What to do if you aren’t making sales

27 Feb

I had a good January. I sold 1 story and had another picked up but there’s no money in it.
However you look at that, it’s 2 more publication credits.

Since then, I’ve had no further pick-ups or sales.

I’ve had a few nearlys, I was shortlisted and fell before the final hurdle, and I had one especially nice rejection on a piece I had actually lost all hope in anyone ever liking or buying. But I’ve made no sales.

So what does a writer do if they’ve not made any sales recently?

Don’t fall into a depression thinking all editors hate you & that you’ll never make a sale again. I’ve said before in previous pieces on rejection, the odds are MASSIVELY against you. Accept that fact. You tried. Yoda may say “there is no try, only do” but fuck him, he’s a puppet.

Support friends in your genre who are selling, congratulate them, read their work to see why they sold and you didn’t. Them selling in your genre shows the opportunities are there.

Take the time to read what the places you are submitting to are putting out. This shows you what their sweet spot is.  Obviously don’t then just rip off what you read for your next submission. Break down what you read & see where you can improve upon it.

Edit and proof stories you’ve already written. Any chance to tighten work you already created should be seized upon, you are only improving a story this way.

Take a break! No, seriously! Constantly writing and submitting can stress you out. Have a few days off, a week even. You don’t have to be submitting every day, and it’s not healthy to be constantly pushing yourself without any respite. Not good physically or mentally.

Get more exercise. Try to go for a short walk every day, get the blood going, get yourself in the world, see what’s happening in reality.

Watch a movie. It doesn’t matter if it’s the latest blockbuster release or something over 30 years old you’ve seen a dozen times or more.

The bottom line is this. Don’t dwell on the fact you aren’t selling. If you are putting your best work out there, you can’t do any more. It’s just other people’s choices and opinions. One day they might be looking for work about dragons who make sandwiches, other days they might be looking for horses who save kingdoms. (Yes, both of these are stories out in submission right now)

Whatever you do, make it something positive that helps you. Support your friends, read other stuff, re-read your own. Or just take a break.

If selling stories was easy, everyone would be doing it. You are not alone, we’re all in the same boat.

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