Not Making Sales? Don’t Get Mad; Get Realistic

not making sales

I participate in the Writing Community on Twitter. If you follow my account you probably already know that. I see tweets from writers – some traditionally published, others self-published – who complain about low sales of their books. While I do empathize with them I don’t like to hear this constant complaining. If you’re not making sales you shouldn’t get mad; instead, get realistic about realities many creatives face.

Not Making Sales? You’re Not Alone

If you’re a creative who’s not making sales then you’re not alone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, an artist, or a musician, many individuals are not selling their pieces or compositions. I look at it this way: For every Stephen King there’s thousands of Stephen Who? For every Taylor Swift there’s thousands of Taylor Huh?

So you should remember this when you’re out there on social media or at a conference and you’re trying to build an audience or sell your content. There are many, many others who are doing the same and encounter the same difficulties as you.

Not Making Sales? The “Greats” Didn’t Either At First

I had a conversation about this topic with my mom over the weekend and I told her about some of the authors I read – the “Greats” as they are now called – didn’t experience success for years. Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead became a best-seller two years after it was published! And it took word-of-mouth to gain popularity. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby was a failure after its publication. (And it only became successful after the author’s death.)

I say this to make you aware of the realities of being a Creative. This life is difficult and full of rejection, by the industry and customers. When we look on the careers the “Greats” had many didn’t sell many copies of their works until years and years later. Thankfully, some were alive when that happened but others were deceased.

How To Get Realistic

So how can you get realistic when you’re not making sales? By realizing this is how our industry works. Competition is fierce and there are more Creatives than consumers.

When I look at the book industry I know that it’s going to be a difficult journey for me to not only make money but to build an audience. There are thousands, if not millions, of individuals self-publishing their books on various platforms. And these individuals are vying for customers just as I am. Yes, I could have a better book than some but they may be a better salesman or already have a larger audience that’s waiting to buy their book.

At the end of the day I don’t get mad about not making sales. Feeling that way can cause me to quit and I don’t want to do that. So I keep writing, I keep publishing, and I keep working to build my audience because that’s what I have to do.


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Naomi Lane
3 months ago

Thank you for this reminder Brittany. I really needed to hear this today because I’ve been kind of bummed out about my book sales. Conversely, I am always thrilled with every single sale or positive shout-out about my work. I know that I need to keep working on improving my marketing skills.