Tidbits From UtopYA Con 2014


They say knowledge is power. I learned so much at UtopYA Con that every Wednesday this month I’ll be posting about it. Today, I’ll recap a few things our keynote speakers said.

First up is Sylvia Day with “What I Wish I’d Known Then.” She said writers make bad business decisions because they are afraid, seeking validation, or because they haven’t done their due diligence. Um, yes, yes, and yessss!!! Don’t be afraid to be a publishing whore & try everything! Also, don’t let deadlines dictate the quality of your books. Readers will wait for a good book, but they will drop you like a hot potato for a bad book. And read everything- things you don’t even think you’ll like. Finally, Dream Big & Plan Smart!

On Saturday, we heard from Gennifer Albin, who spoke on Empowering Female Writers & Readers. Her message revolved around a blog post she did on Hope (which you should read. WARNING: grab a box of tissues). Some thoughts that stuck for me during her speech:

Dreams don’t always fit in convenient boxes during life allotted stages. Art isn’t always meant to be created in quiet moments alone. There will always be naysayers- often these are the ones who should be offering us support. But use your words when you feel crippled.

I’ve been holding onto her words about hope. Sales for my sequel, 18 Truths, have been way down. I crunched some numbers & discovered I sold 1,582 ebooks of 18 Things the first year it was out. Since 18 Truths came out in January, I’ve sold 210 ecopies 😦 At this point, I’m wondering why do I even publish the last novel in the trilogy, 18 Thoughts, if nobody is going to read the darn book?

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Sign up if you’re looking to offer some encouragement or need to be encouraged.

Some peeps at UtopYA-recognize anyone you know?

Some peeps at UtopYA-recognize anyone you know?


18 comments on “Tidbits From UtopYA Con 2014

  1. Jamie, there is also the truth that dreams don’t happen when or how we think they will. It may be that your books will not meet your expectations right now. It can be that they will be out there for a while before they are noticed to your readers.

    If you didn’t give up the dream of writing and publishing them … keep tight the dream that their true audience will find them. “Hope” is an intangible that does not realize itself in the same way for each of us. Hang in there and trust that your words will be heard 🙂

  2. I’ve heard that sales tend to pick up once a series is complete – I hope that’s the case! Because my own sales… well, let’s just say it’s less than three figures. For two books, in a year and a half. Hopefully thing will pick up when I have more books out – hoping is all I can really do!

    I’d love to go to an event like UtopYA – it sounds like a lot of fun! 🙂

  3. It’s better to write without a deadline looming over oneself. Less stress produces greater quality, even if deadlines mean more quantity.

    Two of my favorite lines about success predictably come from Who songs, “Anyone can do anything if they hold the right cards” (“It’s Hard”) and “We all find success when we all find our own dreams” (“Pure and Easy”).

  4. I think writing is one of those things where you really have to take in the long vision. It took until book 3 was out before I even heard about the Harry Potter series. What would have happened if JK Rowling quit after book one? Or two? Plan for the long game. You’re on the right path and things will work out.

  5. Readers want a good book, not one that comes out on a certain day.
    I love your series, so I can only say ‘keep writing!’ Maybe there’s more behind writing this series than the number you sell. I’m a big supporter of the theory that everything has it’s purpose and reason. Plus, who knows what the future holds 😉

  6. You have to give us 18 Truths. The sales will pick up. I know it. You are getting yourself out there and making a name for yourself.

    We want to know what happens next!

  7. I also agree with what everyone else has said. It takes time for word to travel. Who above mentioned the Harry Potter series? I also had never heard of them until the 3rd or 4th book came out. I feel that’s typically the case. You put the best book you can out there and wait for the enthusiasm to build.

  8. Lots of good advice here. I despair of my sales, too. I don’t think there’s a magic marketing formula. What works once might not work again. Because, you know, the stars realign and stuff. LOL. Hang in there, Jamie!

  9. I think in today’s world people want to make a big splash with their first book(s). We especially get that message from publishers who are always on the lookout for debut novelists, meanwhile they don’t pick up their regular authors for subsequent books. I believe a career takes time and needs to be fostered. An author needs to make a name for him or herself. I’ve encountered people who hit it big with a first book, but then their following books just aren’t as good. Then you have people who improve over time, with both quality and sales. Some people reach their peak in the middle of their careers. We all have different paths. If the stories are inside us, let them out. The sales will eventually come.

  10. I agree with Crystal, Medeia and many others – take the long vision, remember that every writer’s path is different.
    Hope you had an awesome 4th!

  11. The Con sounds so amazing… Wish I could have gone. Don’t get down on the numbers… keep doing what you love.

  12. Writing isn’t for the faint of art — no art is. That’s why trust artist emerge when they keep trudging forward no matter how many setbacks they face. All I can tell you is don’t give up! I’ve been querying my stories for two years without any luck (I can’t write a query letter to save my dream!). I’m not giving up, though. I will be an author, because I know I’ve got talent. (I’m actually self-publishing one of my books (Iron & Glass, which comes out August 18th! So excited!! Sorry) I have stories that need telling! And so you do! You’ve got two books published, you’ve gotten farther than most of us! So keep going, for all the writers still dreaming of being authors.

  13. you know why you have to. and what awesome numbers for a first book!
    thanks for the advice from your event – love “dream big & plan smart” and “use your words” in more situations when emotions try to take over! looks like you guys had a blast!

    and thanks for supporting my BBF blog tour!

  14. Thanks for sharing this, Jamie. You will publish that book because writing is what you love doing. It’s as simple as that. A push with marketing and promo will make a heck of a lot of difference to sales. Have fun with it when the time comes.

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