Why I Have Quit Publishing-And What I Plan To Do Next

When I self-published my first book in September 2014, I knew that the journey ahead of me would be rough. I knew I wasn’t going to make a ton of money. In fact, I knew I’d likely make near nothing.
 
Here I am in May 2016, and while I’ve come along way, it’s nowhere I would like to be. I’ve gotten some new fans (who have become more like friends instead), and I got the amazing opportunity to be with Booktrope for a year and get other writer friends that way.
 
Despite those things, there are several things I’ve learned that I didn’t know prior to publishing.
 
1. Readers aren’t willing to buy books. That’s not to say ALL readers won’t buy books, but in the instance of me, no one buys my books. I’ve seen many other small authors have this difficulty as well. Most of my sales have come from family and a few friends (including the fans-turned-friends). Most of my sales came from free ebook sales that I did on Amazon (the most recent one gave me close to 700 sales). This was not an issue when I was with Booktrope because I was paying no upfront costs. But now, if I were to be an indie author, this makes it more difficult because I’d be putting more money out than I’d be making (money which I do not have at the moment).
 
2. Most readers don’t write reviews. Despite the amount of times I’ve asked readers to write reviews, they don’t. This creates a problem, because whether readers want to admit it or not, reviews sell books. If you liked the book and want to see it succeed, the best way to do so is to write a review. Even a simple “I loved this book!” would be helpful. I heard someone that 1 in every 25 readers will write a review or something like that. That is not the case for me, and as I know, for many other authors. Out of those 700 free books from the sale I did on Amazon, I’d be shocked to see even one review pop up. That’s not my negativity speaking either. In the past I ALSO did free ebook sales (several times) and have sold a couple hundred books. Didn’t get a single review.
 
3. Marketing is difficult. It’s a lot more difficult than you’d imagine, actually. When you’re trying to promote yourself and your work, you must first start with friends and family. It’s the easiest way to get people’s attention. “Hey, I wrote book!” The problem I’ve encountered, as I’m sure many others have, is that my friends and family (not all, but most) don’t help promote. Which means that I am only reaching the people closest to me, who by the way also aren’t buying my books.
 
There are other ways, of course, such as starting a blog, but my traffic has never gotten me a book sale or even fan. Takeovers on Facebook used to do really well, but over the last six months I’ve noticed takeovers tend to not do so well anymore. It could be due to the fact that so many authors do them now, but it has never gotten me sales, minus a few special times. It rarely gets me new fans. Not like it used to. And finally, there’s always the option of posting in writer’s groups. The issue with that is that writer’s groups tend to be made up of AUTHORS trying to promote their stuff, not READERS looking to read stuff. This creates a problem because everyone just wants to promote their own stuff and not help each other out.
 
As many of you know, I am graduating from high school in June. When I joined the writing industry, I expected it to be fun, and for a while it was. Over time, as it became more of a business, it wasn’t fun anymore. I was trying to figure out how billing works, trying to get others to read my work, and was trying my very best to make at least ONE sale day. It became mentally exhausting.
 
I found Booktrope last year, and for a while, everything was great. I was getting more readers, selling some books, got new covers, a great round of edits from my fantastic editor and proofreaders. Over time, though, something was missing. For while I didn’t realize what it was.
 
What was missing was the fun. The ENJOYMENT of writing. Friends stopped buying my work. Family stopped buying my work. I don’t know why, exactly, and in no way do I blame them. It’s just a recent analysis on my part.
 
Then Booktrope decided to close, creating a huge rift between authors and everyone we’ve worked with. I suddenly owed money to people (money I didn’t have) and the question as to what I can do with my books after My 31st has been overwhelming.
 
The fun is gone. Between starting college in the fall and a shit ton of personal stuff going on in regards to where I’ll be sleeping or where I’ll be going have created more stress than I ever expected. That’s why, from this moment on, I am not going to be publishing any longer. I don’t know how long this will be. Could be a year, could be a few. It’s sad for me to say, because I enjoyed seeing my books in print more than anyone else in the world. I’ve learned hard lessons, done difficult things, and have done more than a lot of people have by my age.
 
But don’t think this is the end of my writing, because it certainly is not. From this moment on, anything I write will be written for free on Wattpad. I’ll build a team of beta readers who will help make the books as best as I possibly can get them (Granted, a downside is that there will be no professional editing due to lack of money–hence why I’m not indie publishing). I want to build my fan base. I want to interact with you all, and even the newcomers I may meet a few months from now.
 
Right now, this is a trial. I’d like to see where this goes. I’d like to see if maybe I can bring the fun back to writing for myself. I really hope that you’ll all stick with me through this journey. As I start college in the fall, I don’t know what will come. Please be patient and just know that I’m not giving up–I’m simply trying something new.
 
I don’t know what this means for my other books, as I’ve yet to figure out the details as to what to do with those, but I am TRYING to get those up on Wattpad as well.
 
You’ve all been fantastic. Let’s hope we can keep it that way. I love you all so much. Thanks for everything. ❤
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Booktrope Closes: An Uncertain Future

Last April, I got accepted by Booktrope Publishing. As one could imagine, I was relieved. Self-publishing had become an extra weight on my that I could no longer bear. At 17, I made a very quick and irrational decision, signing on, having no idea what to expect.

On April 29,2016, every author and team member for Booktrope received and email, letting them know that Booktrope is closing its doors.

Tropers.

We are deeply saddened to share the news that Booktrope will be ceasing business effective May 31, 2016. This decision was not reached lightly and we will share as much as we can with the community over the next few weeks.

When I read the email, I was shocked, but not really. Devastated. Hurt. Angry. But most of all, I was left with a heavy uncertainly hanging on my shoulders, as are so many who are being hurt by the loss of the company. As of May 31st, 2016, all four of my books will be removed from Amazon, no longer accessible to readers.

Due to this, May 3-7, I believe, I am offering all of my books for free. I wish I had an answer as to what’s coming next. I wish I could say that the books will go right back up because I’ll self-publish them, but it’s not that simple.

Booktrope offered me a way. A way to be a student, to meet some amazing people, and to live my dream that I’ve had since elementary school. I’ve grown so much because of them and everyone I’ve met. My teams put so much time and effort into my books that I can never repay them fully enough for.

After graduation from high school in June, I will be starting college in the fall. I’m starting to see that maybe this is a sign that it’s not my time. I wish I had better news, but at the moment, I do not.

I’m not giving up on my dream forever. I could never do that. But right now I’m at a loss for words and ideas, and it’ll take some time and thought to fully come up with a game plan.

I just want all of my friends, family, and most of all, my fans, to know that this is not the end of the line for me. A hiatus, maybe, but certainly not the end. While I do not know about everything else, that is the one thing I am certain of.

I hope to see you guys again soon.

With love,

Alec John Belle

Before I Break Short Stories

Many of you know that Before I Break was originally self published.  During the time after the book’s first release, I started focusing on other characters that had important roles in the plot.  I then came up with two short stories.

When my book got picked up by Booktrope, I asked my book manager about these short stories I’d written.  Originally the plan was to publish them through Booktrope to build the excitement for the book, but then we decided to do something a little more appreciative to the fans.

We decided to make BOTH short stories free!  And to make it even better, I decided to write a THIRD short story as well!

For those of you who do not know what Before I Break is, all I can say right now is that it’s an LGBT Contemporary YA novel that focuses on other social issues.  Some topics covered in the book and short stories are suicide, discrimination, mental illness, self harm, coming of age, discovering your sexuality, and more.

The three short stories descriptions are as follows.

1.  CAPRICIOUS (Before I Break, #0.5):  In this haunting prequel short story to Alec John Belle’s novel, Before I Break, Jake struggles with the idea of religion, discrimination, homosexuality, and life as he deals with an obvious mental illness.


2.  THE WINTER OF HARMS (Before I Break, #0.6): In this prequel short story to the upcoming novel,Before I Break, read Avery’s journal and see what pushed him to his breaking point, and the mistake he made that could have taken his own life.


3.  TURMOIL (Before I Break, #0.7):  Following the events of CAPRICIOUS, Melissa is happy in her relationship with Cyril, until she finds herself looking at other girls.  But she loves Cyril…right?


All of these short stories focus of the three supporting characters of Before I Break, which will focus on Cyril’s story.  In the novel, you’ll see all of the stories come together and how each of these characters lead to Cyril’s breaking point.

These short stories will be available my Wattpad account (http://www.wattpad.com/user/AlecBelle) and my blog (https://alecjohnbelle.wordpress.com/)

The release dates for these short stories are as follows:

CAPRICIOUS:  May 15th, 2015.
THE WINTER OF HARMS:  June 12th, 2015.
TURMOIL:  June 26th, 2015.

All leading up the the re-release of Before I Break!  These short stories will also be available for free as e-books for iTunes, Nook, Page Foundry, and quite a few other places, but those links are now live as of right now.

This book, along with these short stories, are very important to me.  This world I’ve created with these characters has grown on me, which is why I have some more announcements coming your way after the book re-releases.  I hope you all stick around to see how everything turns out. 🙂

Author Interview and ARC Giveaway

I know I haven’t been posting a lot lately.  Mostly that has to do with there not really being many things to talk about.

Fortunately, I did a recent author interview, along with that interview, she’s giving away and ARC of both BEFORE I BREAK and FORBIDDEN DARKNESS.  In case you aren’t aware, these are two books that I self-published and are now being re-published through Booktrope.  I’m really excited about this ARC copy.

If you want to check it out, be sure to click the link below!

Author Interview and Giveaway

Also, be sure to sign up for my newsletter here!

New Super Secret Writing Project

Okay, so obviously BEFORE I BREAK (my contemporary YA) and FORBIDDEN DARKNESS (the first in an 8 book paranormal YA series) are my top priority right now.  Let’s be real.

Unfortunately, because of the fact that both of the books are being republished and will be in editing for TWO MONTHS, it’s kinda hard to write sequels when I don’t even know entirely how much will be changed in the edits. This means that I’ll have a couple months where I won’t be writing anything.  And, well, I’m a writer.

You see the dilemma?

So today I am beginning a new project, and no, this is not an April Fool’s joke. Because I have no idea whether I’ll go through with publishing this or not, I’m keeping it to myself for now.  Who knows, maybe it’ll suck.

What I can say is that it’s another contemporary YA novel, similar to BEFORE I BREAK, but darker.  I’m really excited to get into it.

It’s also a standalone, so if I do decide to do something with this, it’ll be one simple little book.

Time to get plotting.

Before I Break: New Cover Information

Hey everyone!

It’s been a while since I’ve talked to you all.  With school, writing my two serial dramas on Wattpad, and trying to work on the reprints of Before I Break and Forbidden Darkness, it’s been a crazy couple weeks.  But today I have some news in regards to the cover of Before I Break.  

As I said in one of my previous blog posts, the covers for both of my books have to be changed due to being reprinted under Booktrope, and while I love both covers dearly, I had to make the right decision for me as an author, the writer and creator of these worlds, to make sure my books get read.  While I am sad to see those old covers go, and I don’t have much news on the Forbidden Darkness cover, I do have this to say:

I am working really hard with my cover designer to keep a very similar look.  As you know, I adore the cover for Before I Break because of all the symbolism behind it, so changing it is very hard.  I do believe some of the same stock photos will be used for the new cover, which will give it a similar feeling.  In other words, it’ll be a new cover, but you should be able to tell it’s a reprint.

As of right now, I have not seen the new cover but I know it’s going to be great.  I am so excited to share it with you guys when I finally get the chance.  I hope that all of you enjoy it as much as I know I’m going to.

Unfortunately this is the most news I can give you right now.  Hopefully I’ll have more in the weeks to come.  Take care and let me know what you guys think of the new cover having a similar look to the original!

Change is Coming

Change is coming, in case that wasn’t obvious by the title of this post. Why is change coming?, you may ask.  Well, both of my books just recently got accepted for publication by Booktrope.

I know, it’s not one of the Big 6, but it sure is a huge step toward it.  Booktrope allows me to choose my team (editors, book managers, cover designers, etc.) and we work together to reprint the books.  Now, what does this mean?  It means several things.

1.  Editing

One of the big differences you’ll notice is editing.  My first two books were not able to be professionally edited, but now they will, and this is a huge benefit to me.  I want what’s best for my books, and editing is, but I’ve never really had the money for it.  This is going to open the window for me to be able make my books the best they can be.

2.  Different Covers

This is something I can iffy about, but change is sometimes necessary.  I cannot guarantee that I will be able to keep the covers I have, and if I can’t, this means more change will be underway.  Honestly, though, change is sometimes good and for the better.  I’m going to trust that whatever comes from this will be better than I thought.  If you like the old covers and want the versions with those covers, I recommend buying the books while you can.

3.  Minor plot differences

The thing is, with editing comes minor plot changing.  I can 100% there will be at least one thing probably changed in the plots for both books by the time they are reprinted.  This is part of the author world and I am willing to accept whatever advice my editor gives me.  The main, overall plots will remain the same.

4.  Different prices

Booktrope has the right to set the book prices, I believe.  This means that the prices of the books may be different than what they are now, possibly a dollar or two more.  As of right now I don’t have much info but I am pretty sure they are going to change.

5.  Better books

The truth is, I can admit that my books aren’t perfect, which is why I am so willing to do this. I want my books to be the best that they can be, and I believe with Booktrope, I’ll be able to make that happen.  This isn’t about getting rich, because I know I won’t.  This is about doing what’s best for me, my books, and my readers.

I hope that you all stick around for the ride and see what’s to come. In the meantime, it’s time to celebrate that change that is coming. It’s going to be hard because I’ve done both of these books all by myself.  Yes, things will change, but it’s one I’m sure will benefit me in the long run.

Forbidden Darkness Cover1.3

What to Expect When Reading The Next Three Forbidden Darkness Chronicles Books

A lot of you have finished reading Forbidden Darkness and have felt a little betrayed.  I haven’t gotten many complaints, but I do know the book ended on a huge cliffhanger and left lots of things unanswered.  And I really do mean a lot.

The funny part is, that was entirely unintentional.  When I planned the first four books, I knew the first book was going to raise a lot of questions, and because it’s a series, I couldn’t possibly answer everything in one book.  It would have dragged the book out if I did that, which is why the book was as short as it was (which is less than 44,000 words).

Here’s what I can tell you.  Each book, especially the first four, have a designated goal.  Take a look at this.

1.  Forbidden Darkness

This book, I like to call, The Book of Questions.  As I said above, this book raised a lot of questions as to where the series is headed and took a twist at the end.  Even with that, there were a lot of things unresolved.  That was the goal of the first book.

2.  Shadow’s Wings

I like to call this The Book of Answers.  In this book, you’ll get answers very early on, and I mean within the first few chapters.  Some of the things you’ll find out are:

  • What is Kadin?
  • What is Hayden?
  • What was the Shadow that visited Hayden?
  • Where is Kristen’s father?
  • Why was Heather kidnapped as a kid, and what does her birth mom have to do with the story?

All of those things will, in fact, get answered in the second book.  Right away you start getting the truth, and so far it’s playing out in a very real and authentic way.

3.  Fiery Passion

This book is what I liked to call The Book of Romance.  Just in the title alone, you can suspect that this book focuses more on the romantic elements of the series than the first two books did, and this book also has a major twist ending you probably won’t be coming.

4.  Frostbite’s Fury

This is The Book of Climax.  Right from the beginning, this will be the turning point of the series that changes the course of the books, which is why the series will continue for four more books after this point.

That’s all I can say for now, but I can promise you, answers are coming and you won’t regret reading once you do.  Right now I’m working on the first draft of book two, and will definitely have it out some time this year.  Thanks for being such awesome readers, and I hope you stick around for the long run.

Animal by Nikki Rae, Blog Tour

Today’s the day that I get to unveil the cover of Nikki Rae’s new book, Animal, which releases February 28th!

Synopsis

Ava has spent her life running from the monsters that lurk in the shadows, always the prey. She finally thinks she can settle down, have a normal life, and work on not being so scared of the world around her. That is until she runs into her worst fear.

He has finally found the potential family he has always wanted. All he has to do is make his little bird sing. Will Ava escape with her humanity intact?

My Review

Ava is afraid of vampires.

That much was obvious within the first few pages of the book. I was a huge fan of Nikki Rae’s novella, The Donor, so when she was giving out copies to beta readers, I had to snag on up. I will admit, I have not read the Sunshine Series yet, though I’ve really wanted to.

This book is apparently a spin-off of Sunshine, but you wouldn’t know if you haven’t read Sunshine. This book can stand entirely by itself, and for that, I have to give Nikki props. Writing a spin-off can be difficult, especially if you’re trying to make it so that it can be read before or after reading the series that started it.

The story revolves around Ava, who has spent most of her list recently running from vampires. At first, you don’t really know why, but with Nikki Rae’s unique writing style, chapter layout, and story flow, you get to see bits of the past and of the present. Along with getting chapters told from the past and the present, you also get inside the head of a lot of the other characters in the novel, including Myles, Evan, and Toni (who I believe are also in the Sunshine series).

Besides the creative writing, the story itself was phenomenal. Nikki really knows how to capture your heart and pull you right into the story. Ava clearly suffers from an anxiety disorder, and has panic attacks multiple times throughout the book. For me, this just added a whole new realistic layer that I wasn’t expecting, although I should have after reading The Donor. As a sufferer of an anxiety disorder, I totally understood how Ava felt a majority of the book.

In this twisted and haunting tale, you really get to know each of these characters, their motives, why they are the way they are, and you come to love them. Even the main antagonist gave me some good feelings a few times, because this novel just goes to show you how some “evil” people may really be feeling.

All in all, this book was perfect and I couldn’t have asked for it to go any other way. I really look forward to reading more of Nikki’s work soon, and am silently praying that she writes another book that follows this.

***

Cover Reveal

Animal Cover

What can I say?  I absolutely LOVE this cover!

And below you can check out the trailer for the book, as well as a teaser photo!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pz6ub1Op734

Animal Teaser

Be sure to check out this book when it releases, because it is amazing!  I have no doubt that fans of vampires will enjoy this book.

Forbidden Darkness E-book Free

Hey everyone!

I just wanted to give you all the heads up that Forbidden Darkness is FREE one last time for a while.  If you don’t already know, The Forbidden Darkness Chronicles is about a girl named Heather Hawkins who finds out that she is a Monster Hunter.  If you’re interested, please go check it out and write a review!

Love you lots!

Amazon Link:  http://www.amazon.com/Forbidden-Darkness-The-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00O99L782/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_1