I understand what you're talking about. But I read an article recently that said if you get 'stuck' (like you are), you need to stop and reflect on why. Are you pushing the plot, or are your characters acting with motivation? Is the protagonist really, really challenged by meaningful desires and goals? You don't sound 'excited' about your book right now, and that could also be stress from trying to make it work. My suggestion is to put it away for a couple of weeks, maybe even a month, and then go back to it. I doubt that it's the 'curse of the sequel.' As you know, readers thrive on sequels because they are 'in love' with the characters you've created. Maybe your protagonist needs a shot in the arm! Anyway, I'm having the same problems with my current novel and have elected to back off and take a break from it for right now. Don't worry, it'll come around!
It might mean you need a break. Sometimes when we spend over-time with our writing or we're rushing to complete it, or maybe trying to meet a scheduled date that we ourselves have set, we jump all around in the story.
Take a week off, turn the computer off, get out and do things for yourself and then turn the computer on again. Look at it coldly. Before writing, look at the characters and figure how you want them to end with their lives before working on it. Make off the character are real. This way you make the reader believe they are. Find your ending and work around it. Study the plot; what happened for the story to have been written. Maybe you need more emotion in the story. Readers are pulled into stories with deep emotion. They want to feel they are right there with the character.
Three installments are not long with a story. Going dry is telling you that you "are' at the end. So take your time and play with different endings and see what you like. There is nothing wrong having bad endings with characters if it helps the story. It's reality.
My greatest challenge is marketing. I live in a small State that's not very helpful to the local author. So far, I've only found one reporter who'll do a write up on my books. He even sent a photographer to take pictures for my last book signing. All others want 'big names'.
I've tried to place my name and my books wherever and whenever I can but the competition is immense. Two books and into a third, you'd still couldn't find me unless you know my name or the name of my books.
Sounds like you might be trying to compete head to head with the big-time, traditionally published authors. I have a friend who asked a local (not chain) diner if they would sell his book at their cash register. They did, and he sold hundreds there, over a period of about 9 months. The good thing about putting your books into places like this is that you have no competition.
There are hundreds of ways to market books. You might want to start with Kremer's 1001 Ways to Market Your Books. Lots of these methods work for people like me: low profile, not pushy, not lots of money.
thanks for the suggestions. I'll check into them. Yes, I'm basically a traditional person so I find it difficult to 'push' my own books. That's why I chose to 'be' published rather than publish myself. Little money keeps me from being able to buy my own books to sell.
Anyway, your suggestion sounds solid. Guess it's time I get the lead out and so some work on my own.
I love the marketing function. The book sale process starts to grow on you after your books begin moving from your personal efforts and contacts. You also meet a whole new world of readers that way. I have a web page which doesn't look all that bad, but I can tell you this about my own experience, hits on web pages don't sell many books. Again, I am talking about just my own situation, most of my contacts may not result in a sale at first, but it does give a word of mouth thrust to my interests and the reason I know this is that strangers are always dropping into my blog telling me they heard about my books from so and so and want to hear from me. That is how most of my individual books are sold. The bulk of my books are sold in large lots to resales and again, this has been through my personal efforts and there are many ways to do this. Large companies are often looking for door prizes and company gifts, and these I sell in sets of fifty which you can have printed on your own or if you are with Amazon they will do large numbers for you at a wholesale price. I use a printing company for my bulk books and I am also talking to an overseas printer as well. I offer signed books in bulk which is another way to get my books advertised because when they are shipped to me for signing, I have an advertising sticker that I place inside the book. Don't forget, this is not a once and its over thing, it is something you will be doing the rest of your life if you want to sell books. And as I said, I really enjoy doing what I do and wish I had started much earlier in life. I have been doing this for forty years. I believe in my product, I think I have a good message for young people and I know there are more than a billion people out there who would love to read one of my books. Have faith, work hard, believe in what you do and what you have to offer ---- and the rest is easy. http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002CB3V24
I wish you could have met my friend Jack Miller of the seminar business. We were friends for almost fifty years until his demise a few weeks back, Jack was (probably is) a wonderful guy, but he had one saving grace and that is that he was the cheapest multi-millionaire that I have ever known. He made tons of money and I have often heard, as much as $450,000 gross on a single seminar, but he had no interest in money or having a lot of money. He loved all challenges and proved it time and time again. I contend that "cheap" is really a substitute word for excellency in thrift. Jack left thousands of friends who will remember him forever.
That's a funny thing about self-made millionaires - they tend to not be materialists. They've typically found a job they love to do and money is a neat by-product. If they were materialists, they'd spend all their income trying to achieve the appearance of wealth rather than true wealth.
Wish I could have known Jack. I'm sure I could have learned a ton from him. I spoke a lot when I was younger, but have tended to speak only a couple of times a year until recently. Since people are starting to ask and it works together with my book, I may start doing a lot more. So far, it's been mostly free speaking where I can sell books at the back.
the question I have about all those alternative way of marketing one's book is; once you have all counted all the hours you invest in it, is the return on investment (i.e. volume of sales) still worth it. Or is it mostly a labor of love?
I often see authors spend countless hours on blogs/tweets/web pages/local events/local press contacts/etc... and end up selling a few tens of books per month at the most.
What's your experience? What's everyone's experience here?