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Learning to Surf

I spent a week in Florida recently in a hotel on Daytona beach. Beautiful hotel, beautiful ocean, beautiful beach. You get the idea. Anyhow, I was blessed with some waves coming in from some mild storms that happened a few days and happened to see several people surfing on them. I was clueless as to how to surf, but I decided I want to learn how someday. The rest of this post, however, has nothing to do with the ocean or with surfboards or the ocean, for that matter.

It’s really about the changing tides writers must deal with when it comes to book sales. And by writers I mean me – I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’d wager other people have similar experiences. Right now, for me, the ocean of book sales is calm. Calm, by the way, is not always a good thing. By calm I mean very little movement, or maybe only the little swells best used by someone with a boogie board.

Back in February my books started taking off. I’d already grown disillusioned with KDP select so I wasn’t using it much at all. Instead I just focused on writing and releasing books. My daily sales grew at a rate that astonished and thrilled me! I climbed from 30 books a day to 50 and then by the time March was in full swing I was nearing 100. April saw my sales climbing to 200 on a daily basis, and in May I’m not sure I had a single day under 200, with many breaking 300. I was in the zone and loving it! Now it’s June, and suddenly things have changed. I say suddenly because it’s been just like that. Over the last week my sales have tanked. I was amazed (in a good way) to see I still broke 100 yesterday.

So WTF happened? I’m still writing and releasing more books as rapidly as my fingers and editors will allow, yet the sales have dropped. This is interfering with my kids college plans, not to mention my own desire to write full time. Can I blame Amazon for tweaking their algorithms yet again? My guess is that there is something along those lines behind the drop in sales. Frankly, I can’t imagine anything else causing a drop so severe. I could shake my fist at Amazon and beg them to bring back the old formula, but I might as well stand and curse at the ocean for a still day.

As a creative and driven guy, it’s easy to see that wallowing in self-pity isn’t going to fix the problem. Action begets action! The answer then is to push forward. I’ve been fortunate to have experienced the successes that I have thus far. I’ve sold thousands of books (and given away tens of thousands), but I desire to sell hundreds of thousands more. Sure, maybe I’m greedy, but I’m a very thankful kind of greedy!

My plan, in case you haven’t figured it out, is to weather the storm. Keep writing and publishing. Perhaps I’ll stay in becalmed waters, but the more material I have available, the more people it will reach and the more word will spread. It might be slow, but it beats climbing out of the surf altogether. Long term success in this field, I believe, comes from perseverance and in having a large library for readers to choose from. I’m branching out into different genres and trying many different things, all geared at broadening my offerings. It may not be a big help, but I guarantee it’s not going to hurt me. And at the end of the day, every book sold is a exactly that, a book sold.

So my fellow writers, take heart if you don’t see things taking off as you’d like them too. You may never ride a massive wave, but as long as you keep trying you should have some level of success that makes it worth it. And for my readers – thank you so very much for reading and enjoying what I’ve done thus far. Take heart from this that I will continue to write and continue the stories you’ve loved, as well as attempt to introduce you to new stories and new characters that are also deserving of your love.

And my apologies for the excessive use of oceanic metaphors and allusions. No dolphins or other marine life were harmed in the creation of this blog post.

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

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