Thought of the Week: Is There Anything I’m Good At?

It’s starting to look like I suck at DIY. Mrs. Satis and I bought a shelf to put up in a spare room a couple of weeks ago, and so far I haven’t been able to put it up. I can’t even get past the putting holes in the wall part. Look:

Look—they just won't go in all the way!

Look—they just won’t go in all the way!

The instructions said to drill ¼-inch holes, so I did. That’s the biggest drill bit I have, by the way. But the wall plugs (toggles, whatever you want to call them) don’t fit the holes. I went back to Home Depot, and the very friendly assistant recommended a different kind of drywall anchors—supposedly self-screwing, no holes required. I tried those and they broke off in the wall. Great. Now what? I have five holes in a wall, nothing that fits, and a shelf still in pieces.

So … I suck at being a decent human being.

Let’s forget DIY for a moment. It’s quantifiably determinable that it’s not something I’m very good at. What else can I do? Well … lately it’s been seeming that I’m doing a pretty poor job as a family man, too. I’m lazy, sluggish and hopelessly irresponsible, and teaching Little Satis the worst of my habits. I don’t do any of my household duties (and I botch those I attempt—see above), leave messes everywhere, and more or less piss off my wife at every possible turn. I don’t mean to be such a jerk, but I don’t seem to be able to help myself. Case in point—I’m writing this, instead of doing something productive. I mean, I reckon I’m better than last summer when I went off my medications entirely, so at least there’s that … but it doesn’t seem to be enough. I slept for two hours this morning when I should have been unpacking boxes.

So I suck at being a decent human being, too. Fair enough—not everyone can be good at that. I used to think I was reasonably adept at writing, but I’m starting to lose my confidence there, too. Guess how many people have bought my first book, The Redemption of Erâth: Consolation in the past twelve months? Fourteen. Yep—shifted a grand total of fourteen copies since July 2014. Of course, it’s entirely possible I just suck at marketing, which is more than likely. My publisher, iUniverse, sucks too. They supposedly ran a Google Ads campaign last year, which cost me a pretty penny, but literally—literally—nothing came out of it. I’ve learned my lesson—a vanity publisher doesn’t help sell books. CreateSpace all the way for Book Two.

What can I do? Resign myself to fights with my wife and disappointment with my books? No! I refuse! I won’t go down without a fight (or two). I do understand something (very little, admittedly) about publishing, and I know that if I don’t do anything to promote my work, of course no one’s going to buy it—they literally don’t know it even exists! Do you have any idea how many books are self-published on Amazon every day? Me neither, but I expect it’s rather a lot. So I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands. I’ve already spent so much on publishing my book, a few more dollars don’t seem to matter anymore; I took out some ads on Google, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. Seriously very small ads—a couple dollars a day, and that’s it. It’s all I can afford. But some advertising is better than none, of course, and they all link directly to the page for The Redemption of Erâth: Consolation, where everyone can buy it for just $3.99. (That’s another thing I can’t do: change the price of my book. Set by iUniverse, the bastards.)

But of course, the best advertising comes from word-of-mouth. I need a few vocal people to read my book, and tell others about it. That is, if they even like it. Who knows? I’ve had two five-star reviews, one four-star and a two-star. Better than nothing! Most people who I know have read it say they enjoyed it, but clearly something’s amiss because they’re not telling anyone else about it.

Le sigh.

Maybe you can all do me a favor. It’s more than I feel I deserve, but if you feel like it, let people know there’s this struggling author who really just wants people to read his work. He’s not after money; quite a large number of sales are going to be needed to even break even at this point. No—all he really wants is to know that someone downloaded his book, and read it. Send me an email, write a review, tweet … anything, really. Let me know why you would want to read, or not read, this book. It really isn’t quite all that bad!

What thoughts do you have? What would make you want to read a fantasy novel?

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5 thoughts on “Thought of the Week: Is There Anything I’m Good At?

  1. Whatever came of that short story/novella you had been working on? Why not finish that, or work on some short stories? You need to build up a catelogue!

    • You know, that’s actually not a bad idea. I really don’t have any other published works at all. The problem is, the only other ‘novel’ I have is so far distanced from the fantasy of The Redemption of Erâth that I had been thinking of publishing it under a different name. Still … there is some origin material that could probably be reworked into a free novella/background set of pieces. I’ll give it some thought. Thank you!

    • You know what? I’m doing what you suggested. I’m going to re-edit/rehash the history of Erâth I wrote years ago, and publish it for free (first on sharing websites like Wattpad and Inkitt, and eventually as a free download). Thanks for the idea!

  2. Marketing sucks. I don’t have that many books sold on createspace, but I did sell a lot more by going to my old temple and announcing I would send half of the profits to them. If nothing else, people bought it for charity. If you have any connections to a church or other organization, maybe you could try that?

    As far as personal life goes, I experienced much the same thing in my depressions too. One of the things that helped me was commiting to a small number of things that I HAD to do that day (no more than three), and focusing on getting those things done. I get a rush of endorphins from finishing up things on my list, and a slowly increasing confidence that yes, I can do things! Also, doing a good workout routine is fun too. For what it’s worth, I think it’s more accurate to think of you as a decent human being who’s dealing with a bad spell. Good luck!

    • Aw … you’re too kind! It’s true—accomplishing things, even little things, goes a long way. I did manage to put up some blinds yesterday, so it’s not all bad. I was just in a bad mood, I think. And yes, marketing does suck. I’m interested to see what will come of my ads—for a fraction the cost of what my publisher put out. It can’t be worse than what they failed to achieve!

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