The blog of author Harper Alexander

That Panicky Feeling When Your Books Actually Sell


We all put our books out there in the hopes that they’re going to sell. That’s the whole point of pushing the ‘publish’ button and releasing them into the world. That’s why we put a price on them, why we make sure they have great covers and catchy taglines, etc. But there is nothing like that panicky feeling when you check your sales report and see that your book(s) are actually selling.

I don’t sell a lot of books right now. To be honest, I’ve done extremely little to promote them lately, and that’s been deliberate. I feel like a number of them need a second edit before inviting more scrutiny – and that’s something I don’t have time to do right now – and then there are the few whose reviews have leveled out to an average I’m happy with, and so I’m actually kind of afraid to upset the balance.

Maybe this is why, when I do sell a few, I feel a little panicky. Both because I’m not used to selling a lot of books right now, so when I do it’s a big deal, like it was in the beginning, and because I’m wary of the feedback they might receive.

I’m working on a book right now that I intend to really polish and edit to be as good as it can be, so when someone buys one of my other books right now, a part of me wants to say ‘But wait! That’s not the good one! You might like that one, but the one I’m working on now is really the good one, the one you should read’.

A part of me panics because I’m afraid they’ll read these ho-hum books of mine, the ones I wrote just for fun or practice or what-have-you, and that’s what they’ll come to know me by, rather than THE EPIC MASTERPIECE that’s in the works, that I want them to know me by. If they waited just a liiiiittle bit longer, I could give them the good stuff.

I’m afraid they’ll form the opinion that I’m just a ho-hum writer, and not come back for the good stuff. That really bugs me. Wouldn’t it be sad if you wrote a masterpiece, but by the time you released it a ton of potential fans were turned off by your previous work? Wouldn’t it be sad to actually get there, but have no one there with you when you did?

This is about when I tell myself I’m being dramatic. There are plenty of people who do enjoy my other books. Who ask about sequels. Who leave 5* reviews. Who buy sequels, even when they’re the more expensive $1.99 price (haha).

I guess I’ve just been feeling lately that it wasn’t necessarily the best move to publish all those ‘practice’ books. At the time it seemed like the thing to do, because, heck, I had finished a book. It was such an accomplishment. Someone might like it. I might make a little money. I wanted to be an author like all those other authors publishing books. But now that I actually want to get serious and ‘respectable’, I regret the fans I might have turned off with sloppy or experimental work. To the point where I almost wonder – should I start fresh under a new pen name?

I don’t know. I probably won’t. Besides, in the grand scope of things, I’ve really reached so few people even with the bit of success I have had, that it’s not like I’ve made myself infamous. Especially since half the people like what they read. So all this agonizing probably isn’t worth it.

But, come on, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who sells a book and, for one reason or another, goes ‘nooooooooo’ along with ‘YEESSSSSSSSS’. It’s just one of those things.


2 thoughts on “That Panicky Feeling When Your Books Actually Sell

  1. Lol! I hope I have your problems soon. Lots of lots of it 😉

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