Hitting limits

Created almost 3 years ago by Suaine with 9 comments
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Close up A.C. Weston · Author · added almost 3 years ago
(Addendum: all orders count as individual orders when it comes to reaching a pre-order goal. When you’re talking about a contest, they only count unique individual readers, regardless of how many books the reader orders.)

(Additional addendum: @Christopher Huang is the coolest of the cool guys.)
Lj icon me Suaine · Author · added almost 3 years ago
@Christopher Huang that’s good to know, thank you!
Cxh300 Christopher Huang · Author · edited almost 3 years ago · 1 like
@Suaine One person ordering five books counts as five orders, regardless of whether that person is ordering for themselves or whether they’re ordering on behalf of four other people. The system can’t tell the difference.
13124629 10205970513729845 8936253962706374023 n 1 El · Reader · edited almost 3 years ago · 1 like
@Suaine So glad AC tagged me in this cause honestly, while English is my first language, I can totally relate to you on every other level you mentioned. 

Goodness knows I’m broke beyond reason. I can’t tell you how many stories on this site I’ve seen and want to purchase immediately, but I can only do it every so often cause there are so many other things i have to worry about paying for first. I can’t pre-order swap like many others can and sometimes I feel like they take it personally, when really, I just don’t have the means to get their books at that time. 

My anxiety has also felt crippling at times during this campaign I’ve been running. To have been in the top 3 of the nerdist contest at one point and then dropped to 10th was crushing. To then go almost 20 days without a pre-order was even more so. I hit a moment where I was convinced I was going to take down my book and forget it, cause I’d never be able to compete with the other incredible authors on here.

Then I picked myself up, despite the angst, and kept fucking going. I got 26 pre-orders in a week. I launched my website. I’m nearly half way to Quill. Like @Ricardo Henriquez said, IT’S WORTH IT. Putting yourself out there to a world that might not even give a crap is BRAVE. You can do anything you believe you can do, you just have to keep faith that you have what it takes, cause the truth it, you do.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’ve got questions, need help, or even a virtual hug. Inkshares is building a great community of authors who are willing to help you at every turn, so make use of that. Know you are not in this alone.
Lj icon me Suaine · Author · edited almost 3 years ago · 1 like
I have to say, everyone on the site has been an absolute gem to talk with and get to know. It really does seem like a very kind and nurturing community and I can’t wait to get to know everyone over the next few months.

Tal - it’s true that I have to get out there and I know it. The anxiety is a problem but it’s not going to stop me. I’ve been through quite a lot in my life so far, not all of it is something I’d want to talk about in public. But I’ve learned that I can survive just about anything and writing a few emails or tweets, no matter how scary, is not going to bring me down. I hope :D

A.C. - I’ve actually started to look into pre-paid credit cards, which is an option. The bigger problem is that people around here just don’t generally have them. Debit cards are the way to go in Germany and very few people who don’t order a lot of stuff online or travel abroad ever need them. I honestly don’t know how that might affect orders, like, if one friend orders for five, does that still count as five orders?

Ricardo - I already told you how much it means to me that you would choose my book for the syndicate and I want to say thank you again. Our community here is small, but online I’ve truly found the place and the people I belong with. And writing this book is about half for myself, the girl who needed to read this book when she was growing up, because let’s be real - you can never go wrong with queer people in space - and half for the community, because I know how thirsty we all are for books about people like us doing stuff and being heroes and flying bad-ass space ships.

I’ve already learned so much in the last few days and I can say with some certainty that I want my books to be published here. It’s the compromise between true self-pub and traditional that I was always looking for. I’m not goint to pretend it will be easy, but I’m looking forward to it.
10492145 10152537787574467 5636434093663626414 n Ricardo Henriquez · Author · edited almost 3 years ago · 3 likes

You and I have a lot in common: we are both queer, our first language is not English, and we both struggle with anxiety.

I read your excerpt and I reached out to you because I thought it was good. You have talent and you have a good story to tell. I believe in it and I’m sure many others will.

Crowdfunding is not for everybody. For people like us, it requires getting over many fears and it triggers anxiety in its worse way. But this is my conclusion after getting my book funded: the struggle is worth it.

I’m half way through the production process of my book and I cannot tell you how many times I have cried just moved by small things that I never thought would happen to me. When I received the first round of covers with my name in it; when I read my own bio in the back of my book’s jacket and realized what a long way I have come since I came to this country 15 years ago. I say do it. Go for it. Face your anxiety and keep pushing because the price is worth it.

Now, to how you are funding your book. My position on this is not the most popular in the site but I stick by it. You are not only selling your book you are selling yourself, your story. This campaign is not about reaching to people who will read your book, it is about reaching to people who care enough about you to help you make your dream come true. When your book is out on bookstores you will get readers and fans of your work, now you are looking for supporters. The ladies of my town’s senior center where I volunteer giving rides on election day bought my book. They will never read it and that is ok. They bought it because I’m nice and they think my accent is hysterical. I’m thankful to them.

This means that it doesn’t matter if your circle doesn’t  speak english. 1/3 of my books were sold to friends and family in Chile, of them 2 speak English. That means that about 300 people who can’t read my book paid for it anyways. 

Sit in front of you computer, open an excel sheet and make a list of every single person you know (everybody) every friend you have on facebook, every relative, every acquaintance. Then go through the list and think how much can each person afford to support you (not if they will or not, but how many books you think they can afford to buy) then either go and talk to them or send a personal message to every single one of them asking them to get your book. Follow up, over and over. People will forget, not because they don’t want to support you, but because you are not a priority and that is ok. follow up until they pre-order.

But for this to work you have to be brave, that is all I ask you. Be brave because people like me have your back. I cannot get you 750 orders, but I can get you 10 and the support of my Syndicate. Just know you are not alone.
Close up A.C. Weston · Author · edited almost 3 years ago · 4 likes
You need to meet @Ricardo Henriquez and @Elayna Mae Darcy (or do you already know her? I forget... someone said they know you).

Ricardo started the Write Out Loud Syndicate, which is in the phase of searching for books to support and discovering that there might not be enough books by/about LGBTQ+ people for the syndicate to continue. It’s rough to realize that Inkshares has only a small LGBTQ+ community right now, but it will grow.

As for the anxiety, I have that, too! You just have to find your way of connecting with people. Individual requests are pretty much the main way you will get any orders - lots of people find Facebook messages to be successful, others get hundreds of orders asking in person at conventions. Find your way of reaching out, and also always try new things... and then let yourself rest so you don’t die.

RE: Language, that’s rough. I hope you can find your target audience via the magic of the internet - where we can all find out that we’re not alone, and there are thousands of other people like us! Yay!

As for the credit card thing, I honestly don’t know - don’t trade pre-orders (I’m not a fan of that strategy at all), but maybe you know someone IRL willing to let you pay them cash to buy orders on your behalf with their card? Then you can take cash from your friends and pay the person with the card, and the shipping address won’t matter as much because hopefully you’d know all of these people and you can hand them the book in person.

I like your conclusion; it’s the same one I have had to rely on many times - I love my book and I believe in it. It won’t be easy, but I think this way of publishing is the future and it’s worth it even when it is hard.

Welcome to Inkshares. I’m glad you’re here!

Tal bio Tal M. Klein · Author · edited almost 3 years ago · 6 likes
Hi there and thank you for being so forthcoming. I don’t think I have solutions to all your obstacles, but perhaps I can offer some perspective as a fellow newbie.

1.  You listed anxiety as your primary concern, so I’ll address that first. In the US we call self-promotion "hustling." Most creative people I know are not very good at hustling, some because of the anxiety issues you mentioned, and others because they feel their art should speak for itself. For the most part, crowdfunding is a hustler’s game. There are some who manage to succeed without hustling, but they are the rare exceptions. One alternative avenue you might want to consider, if you feel strongly about your craft and narrative but hate hustling, is to pursue publishing through a more traditional route, i.e. send your manuscript to agents and attempt to get a book deal that way. There will still be anxiety in dealing with agents and facing rejection, but you won’t have to deal with the anxiety of asking your acquaintances to part with their money.

I still experience similar anxiety every time I ask someone to pre-order my book, but I’m what you call a "giver." Every time someone I know asks me to support something they’re doing, whether it’s helping them move or contributing to a charity race, music, girl scout cookies, whatever - I support them. In a bar or a restaurant, I’m always the one who picks up the tab. I never ask for anything in return. I like giving. So, in my mind, making this ask of people to support the book is not a Bad Thing, because:

- I’m not asking for much
- I really believe they’ll like the book

I hope this helps, somewhat.

2. The LGBT community here and everyone online is very supportive and nurturing. Have you considered reaching out to the Write Out Loud Syndicate here? 

3. Trading pre-orders is frowned upon. It’s not a practice you should think of as "necessary" in order to succeed. You’d probably be even more successful in getting Inkshares authors to pre-order your book by simply engaging with them in meaningful conversation rather than doing order exchanges.  Asking your friends for things like a cover or to beta read your book doesn’t always have involve money. I do lots of favors for my friends which in the business world would translate to thousands of dollars, and they do the same for me. You’re a baker? If I was  an artist I’d gladly do a cover in exchange for baguettes and cookies :) There’s enormous power in community. Foster your own personal creative circle, and always give four times more than you receive. It’s a great model for living.

I’m not sure if this helps or not. You’re not alone here, this is an amazing community. We’re here for you.
Lj icon me Suaine · Author · edited almost 3 years ago · 6 likes
I’ve been thinking about how Inkshares and the Geeks & Sundry contest have showed me a whole new world and also some of the limits that I’ve encountered in the last few days.

1. Anxiety - a big part of crowd-funding is pestering people you know until they buy your book, but personal interactions and especially ASKING PEOPLE FOR STUFF triggers my anxiety. A couple of days ago I was this close to a panic attack. And there’s not really good advice to help with that except to know that it’s normal and will pass.

2. Language - I’m German and even though I absolutely believe in my ability to craft some good English prose, I’ve encountered a very different but related problem: none of my local social circle speak English well enough to order a book or help me market. There’s also not exactly a sizable English-speaking audience for queer science fiction.

3. Money - I’m a pastry baker, I get minimum wage and work occasionally gruelling hours. I can’t afford to trade pre-orders with the community here. Even more problematic, I don’t own a credit card and neither do many of the friends who might want to buy a book from me. I have super talented friends but not enough money to pay  them to design a cover or some background art.

So a couple of days ago I figured I’d absolutely hit my limit of things I could do. I despaired like a romance novel heroine at her worst. Community building is a fight against my own pathologies. Money seems an insurmountable obstacle. I can’t share this burden with my friends and family. But every day I have renewed hope.

Do you know why? I absolutely believe in my story and my ability to tell it. No matter what happens, that’s not going to change.

I’d love to get some more insight from all Inkshare veterans though and build some new relationships right here.