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

The Long Road Home Cover Reveal

The time has finally arrived! The cover reveal for my newest book, The Long Road Home (April 15, 2016) is below!

The Long Road Home Cover

The cover is a bit different than we originally anticipated, but we feel as though it fits the story perfectly. The orange represents Brooke’s life in the past–the monochromatic phase in her life. The colors near the top represent her time in the hospital, looking for a brighter future, hoping to recreate herself and her life.

The closer we get to the release day, the more anxious I get. In the meantime, here’s the synopsis below!

Brooke never meant to survive, hoping that the suicide attempt would end all of her suffering. After years of rejection, pain, and heartbreak, she feels as though she’s not good enough for anyone. Now she’s stuck in a hospital, being forced to take antidepressants and is getting therapy for her issues.

And she hates it until she meets Matt.

Now Brooke must remember the past in order to better her future, while trying to keep her feelings for the new patient in check. In this heartbreaking novel, a young girl will laugh, cry, and fight to find her way home to the one place that’s been ruined one too many times–her own heart.

Are you as excited for the book as I am? Let me know down in the comments and feel free to share this post! I look forward to sharing this story with you.

What’s Next in 2016?

2016 is going to be a big year for me. Aside from writing books, I will also be graduating high school and starting college. I’m looking forward to the next step in my life, and I’m also really looking forward to the books coming out.

Most of my writing will probably be done in the first half of the year, and after some planning, I have three books I plan on releasing next year, one of which I’m already almost done writing.

  • The Long Road Home (Contemporary YA): Brooke never meant to survive. She hoped that the suicide attempt would end all of her suffering. After years of rejection, pain, and heartbreak, she feels as though she’s not good enough for anyone. Now she’s stuck in a hospital, being forced to take antidepressants and is getting therapy for her issues.And she hated it until she met him.Now Brooke must remember the past in order to better her future, while trying to keep her feelings for the new patient in check. In this heartbreaking novel, a young girl will laugh, cry, and fight to find her way home to the one place she’s never really let anyone in–her own heart.

Expected Publication Date: March 2016

  • Fiery Passion (The Forbidden Darkness Chronicles, #3): This book has a synopsis, but I don’t plan on releasing it until some time next year, after Shadow People (December 14, 2015) is out. What I can say is that this book will be much darker than the first two books and will focus on some on Heather’s personal relationships.

Expected Publication Date: Summer 2016

  • Untitled (The Forbidden Darkness Chronicles, #4): This book is actually not untitled, but since the title is somewhat spoilery, I will not be revealing the title until after Fiery Passion comes out. This will be the end of story arc 1 in The Forbidden Darkness Chronicles.

Expected Publication Date: Winter 2016

As you can see, 2016 is going to be a good year for books, as well as a good year for my personal life. I have no guarantees that this will stay exactly the same, as things come up and can interfere with my writing life, such as this year. I am not making any promises, just goals, and I think that goals are a very good thing.

I look forward to heading into the new year with you and I hope you all come along with me for the ride. 🙂

Booktrope Sale: Forbidden Darkness Freebie

Hey everyone.

I just wanted to let you all know, for those who don’t follow me on Facebook and Twitter, that Forbidden Darkness, the first book in my paranormal YA series, is FREE until the 14th! This is part of Booktrope’s sale, where you can get over 200 of their e-books for FREE!

Yes, free!

Below is a link to Forbidden Darkness on Amazon, as well as Booktrope’s book archive of free books! Enjoy!

(Also, Shadow People, the second book in the series, is releasing December 14th! So if you haven’t started the series, now’s a good time to start!)

Forbidden Darkness

Booktrope’s Holiday Prefunk

New Book 2016: The Long Road Home

A few days ago on my Facebook page I announced that I would be writing a new book for Spring 2016. This new book is my next contemporary young adult novel, The Long Road Home. While there is no official synopsis yet, this is the one I have.

Brooke never meant to survive. She hoped that the suicide attempt would end all of her suffering. After years of rejection, pain, and heartbreak, she feels as though she’s not good enough for anyone. Now she’s stuck in a hospital, being forced to take antidepressants and is getting therapy for her issues.

And she hated it until she met him.

Now Brooke must remember the past in order to better her future, while trying to keep her feelings for the new patient in check. In this heartbreaking novel, a young girl will laugh, cry, and fight to find her way home to the one place she’s never really let anyone in–her own heart.

This book is going to be something different for me, but I am all about taking risks. My hope is that it reaches to many people who struggle with the same issues Brooke has and that it can shed some light for those who haven’t dealt with these issues before.

The Long Road Home is scheduled to release in February/March 2016. The book can now be marked as “to-read” on Goodreads as well!

The Forbidden Darkness Chronicles: Shadow People Update

The news is out! I finally finished writing Shadow People, the second book in my paranormal YA series, The Forbidden Darkness Chronicles.

I wanted to give a quick update as to how this process is going to work, since readers are probably curious. I sent it to my beta readers, who have finished reading it (all except one, who is a bit of a slower reader, but that’s okay!). Here’s how things are going to work now.

  • Mock Up Cover: This is actually my favorite part of the publishing world, I’ve noticed. I love covers. Like, completely, totally love covers. The cover will start being worked on later this month. We’ve discussed some ideas, and I really like what I’m visualizing in my head. If all goes well, this cover will be dark and pretty at the same time.
  • Editing: I will edit for a little bit myself, and then will send to my editor. That will take a few weeks. While it is in editing, the cover will hopefully be done. At least the mock up, anyway. Which means I’ll be able to do a reveal somewhere around this time.
  • Cover Reveal: As I said, this will probably be somewhere in editing. Might be after. Not really sure. No specific dates have been set yet, though I probably should talk to my Book Manager about all this stuff. Soon.
  • Proofreading: After editing comes the lovely act of proofreading. This checks for grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc. All that fun stuff. This usually goes by quickly, in my experience with my publisher.
  • Layout: This unfortunately takes a pick longer than I’d like, but at least I get to pick out a nice font for chapter headings and such (it’ll probably be different from the Forbidden Darkness one, so it’ll have a different vibe). I’ll have to look at those again.
  • Finishing Up/Printing: This is my second favorite part, literally right behind covers. We get the page count, make the spine so it fits, and then it gets approved (hopefully). Then I can order my copies, but I typically have to wait a bit longer than I’d like. It took what seemed like an eternity for Forbidden Darkness to get here. At least they did without disaster.

Sadly, this means it’ll take a couple of months. On the bright side? It’ll only take a couple of months! Are you excited for Shadow People? I’ll hopefully have an approved blurb soon!

Thank you to all my readers who have stuck with my through this journey as I get ready to publish this second Forbidden Darkness Chronicles book, and my third book overall. This wouldn’t be as fun without you. 🙂

Forbidden Darkness Cover Reveal, Why I Wrote the Book

Today I am very happy to share with you the official cover for my re-release, Forbidden Darkness!

Cover and description.
Cover and description.

I’m very excited to say that this book will be released to the world on June 5th, 2015.  This book is very important to me, as well as the series as a whole.

One thing I know I’m going to get asked is this:  Why did you choose to incorporate things like suicide, self-harm, and depression in a world that’s supposed to for entertainment?  The answer to that question is actually pretty simple.

I do not believe in censorship.  When I wrote my first novel, Before I Break and it made its debut in September of 2014 (which is also re-releasing this July), I was very concerned about the type of response it would get.  Many authors including my very favorite, Ellen Hopkins, get banned from schools and certain places because of the type of things their books cover.

Forbidden Darkness focuses on Heather Hawkins, who just recently almost lost her best friend Kristen to suicide.  The affect effect that it leaves on Heather is sad, because throughout the novel she worries that it’s going to happen again. Heather’s mom worries that Heather will turn out like Kristen.  Philip, who is now Heather’s love interest, plays a role in the things that happened to Kristen.  While Heather is the main protagonist of the book, what happened with Kristen was pretty damaging to everyone around her.

When Heather realizes she’s a Monster Hunter and is being stalked by a guy named Kadin in her dreams, she notices he can wield Darkness.  The idea of the Darkness came to me when I originally named the first book Negative Energy.  I won’t go too much into the story because I still want people to read it, but the Darkness is basically a physical form of all those negative emotions you feel.  And it’s entirely, 100% evil.

I look forward to being able to dig into other issues as this series goes along, and for you to see the true potential of Darkness.  Just like life, we all have a little Darkness inside us, and when everything is going on around us, we need to learn not to give in.  Never give into the Darkness, because it will take over your life in ways that you may never have imagined.

The hidden messages are thrown throughout the novel, and I hope now this will make it easier for people to catch them. Writing this series was a way of controlling my Darkness.  What will you do to control yours?

Forbidden Darkness wrap

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

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