Two Years and Still Kicking

Today is the second anniversary of my leap into the publishing world. It’s time to take stock, look back, and to tell you how I feel about this crazy world of books. If anyone is reading this, I ask you to indulge me in this rare bearing of my soul.

As I sit here and think about my experiences, so far, I have to wonder if I was, perhaps, just a tad ignorant of what it takes to become a competitive and successful author – Ok, I have stopped wondering – I was ignorant, totally.

In the past two years I have written and published four large tome books. I’ve been rejected by agents, offered shady or nonsensical publishing deals, have moved the prices of my books up, down, and sideways, and now I am offering one of them, completely free. I vowed never to do that, yet until midnight today, I’m giving away a book that took 9 months of hard work to create. I wrote it, researched the history, designed its cover, paid for promotions, editor, and proof reader. So why am I giving it to readers, at no cost? Because, apparently, this is a good  ‘sales strategy.’

For hours upon hours, every day, I have posted my books and updates about them on social media sites, at times feeling like a stalker or a desperate starving artist. On the days I didn’t post anything, I convinced myself that I would be forgotten and that my books would fall into Amazon’s big black hole and never come out. I have entered competitions, paid for promotional mailing lists, spent an obscene amount of money on ads, which on a good day, generated a handful of sales. I have taken my books to retail bookshops, only to hear, time and time again, “Oh, no, we don’t take indie books!” I have interacted with other authors in discussions, and some have enriched my life with friendship, whilst others have renewed my faith in human nature. It’s true, Indie authors generally want to help other authors.

janaawardcertificateTrolls? What are they, I wondered, when someone told that I had been trolled by a dozen people on Goodreads, on the same day. Well, it seems that they are little creatures, who take great pleasure in telling you how bad you write, behave, and why your book should never see the light of day. The Guardian of Secrets certainly had a troll fan base, two days after it was published – But guess what, I got over the insults, and moved swiftly on.

Jana Petken Banner
Today, The Errant Flock, my historical thriller is trending at # 18 in the top 100 Best Sellers, Historical Thrillers, on Amazon. The book is still a relatively new release. A little push, a few more sales, and I will make history in the ranks. This is of course my history, not world history!
Those of you who know me well, know that I struggle with chronic pain, every day. Sitting at a computer is probably the worst thing I can do for a badly damaged neck, held together with screws and plates. But enough of the pity party. During the past two years, I have become aware of just how many authors suffer with one illness or another. Yet they continually strive to pump out books, to do what they love, and to succeed in a business that is completely flooded with competition. I reject the comments that my peers and I receive on a daily basis. “Self Published authors are not real authors,” being one of them. Hello, I’m real, and so are the tens of thousands of SP writers, producing amazing books, and selling them on Amazon.
Finally, I am a proud Independent Author. I am just as enthusiastic today as I was when this journey began. I am encouraged by the reading public’s willingness to take a chance on unknown authors, who have not been traditionally published. I am undaunted by the competition, an uneven playing ground between Indies and Traditional authors, and I’m just as determined as I was two years ago.
Thank you readers. YOU give me hope x Thank you Indie authors. YOU give me strength.

8 Comments on “Two Years and Still Kicking

  1. Jan – What you have accomplished is nothing short of amazing, and you even have the award to back it up.

    Trolls be damned! They are insecure, vile creatures who cannot succeed on their own merits, and have the need to tear down others in an attempt to make themselves feel better.

    You have been wonderfully supportive of other indie authors, and I am honored to have you as one of my indie friends. I wish you many, many more years of continued success!


  2. This blog sums up what thousands of struggling indies face every day. There are ups and downs, there are rewards and one star reviews, there are the emails from readers who love what we have written and there are the trolls who are both jealous and destructive. Jana you are one of the few who have proved that indies who write well and tell an excellent story, can succeed there with the best. You have achieved so much more than the vast majority of us. and enjoy the award ceremony in Miami.


  3. Congratulations on two years Jan. We celebrate two years together!!!! You’re blog is a perfect recounting of what an indie author deals with. Though, over this two years I’ve met authors who are traditionally published who feel the same way. I’ve met traditionally published authors, whose books I’ve read and been unimpressed, which tells me it is more a percentage of luck than talent. And, add to that, taste. What I love you may not and so on. The difference is, we don’t bash those whose books we are less impressed with as we recognize that not everyone loves the same thing. Isn’t that fabulous? There’s something for everyone. You keep writing and plugging away Jan, you’re doing a fabulous job and many of us recognize it.


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