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

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.

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

Forbidden Darkness Free E-book

Fans are an essential part of the writing industry.  Without fans, it’s hard to make money to produce more books, even if you’re a traditionally published author.  If your books don’t sell, what’s the point in making more books?

For me, being a self-published author makes this even harder.  It’s hard to reach my audience, mostly because a majority of them have no idea my books exist.  With Forbidden Darkness’s release, I was looking for some way to promote my series, and the best way I can do it is with Kindle Select.  There are a few pros and cons to using Kindle Select.

Pros

  • I can reach a certain audience easier.
  • I get 70% of my royalties.
  • I can choose either a Kindle Countdown Deal or Free E-book Deal for up to 5 days.

Cons

  • I have to stay enrolled in Kindle Select for at least three months.
  • I can’t have my book on any other distribution channels.
  • I can only do one Deal per three months (which I think is ridiculous, by the way).

I think the pros outweigh the cons even though they’re the same amount.  I had my books on other distribution channels including Smashwords, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, Scribd, and Page Foundry, but the sales weren’t coming in.  Why?  Because no one knows I exist.  Most of these sites don’t advertise your book for you and the readers have to manually go in and search for you.  They don’t just stumble across it.  Which means I need to have an audience, so how do I do that?

Make the e-book free, of course.  I remember when I did the free e-book sale on Kindle for Before I Break, and BOY did that book sell.  Of course, I got no reviews which kind of sucked 5 mouthfuls of monkey balls, but at least it sold.  So even though I told myself, I wouldn’t enroll in Kindle Select permanently, I am definitely doing it for the first three months as promotion.

So starting 1/11/15-1/15/15, Forbidden Darkness will be free.  It will only be free during this time and probably not ever again for a long time.  I want to reach my audience and help them discover me.

One thing I do ask if that you write reviews if you purchase this book.  Reviews are very important to the author, whether they’re on your blog, Goodreads, or Amazon.  They help me figure out what I did right and what I did wrong, and it also helps readers decide whether to read my books are not.  The other thing I ask is that if you don’t like the book, please be polite about it.  Constructive criticism is way better than tearing someone down who worked hard to get their book out there.

So there you have it, guys!  The first book in my new paranormal YA series will be free for 5 days, so be sure to get it while you can!  The link to the book is below!

Forbidden Darkness Cover
Forbidden Darkness Cover

Amazon Link:  http://www.amazon.com/Forbidden-Darkness-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00O99L782/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=