Please Remain Seated Until the Ride Comes to a Complete Stop

I hate roller coasters. They scare me like crazy, and I’m lucky I was never sick on one.Image

Many years ago, I went to Myrtle Beach with three of my girlfriends. We ended up at an amusement park. I didn’t want to ride the roller coaster, but I also didn’t want them to know I was afraid, so, of course, I hopped on.

The first turn was made at the top, and as we leveled out, all I could see was the ocean ahead of me. The feeling of flying down the first hill was that of plunging into the ocean. I don’t remember much else other than a sick feeling. I was so relieved to get off of that roller coaster.

I’ve said before that if I only ever wrote my books to entertain my mother and my sister, it would have been worth it. Although I’ve hoped for more, that statement has always been true. I’ve been wondering why I’ve had so much unease lately. Last Saturday night, I had a light bulb moment. I realized the unease was coming from the emotional roller coaster I was still riding – and I wanted off!

Downloads, no downloads. Sales, no sales. Reviews, no reviews. Up and down and up and down and up and down. Whether I realized it or not, the ride was constantly running in the back of my mind.

I allowed the car to pull into the station, come to a complete stop … and I got off.

Last July, when I realized I had made total royalties of $74.72, Rich said to me, “Honey, $74.72 is more than you ever thought you’d make. You’re way ahead of the game.” He was right then, and he’s still right now.

I’ve accomplished more than I ever dreamed I would when I sat down to write my first story. I’m happy with the success I’ve achieved, and I’m not getting back on that roller coaster.

We will soon be out riding the motorcycle again, and I’m relieved I’ll be riding without nagging worries riding along with me. I already feel lighter, and I’ll be sure to report all of the crazy things Rich and I get into this summer while we’re out. In the meantime, I’m going to set my mind to working harder on Maple Leaf Hunter. I have a few fans waiting for it.

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116 thoughts on “Please Remain Seated Until the Ride Comes to a Complete Stop

  1. People are cheap. Maybe you should include a beer when they buy the book. It always annoyed me whenever someone would say they couldn’t afford to support anything I was doing then I’d see a picture of them online hammered with a beer in their hand. For the price of one city beer (they’re cheaper in the ‘burbs) you can buy everything I have on Amazon and still have money left over to buy a snack. The 24,000 is still amazing. Amazon makes it such a pain to put things up there for free now. I’ve used 3 of my Amazon Exclusive free days and in those days I did manage to give away about 130 free books which isn’t bad. It’s certainly not 24,000.

    And I’m pretty sure the author is indeed counting freebies as sales. The key is probably to have one thing make you a lot of money/get really popular. When your name becomes the brand then you can do anything you want. Once you get to the point where they’re reading a book because it’s by Maddie Cochere and not because the synopsis called them in then you’re set for life.

    • Hey, Tim. I’ve never been a fan of someone giving their book away for free when they only have one book. I’ve read that when you have three, it starts to work well. You have a loss leader then to drive people to the others in your line. I probably waited a little too long by waiting until I had five, because Amazon put a stop to many of the big affiliates offering freebies. I missed that exposure. On the other hand, I’m glad I didn’t go free until I had the new cover on Sunshine Hunter. Today, it’s all good. I haven’t worked very hard at getting my own name out there, but I sure talk about Susan Hunter as much as possible. 🙂

  2. Sometimes I find myself hitting “refresh” on my Kindle sales pages and I have to tell myself, “Stop it. You’re making yourself nuts.” While I haven’t had much success, I’ve been going about wrong. I’m terrible about self-promotion. Did you know I’ve published two stories recently? No, you don’t, because I’ve not said a peep about, instead opting to make fun of my flowers.

    It’s important to keep trying. Thanks for sharing this, what success means to you, and adding a little sunshine to a drear winter. It’s so easy to get frustrated, you loose track of what really matters–a love of writing and reading.

    • Thank you, Antoinette. I definitely think you should promote yourself more – especially on your own blog. I’m working on a marketing post for the beginning of next month, and I hope to have some easy ideas that you might like. I went from checking my sales stats a bazillion times a day to three – morning, mid-day, and evening. I expect to whittle that down to once a day, and it feels so good that the downloads, sales, and reviews aren’t taking over my life now. It will be so much easier to write.

      • You might want to try a blog tour. I have one coming up with Sizzling PR. Goddess Fish also does them. It’s actually the biggest reason I’ve started blogging again–people are probably going to want to see some content.

        I do like easy ideas. In the end a lot of it takes time. It was neither difficult nor expensive to set things up with Sizzling PR, but I’ve spent a fair amount of time filling out interviews.

  3. Pingback: Please Remain Seated Until the Ride Comes to a Complete Stop | Antoinette M--

  4. You’ve done phenomenal, and I think making your first book free is a brilliant marketing strategy. So was having several books available. That’s just what the experts say to do. I’ve read that almost 80% of published books sell fewer than 100 copies total, and you’ve sold almost three times that in one month. Well done. By they way, you might find this an interesting read: http://www.salon.com/2013/03/15/hey_amazon_wheres_my_money/

    It’s a sobering discovery, but still, at least he gets to say he had a best-seller. I wouldn’t mind that bedpost notch. 😉

    • Carrie, that’s a good article. I wish more people would share their true numbers. I think it would go a long way toward helping people have realistic goals. The nice thing about publishing directly with Amazon is that they pay a royalty of 70%. I think it’s 60% at Smashwords.

      It might sound lame, but getting off that roller coaster opened my eyes to how cool this all really is; and I’m happy. Like Mr. Wensink, I will likely never see a new car, but I will be able to help pay a few bills – and maybe even replace the evil downstairs toilet! I couldn’t ask for anything more.

      • I agree.

        For me, it’s been frustrating not knowing my full sales. My book came out 9/15, and would you believe the first royalty check I received was last month and it only covered sales between 9/15 and 9/30? They lag a quarter behind. So I won’t really know what I’ve sold since October 1st until mid-May. Very weird.

        • That would make me a little crazy. I still haven’t received any money from Smashwords ever ($70 threshold for a paper check), and I’ve been with them since last May. They pay quarterly, too, and since B&N is so late in paying Smashwords, I won’ t see any money from Jan-Mar until the end of July. I’m just grateful there will be a check of any amount. 🙂

  5. Maddie!!! Hi, just wanted to say that. 🙂 You are doing great my friend. I found out about that roller coaster ride yesterday. I will email you what happened. But today I’m my old fiesty self again and to hell with it. I love writing, I love reading. I will continue to do both. I hope you will too, because you have a talent my friend. {{{hugs}}}}

    • Yes! When you realize you’re on the roller coaster, get off as quickly as you can! I’m off to my mother’s soon but will be back this evening. Looking forward to hearing from you.

  6. Maddie – the roller coaster, yes! excellent comparison. I’m with Carrie, you’ve done phenomenal.
    My November royalties bought the postage for our holiday greetings! What does THAT tell ya? Onward and upward, though…I only had fun on a roller coaster once in my life. In fact, it was in Ohio, at Cedar Point. Is that place still open?
    No more actual roller coasters for me. Doctors orders.

    • Honie, with five books, my Amazon royalties never surpassed $28/month until January when they were $49.55, and that was probably because I was gifting copies! 🙂 It was simply time to follow the example of those who have tried this marketing strategy with success by making my first book free. So, yes, onward and upward wherever any of us are in our publishing journey.

      Cedar Point is still open, but I haven’t been there in years. They still bill the park as the “roller coaster capital of the world!”

  7. I don’t like roller coasters because they’re often boring,.
    Keep on writing. It always seemed like you were doing it more for your own satisfaction, and as long as you have that, everything else is icing!

    • Hola, El Guapo! Roller coasters boring – surely you kid! 🙂

      That’s the epiphany I had. This was all so cool and fun that I was cheeky enough to just write, self-publish, and make my family laugh, that I should have never gotten on that roller coaster to begin with and let it drag me down. I’m ready for The Masters next month, followed by a winning year for the Cleveland Indians and a good summer of riding the motorcycle; the book chips can fall where they may.

    • Thank you, Tim. You’ve watched me go through all of these ups and downs, and it all comes back to the fact that whenever I realize I’m no longer having fun or laughing at myself, I have to grab the situation by the horns, shake it off, and figure out a way to move on. Yes, I am doing well, and I feel really good this week. I need a couple of good humor posts in here to brighten things up. I’ll work on that. 🙂

  8. One of the unfortunate byproducts of the age we live in is that everyone has access to amazing content for free. And even if it’s not a matter of money, there is still so much now available in the form of blogs, podcasts, and just plain amazing information out there.

    From universities, to companies, to individuals, to hobbyists, or from people who are just plain passionate about one subject or another, I could spend the rest of my life learning and reading without really having to tackle any of my reading pile.

    Add to that the fact many people have their own hobbies and interests they want to share, and really, I am surprised people sell as many books as they do.

    Honestly, I think most of the growth (if there is any) in sales are going to come from abroad (note: I don’t mean a generic woman; I mean other countries).

    I think back 30 years ago, and the amount of reading I did . . . and I still had time to work, play golf, racquetball, run a company, spend time with my wife, and sometimes be bored enough to take a nap on weekends. Again, not because I was tired, but bored. Those days are gone, and love it or hate it, the internet is what changed it all for me.

    • Emilio, I agree with everything you said here. I used to read a ton of books, now I have so little time. I have to make the time to read. The internet has changed everything for me as well. And yes, there is so much out there that is free. I know people who say they will never, ever pay for a book again, and they don’t have to. They have over 50,000 free books for their Kindles alone. They will never read them all in their lifetime. Yes, the times are a-changing. I’m grateful for the success I’ve already had.

  9. Count me in on the fans anxiously awaiting Maple Leaf Hunter. 🙂 Just finished your 2nd last night, now I’m halfway through your 3rd. I knew you were talented the first time we spoke, but I had no idea just how much.
    I look forward to hearing about your summer adventures. & Congrats on everything going so well! *big hugs*

    • Thank you for the well wishes and hugs, DD. So tickled you made it to #3. I think my writing was getting better by Vegas, and I’ve been more comfortable with it since then. I appreciate that you’ve continued to read the books and am really happy you are entertained. I’ve been working on Maple Leaf Hunter, but I really need to hunker down and work harder. I’m longing for a warm day, so I can open the window beside my desk and have a fresh breeze. It’s easy to write on those
      days. 🙂

  10. It’s true. People do have mixed reviews about everything, but I think your husband is right! You are way ahead of the game. You made $75! And one day that will be $7,500 and one day from there it will be who knows!

    I like the idea of giving a free sample. However, I do have a question: Does Amazon allow you to sell your books for free through Kindle Digital Publishing?

    • $7500 would be fun, Marla, that’s for sure. 🙂 And thank goodness for husbands. He really helps to keep me grounded.

      Amazon does not allow you to set the price to free. They say they will “price match” if the book is free at other outlets, but I’ve read where many times they don’t or won’t. Rather than to wait to find out, I wrote to KDP directly and asked them to match the free price. With five books in the series, I wanted to offer the first book free with the hopes of driving traffic to the other four. We had a couple of emails back and forth, and then they set the price to free. … It was then that I got on the roller coaster. Now I’m getting off. 🙂

    • Are you kidding! Enjoyed the writing process??!! With Strong Words vs Weak Words, I thought I would lose my mind!!

      🙂

      All kidding aside, Robin, it wasn’t the numbers that sent me over the edge; I was content with my few sales every month. It was how fast everything happened after the book was set to free, and then the entire review process freaked me out. I’m good now though. Really good. I had a blast writing my books, I still like them, and they still make me laugh. I made it through this little bout of madness, and I’m ready to work harder on the next book. Keep those S v W words coming!

  11. As Carrie said – you’ve done phenomenal, Maddie. I rarely check my sales (sometimes I get to the end of the month and realise I’ve completely forgotten to check for the entire month!). I just write because I love writing. I get an email from Paypal every month saying there’s something in my account and I just transfer it over (whatever it is, but I know it’s certainly not millions!) There is probably only a handful of people in the world that actually make a living from writing and once we realise this, the pressure is taken off and the roller-coaster stops 😀

    • Thank you, Dianne. The funny thing about all this is that I’m not a stat checker. Not here at WordPress or at Amazon. It was only when those freaky download numbers starting coming in that I even found out how many stats there were to check at Amazon and even Smashwords. Author rank. How can you have an author rank on a free book? Some of this just boggles my mind. Going forward, I will be doing as you are doing and going back to my life. At least I only went bonkers for a few weeks. 😉

      • Great to see, Maddie. The whole thing can get overwhelming at times! 😉 I actually checked my Amazon account this morning after reading this post (LOL at me) and saw someone has been buying and returning my books (although I think it could be my stalker – more about that later) 😯

        • I have to admit, it was a jolt the first time I saw a return, Dianne. I had no idea someone could buy an eBook, read it, and return it for a refund. Thankfully, there haven’t been a lot of them. The stalker sounds foreboding. 😦

  12. Maddie,
    get off the roller coaster soon because I’d like the pre-roller coaster Maddie back please. Full stop. Set yourself the challenge of not looking at the damn stats for a whole week and let’s see how you feel. If you can’t, it’s time for the AA – Amazon Anonimous…

    • Oh, I’m good now. Truly! That was the whole point of this point. Getting off that blasted roller coaster.

      My blog was started to chronicle my writing journey, and it certainly has done that – the good, the bad, and the ugly. I think we’re past the worst of it now. Cheers to the future! 🙂

      • Yuppie!
        confession time: I really enjoyed your tribe and tribulation as you chronicled your writing journey, rollercoaster and all. It’s real and it’s captivating. I can only hope that I will get there myself one day. You are a few steps ahead and you know what? I’m making a U turn, Lady! You can get on and off that roller coaster as many times as you like! Call it the prerogative of the one who’s ahead of us lot!!!

        • I agree. I think it has been a fun ride too. I used to love roller coasters but they won’t let me ride now…I am in that category of Heart Patients and Pregnant Women…and no I’m not expecting.
          Some day you will look back and treasure the whole experience.

    • Of course you can borrow $75. 🙂 The funny thing is, when i started this, I never really thought anyone outside of family and friends would ever read my book(s), so it’s all been a little surreal. That download number scared the pants off of me at first. Btw, I replied to your email the other night but don’t know if the “info” email address goes back to you. If you didn’t get the second, direct email from me, let me know, and I’ll resend.

  13. On my first glance I thought those numbers were total sales (for all time) and I was impressed. And then of course, I read closer (I dont read too good) and see that is for the month. Nice wave! You rock!

  14. That just cracks me up….”Can I borrow $75.00?” LOL! Love that sense of humor!
    I just finished your last book….and I am sad because I’m ready to download the next one! You rock, Maddie! Hands UP…..WEEEEEEEEEE! 😉 ♥ psb

  15. Maddie, I’m so impressed how well you have done, you always stay focused and for that my hat is off to you. Rich is right “You’re way ahead of the game”. Give it time Maddie, I believe you’re sitting on a gold mine, it’s just a matter of time.

    • That was the light bulb over my head – Rich’s words reminding me that I was “way ahead of the game.” I’m going to enjoy finishing this next book and then see what happens from there. Thank you, Rita Kay. You are always so supportive.

    • Who knows indeed! It wasn’t even a dream when I first started writing. My first book was published in May of 2012, and here we are, not even a year later, and I have sales that surprise me and delight me. Just keep writing, Richard. Who knows what the future holds. 🙂

  16. For a moment, Maddie, I thought I was reading my own blog. I’m on the same coaster (I’m the tall guy seated a few cars back) and the ride will drive you insane, its true.
    Rich is right though; you’ve done extremely well for yourself. By comparison, my book isn’t even moving! Savor the flavor, get off th eride as soon as you can and enjoy your life as much as you can, cutie!

    • Good thing I don’t get sick on roller coasters, or you would wish to be sitting in front of me. 🙂

      Robert, most of last year was so much fun. I was truly blissfully ignorant, and just kept writing, self-publishing, and laughing at how silly I was to be writing books. I had no idea there would be a negative side, and that some parts of putting your work out there would be so negative. It’s all a learning curve. Yes, I intend to have fun again. I’m done with roller coasters. Keep writing! You have book #2 coming up soon, yes?

  17. Maddie, you did exceedingly well for yourself and you should feel proud of yourself. Not many would be able to achieve what you achieved, so if you need to give yourself a break from that roller coaster you should feel free to do so because you’ve definitely earned it. 🙂

    • Zen, I was so unnerved over all of the free downloads – not because they were free, but because there were suddenly so many of them out there. And then the reviews started coming in. I let myself get so worked up, I didn’t see right away that the other books were being picked up at a steady pace – and they were being enjoyed. I’m definitely happy to get off of that roller coaster!

  18. I’ve never been on a roller coaster before, mostly because I’ve never been able to wrap my head around how such a thing could possibly be fun.

    Thank you for so openly sharing your publishing journey. It’s fascinating! The fact that you’ve written SIX books is an awesome accomplishment.

    • Peer pressure is the only thing that ever put me on a roller coaster, and I never enjoyed a single ride. 🙂

      I’ve appreciated other authors who have shared their ups and downs as they write and publish books. Many of their experiences have helped me, and I hope sharing some of the crazy train that I’ve been on will help someone else, too. Happy to hear you’ve enjoyed reading about it all, and thanks for stopping by!

  19. I’ve never really been an amusement park person either…I went on the rides with my friends because I too didn’t want to admit that I was too chicken 🙂 Good luck with your book endeavor! It is not always easy hanging onto the emotional roller coaster 🙂

    • Come to think of it, I don’t recall that I ever enjoyed very much in an amusement park other than being with friends. 🙂 Thank you for your well wishes; they are appreciated!

  20. Still speaking as a civilian,Maddie, do you have facebook? I only ask because I mentioned to one son that maybe he should have a blog to highlight his music and he looked at me kindly and said that blogs are old fashioned for that sort of thing, you have to promote your stuff on Facebook.

  21. I think you’re doing great, Maddie! I propose we swap numbers…I just received my first royalty check and I couldn’t even afford doughnuts for my co-workers, maybe 1/2 doughnut each. LOL

    • Is your royalty a quarterly check? If so, your first check was probably for only a week, right? 🙂 You keep writing your series, and I suspect you will do the same thing? Once you have three, or four, or five, do the first one for free. People will love Shannon and Spinelli.

      Want to know what I did this afternoon? I watched One for the Money again on Netflix. I enjoyed it again the second time. 🙂

  22. Dude, that’s a hell of a lot of downloads. That’s super cool. You SHOULD be damn proud to have twenty four large with a copy of your stuff. I had no idea you were a celebrity…

    …I’m sorry about the Butt Hunter suggestion.

    • Adam! You’re home safely, yes? How was the drive time? I expect you had a fantastic time and can’t wait to hear about it.

      I know! The downloads kind of freaked me out; it all happened so fast. It’s the sales on the other books that are making me so happy. I’ll finally have a royalties check that is more than $10. No problem on Butt Hunter. It was no worse than Rat Hunter. (sort of) 😉

      • I think the drive was about twenty one hours. It was pretty brutal. But, we had a really good time. Becca’s a doll! Story coming soon. My brain is taking a vacation. Now is the time for reading. \m/

  23. I think you’re marvelous Maddie! It takes a lot of courage to write about this so openly and bravo for doing it. Writing is an emotional experience because we put so much of ourselves into the process. I think you’re doing a wonderful job! 🙂

    • Thank you, Kate. I appreciate your support so much. I really think the worst of it is behind me now, and I’m looking forward to just writing now.

      Do you feel different? Is there a permanent smile on your face? 🙂

      • Aww, you are so welcome! I’m really looking forward to downloading the rest of your titles. They are on my wishlist and I will do it as soon as I can! 🙂

        Well there’s not a permanent smile on my face, unfortunately, because I’m missing my man… but we’ll be together soon, I am sure! 🙂

  24. In his classic poem If, Rudyard Kipling includes these lines:

    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same…

    One could easily substitute “huge sales” for the one, “low sales” for the other– same exact idea, and deep down, you musta known that truth when you climbed off the RC. You’ve written 5, count ’em, 5 books, and you remain a truly classy person. Royalties, schmoyalties.

    Make that a double>/i> order of Asiago cheese, and don’t forget the side of bacon!! : )

    If: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/175772

    • I always enjoy when you bring more bacon to the table! 🙂

      Mark, this has been an amazing learning experience. All of my insecurities about writing, all of my successes and failures – they are all here in this blog, and that is why I’m so glad I started it when I did. I’ll always have a reminder of where I was, how far I’ve come, and even how low I let myself get at times. I’m happy to be off the roller coaster, and I’m looking forward to just having fun writing again. Thank you for the link to the poem. I’ve never read it before; it’s really great.

      The reference to the motorcycle and asiago cheese can be found in our adventure last summer: https://breezybooksblog.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/get-off-your-heine-and-go-buy-some-cheese/ 🙂

  25. This roller coaster of which you mention,
    Should never be a source of tension,
    It is the ups and downs you see,
    That fill our life with joy and glee,

    Sometimes the train climbs with stress,
    And the sudden drop is none the less,
    But as we breathlessly dismount the train,
    We look back with a sigh, “Lets go again”

    Some upside down twists and turns,
    An oh, how our stomach burns,
    We stretch and grow from all the strife,
    On this roller coaster we call Life.
    Bo

  26. I’ve read that many authors never read their reviews, good or bad. There’s nothing you or I can do about the bad ones, so maybe that’s a good idea. I just want to say, I have read your first two books and I plan on buying your others. I really liked them because they were fun and Susan is a likable character.

    • Hi Donna Jean! I wonder if they read their reviews when they were new and first getting them. 😉 It would be nice one day to say I’ve finally stopped looking at them.

      I appreciate that you’ve read two of the books and may read more. Thank you for your kind words. The next book is in Vegas, and things get pretty silly from there on out.

      I thought I was following you, but just looked and see that if I was, it disappeared – something that has happened to me with some frequency here. I’ll be by shortly to fix that. Hope you’re having a nice weekend!

      • Thank you Maddie for following my blog. I just saw an email that said you were. I’m really bad right now about posting, but I’m hoping I’ll get better soon. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. Thank you again for the follow, I truly appreciate it and I’ll see you again soon on your blog.

  27. I think this is wonderful! I personally like rollercoasters and am fine with the ups & downs in life as well as amusement parks. I think your writing sounds right on track. What really matters is the writing, not the numbers. Unless that’s what you’re doing it for?? I doubt that.

    • Of course you like roller coasters! 🙂 Your personality and love of life and adventure lends itself to roller coasters.

      I agree, the roller coaster of life is something to be “fine” with. We do learn a lot from that roller coaster, and I hope I’ve learned from the writing roller coaster. I had no idea there would be one, and it took me by surprise. I started writing for the writing, then hoped I could one day quit my work from home job and just write, so putting work out that would sell is something I hoped for, but it was never the main focus. Now that I’m off of the roller coaster, I have my perspective back and am writing again.

  28. You are so brave to put your imagination out there for others.

    The beauty and the downfall of the internet is in the amount of content it provides. It’s like being at the world’s largest crafts fair. We all want to view everything and it can be overwhelming.

    Some day, whether one-by-one or in-flock, people will make their way to your creation.

    But in the meantime, congratulations on the difficult triumph past a need for mass appeal and validation. I hope I make it there some day, too.

    • Amber, thank you for stopping in and leaving such wonderful, uplifting comments. I’ve stepped away from the internet and blogging for a while, and I feel I have a better perspective on everything. Hope all is well with you, too!

  29. I dropped by after you left such a nice comment on my blog and I am very glad I did. This is a super article, and like you I agree that you need a few books out there before you offer any free ones. I’m on a similar roller coaster and in the last few months have become obsessed with sales. I think I’ll take a holiday. Can I borrow your motorcycle? It looks great fun!

    • Carol, than you so much for stopping by. Definitely take that holiday! I finally have my perspective back, and I felt so good on the day that I completely forgot to check my sales stats.

      One of the things that drew me to you was the title of your blog. I’ve crossed the “midway point” and am laughing at myself for having started to write books in my new-found retirement. I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog.

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