A Writer’s Hangover



© 2015 Alan F. Zundel

After the elation comes the crash.

You know your imagination is running wild, and you don’t believe its foolish promises, yet still you feel a letdown when the promises are broken.

I launched my memoir as a Kindle e-book last week with a 5-day promotion in which people could download it for free. Then I notified people on my social media accounts. The downloads spiked up the first day, then fell by half but plateaued for the next few days.

Hundreds of copies of my book were in the hands of readers. The numbers may be small in comparison to those many other writers, but to me they were astonishing. This was more copies in a few days than I had distributed of some of my other books in the whole time since their release. Obviously making it available for free helped get it out there, but for this writer getting my book in the hands of readers is the whole point.

So my imagination kicked in, drunk with wild dreams. If only I could sustain a fraction of those downloads when the promotion is over and the book is for sale, I would be earning enough to devote myself to writing full time. I don’t need a lot of money, but I do have to earn something.

Writing full time would be my dream. Not being rich and famous, simply having sufficient income that I can spend more time writing. But after the promotion ended, harsh dawn arrived and the blaring light of day showed the numbers down to zero.

(Okay, there was one download. This was to someone on one of Amazon’s reader membership plans, which means rather than the standard royalty I get a minute percentage from their membership fees. Two copies so far have been downloaded through membership plans, and since I spent nothing to publish the book that means I turned a profit. So you could say the book is a success in that respect, anyway.)

Now the hard part of marketing the book begins.

As the memoir of an obscure writer—that is, me—I knew it would be a hard sell. Actually, I hadn’t even planned to distribute it when I first started writing. It began as a personal project, but after a while my story of trying to understand myself and find my place in the world began to show potential for a more general readership.

So a book was born and needed to find its readers. I started this blog and reactivated some social media accounts for promotion, as other writers have recommended. I am sure that helped. But now I need to keep at it and continue to build a readership.

Sobriety starts by facing up to reality and doing the heavy lifting in life.

A next step is to get the book out in paperback for those who want to read it as a “real” book. I am working on that now, formatting it for publication. That one can’t be offered for free, so it will have to earn its readership the hard way—getting them to spend money on it.

And as my main promotional tool, I know my blog needs more focus. To me my primary interests are inseparably linked, but in a world that loves to segment life into compartments I am swimming against the current. I can’t help it—I’ve always been a contrarian challenging social customs, for better or worse.

Yet focus is emerging. The blog forces me to keep writing to feed its hungry mouth, and when you start writing you never know what is going to emerge.

One area of focus is writing about what happens as I continue to write and try to promote my writings. The highlights and lowlights, learning experiences, and reflections on this odd way to be spending time. In short, posts like the one you are reading right now.

So if you are a writer, someone who would like to be a writer, or someone interested in writing and what writers do, you are invited to follow along with me on this journey.

And if you are inspired to dialogue with me about this, leave some comments below and I would be thrilled to discuss it with you!



  1. David Greer April 15, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Hi Alan,

    Thanks for sharing your journey. You are well on your way and I’m sure that given what you have accomplished you will figure out how to market the printed version of your memoir.

    Good luck.



  2. Lydia Erickson April 15, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    I tried to download your free memoir, but Amazon is charging $3.99 for it. Sadly, I must pass on this for now as I truly am a ‘starving author’. I wish you all the best and I love your blog! Keep up the great work! You keep people like us in the game. Thank you for being a realistic and an encouraging example for me and many others, I’m sure.

  3. Alan April 15, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    Hi David, thanks for your encouraging comment. Good luck with your recent release.

  4. Alan April 15, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    Hello Lydia. Sorry about the confusion. The free ebook was a temporary promotional device, which expired about a week ago. Keep in touch in case I have another promotion down the line. I do want people to read it more than I want to make money!

  5. Howard Thompson April 29, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Hi Alan,
    I was just browsing old emails and got to your blog. Nice job. Keep em coming. I enjoyed your writing style. Last night I began the search for a new kindle book and now have one to read. Thanks,

  6. Alan May 5, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    Hello Howard. (Hi to Kathleen.) Thanks for the kind words. Hope you enjoy the book. Still hitting the cushion regularly? Alan


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