An Author's Nightmare

As a writer, I have many nightmares, but I think the biggest thing I struggle with is validation with my peers. I'm not writing this as a sob story or for attention, just sharing some of my thoughts and ways I've been able to deal with my publishing anxiety.

After Avrin and I published our novella, Coup De Grăce, sales were amazing. We sold 9 copies within the first few days, but then, nothing. Our sales have literally come to a standstill and even with Coup De Grăce on Kindle Unlimited, we still don't even have page reads.

Here are some of the thoughts running through my head:
1. Is Coup De Grăce a terrible novella? Do people hate It?
2. Have I done everything in my power to promote it?
3. Do I really just not have any friends who are willing to read my work?

I think the biggest kicker, and I already knew this, so I shouldn't be surprised, but I really thought with my visibility on social media, we would sell more copies. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this to be conceited, but there have been a number of friends books from social media that I have purchased and read, just because they were my friends. But, I get it, the writing community on Twitter is not to sell books, it's to connect with other authors, so I shouldn't be surprised.

I found myself hovering over the sales page and the reviews for Coup De Grăce, literally checking multiple times a day, but I can't be a helicopter author anymore. So, if you find yourself in my situation, here are a few things that I'm doing to keep myself motivated and distracted.

1. I recently read that once you publish something, you need to prepare to publish again within 18 months, so I have strapped on my seatbelt and I'm on the fast track to getting my next novel ready.
2. I've let my anxiety about Coup De Grăce go. I know that we wrote a good novella, and I'm refusing to let anyone diminish that. I never expected to get rich or become a best seller after publishing one work, so why am I setting my standards so high?
3. I'm going to focus on building my author platform and get everyone excited about my next novel. If you want to be a successful author, people need to know who you are. So I'm putting myself out there. I will try to participate in more writing and author events.
4. I have really dove into getting some of my short stories published. In the past 2 weeks, I have submitted 2 stories for AFOW and 1 to If I can get my name out there and get people to read my other stories, maybe they will be more interested in reading Coup De Grăce.

So, if you find yourself in my situation, just take a deep breath, forget your KDP login for a few weeks, and refocus yourself on your writing. Don't let lack of sales get you down and don't let bad reviews diminish your work. You've accomplished something just by finishing and publishing a novel. You are an author now. Live that moment and don't let anyone take it away from you.


  1. ❤️🤗 This happened to me with my other stories and I often wondered the same thing. Are these even good? Now, I've gone the other way and don't care if people read me or not.😬 That's not a great attitude to have either! Lol. Maybe one day I won't feel so strongly about it.

    Hollie, this was such a great post. I just wanted to say, II kno how you feel and you're not alone. ❤️💪

  2. You’re learning what a lot of us are learning or have already learned. Writer Twitter doesn’t sell books. That’s why it’s called Writer Twitter. With family, friends, and jobs, writers don’t have time to read much—in the little time we have, we’re writing. And for me, personally, if I do have time to read, I’m reading craft books, self-editing books, and marketing books. (If you’re not, high recommend you do so! Never stop learning!)
    The only way to sell books is to write more and buy ads. I did a Freebooksy for the first book in my trilogy back in February, and I’m still getting KU page reads for all three books. And for the first time, people beyond Writer Twitter were reading my books! That’s what you want—to extend your readers outside of Writer Twitter. So I wouldn’t tell you to spend MORE time on Twitter, but less. Write more. Always be writing. Build your back list.
    I’m not sure where you read that you need 18 months between books, but with self-publishing, that number should be 3-4 months between books. If you don’t have the lifestyle to do that, still write as fast as you can (while not losing quality), but success will find you a lot slower. I published the last book in my trilogy in January, and I’ll be publishing again this month. Full-length novels. And I feel that’s slow compared some writers around me.
    Also, if you care, I have a couple things about your book if you want to DM me. (This is Vania, Blogger wouldn’t let me change my name from an old blog I used to have on here many moons ago.) Just some things that I’ve picked up in regard to publishing my own books.
    You’ll get there, Hollie, but it will take a lot of work. You’re not the first to go through this, and you won’t be the last. I’ve been at this for two years, and nowhere NEAR where I want to be. It takes time. Good luck!

  3. What an excellent blog post on the perspective of publishing. I also love your use of 'Helicopter Author', HA! That's so true. I do the same thing. I'm still checking reviews and I need to stop. I found another 1 star tonight. I'm getting over it though.

    Another thing to remember is that the first novel is important and to do it well, but keep in mind it's a first novel. As a reader, I'd never base my like of an author on their first book. <3 <3

    Also, there are MILLIONS and MILLIONS of people in the world. It doesn't happen overnight.

    I applaud you SO much for sharing this, because not many people would be brave enough to admit that the publishing process isn't all cupcakes and rainbows. So be proud of that.

    Can't wait to check out the book once I'm settled. Like I said, it's not my genre choice to read, but I'll still read it.



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