. This was all new to me and I didn't realize the importance of marketing. There were certain reviewers I knew about - reviewers readers seem to listen to - but they don't accept self-published works. So, anyway, after I got out of the hospital and began to feel more like myself again, I did what I could afford - and some things I couldn't really afford - to do to market my debut novel. I also attended a couple of events, which meant paying for a table and buying promotional items and needing money for travel and a hotel stay and gas to and from, etc... but, obviously, it wasn't enough. I didn't have the money mainstream publishers have for my efforts to ever be enough. My plan was to put profit back into the business and use it to publish the next novel in the planned trilogy, but with Amazon getting 55% of book sales (only a few have ordered direct from Kapri Books) I guess I'm just gonna have to be patient. I do thank everyone who has been supportive, but it would be nice if more readers would give Choices a chance. It would also be nice if there weren't people who trash self-published works without even reading a word. I supported self-published novels before Choices. Some stories I liked and some I didn't, which is no different from books I've read that weren't self-published.

I realize other publishers are in this same position; having books that could be selling better. But the difference between them and Kapri Books is that they have more than one book out there so if one doesn't do too well, maybe another will. I only have one book to focus on, so I am still doing what I can do to get it into the hands of readers, reaching out to one person at a time these days.

I entered the Writer's Digest 16th Annual International Self-Published Book Awards. I didn't win but when I get discouraged about this whole book thing, I remember the positive feedback from Judge #5: Author Katrina L. Burchett writes with a warm, confident voice. Her dialogue is realistic and her scenes jump off the page. She knows how to write vivid scenes and chapter endings that make you want to read on. This book is not only entertaining to read but tackles a very important issue and will serve as an educational tool for young people around the world. This was one of the best books in a highly competitive category. This judge looks forward to Author Burchett's future novels... This judge is concerned that the young people who do not yet have a strong connection with God may not be able to relate to some of the characters devotion and belief. However, what makes the story work is that the characters are so openly struggling with all life's questions, including belief in God. The struggles make her story accessible. Great work!