I made pretty good progress on my next novel over the holiday vacation. As of right now, the new book has just under 18,000 words which puts me roughly 1/4 of the way done. Of course, that's just the first draft. I am, once again, wondering if spending my time writing is worth it. My weekend mornings are the only time I have to myself to do what I want and for years I've spent the vast majority of that time writing. It was worthwhile when sales were doing good. Recently, sales have been abysmal and I'm finding myself questioning my choice of what to do in the mornings.
Don't get me wrong--I love to write. But writing for a tiny audience with the prospect of not making enough royalty from the book to cover the cost of the artwork and the copyright fee does not make much business sense. I've always treated my writing as a business. I pulled out of Smashwords and went exclusively KDP based on an analysis of sales and a three-month long trial period. If a retail store does not make enough in sales to cover their expenses, the store closes. For a self-published author, if the sales don't make enough to cover expenses and don't provide enough financial compensation to warrant giving up the time to write, then the business should be closed. I'm close to pulling the plug.
I will finish the book I'm working on now. I'm not sure when that will happen because the incentive is not really there. But, this novel could very well be the last of the Peacekeeper series and it could be the last book I write for a long time.
Why are sales slumping? It's hard to say. I think it might be the explosion of self-published authors out there. I do think that if people would provide an honest review after reading a book authors would get more readers. Over the years, I've sold about 10,000 copies of Translight. I have 66 reviews. That's pathetic. I haven't checked, but I've heard many other authors complain about how many times they've found their books on a pirate site. One romance writer found her book on a pirate site before it was even published! So, part of the reason has to be the fact that people don't think they should pay for things. Authors spend a lot of time working on their books and they want to be paid for their effort. Most aren't expecting to get rich. But every author out there wants to be compensated for the time it takes to produce a novel.
It's Sunday. I sort of feel like writing, but I have some other things I want to do as well. I will be forced to decide how to spend my valuable time as soon as I post this. My decision will be based on how much I want to write, what I think I will gain from spending my time doing so, and how much I want to do the other things on my list. This morning, it's a tough choice and I'm still undecided.