When Something's Not Working It's Time For A Change.

I hope this doesn't come across as a self-pity piece. It's nothing like that. I don't feel remotely sorry for myself. How could I? I'm one of the luckiest people alive!

Approaching the New Year is always a good time for looking back, and reflecting on the past year. How has your's been? Mine started off really well, with my book sales growing and growing. It seemed I couldn't do anything wrong, and then in August when I launched book eight in the series everything started to go pear-shaped. At around the same time something changed at Amazon, and hundreds of us self-published authors saw our sales fall and our rankings fade….

My master plan has always been to make enough to be able to buy a house in 2 or 3 years and enable my wife Mary to retire with no worries. In July it was beginning to look a distinct possibility, but now in December it seems like a distant dream, and I guess it's now going to take a bit longer! If this had happened to me ten years ago, I would have packed my laptop away and given up. The old, deeply unhappy me, couldn't deal with such disappointment. Fortunately, there's a new me now, and far from seeing this as a disaster, I see it as a challenge. I've had to take a long, hard, look at the way I market my books, and over the last couple of months I've been experimenting with some ideas. As a result I'm ready to start the new year with this new challenge!

A Life Changing Event

So what happened ten years ago that enabled me to change my outlook on life? Looking back now, I can see it was an easy choice to make, but back then when I was deeply depressed I couldn't see any way out. I had spent most of my fifty-three years trying to fit into the little boxes everyone else wanted for me, and I was just about at the end of my tether. I can remember feeling so depressed I went to see my doctor. She offered me anti-depressants, which I refused. At that point she said there wasn't really anything else she could do to help me, but then without realising it, she told me something that really did help me. In fact, it changed everything for me. She said: ‘you're not unhappy because you're depressed, you're depressed because you're unhappy!'

It was just a simple observation, but she had hit the nail right on the head. Using pills could treat the symptoms and might make things seem a bit more bearable, but they wouldn't do anything about the cause of my problem, only I could do that. I remembered some advice a former boss once gave me; ‘when something's not working, it's time for a change.' Well, there was no doubt in my mind, my life wasn't working…

It's not easy to walk away from everything you've known all your life and start again. I got cold feet on more than one occasion, and things would probably have been a lot different if there had been children involved, but there were none. By the time I had sold everything I had, and paid off the huge debts I had run up, I had next to nothing left. But there was no going back. If I had continued as I was I probably wouldn't be here now, that's how bad it was. This was an act of self-preservation.

I had a small van, and I had a friend who was willing to provide me with work. It was time to start over, and that's exactly what I did, and I've never regretted it for a single moment.

Look out for what happened next in the next post to be published next week.

 

 

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32 comments
Liz Welsh says December 28, 2016

Morning Pete,
I found your blog very interesting, as usual you have left a ‘cliffhanger’

We know that through hard work,writing a book is not taking an easy option, that you are now successful and happy, but how did you get there? Yes, I will be reading ‘What happened next’

The doctor you saw said such a simple sentence, but how profound and in your case, life changing.

Very best wishes to you and Mary for a happy and prosperous New Year

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    Pete says December 28, 2016

    Hi Liz,
    Seeing that doctor on that day was my lucky break. On another day I might have missed the relevance of what she had said, and then who knows what might have happened…. That day changed my life, and I have so much to be grateful for since then, not least of which is the continued support of readers like you!

    Reply
Janie Kilkelly says December 28, 2016

I enjoyed the blog, somehow it’s a real connection to know that you have suffered and that it wasn’t all as easy as the finished product gives the impression it is.

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    Pete says December 28, 2016

    Hi Janie,
    Many people have suffered a lot worse than I have. I was fortunate to find out why I was so unhappy – not everyone gets that chance, and I truly appreciate just how lucky I am. Thank you for coming along for the ride!

    Reply
Dave Jones says December 28, 2016

Hello Pete
Iam sorry you are feeling a little down,not unusual at this time of year.
The only way is forward,as you have said boats were burned some time ago.
I am sure that you writing will prove to be your rout forward. Keep going thing have a way of falling into place.

Happy and successful new year.
Regards Dave Jones.

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    Pete says December 28, 2016

    Hi Dave,
    Don’t worry, I’m not down at all – my life has never been better. I’m always a bit reflective at this time of year, but I’m always looking forward. This coming year promises to be wonderful in many ways. Happy New Year to you!

    Reply
E. Martin says December 28, 2016

Fascinating! Can’t wait for the next instalment!

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    Pete says December 28, 2016

    I hope you won’t be disappointed!

    Reply
Dennis Merritt says December 28, 2016

I can’t wait you should make this into a book here’s to 2017 kind regards.
Dennis

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    Pete says December 28, 2016

    Hi Dennis,
    Thanks for your suggestion, but I’ve already got so many ideas!

    Reply
Jackie Cornes says December 28, 2016

I am intrigued to know what you think caused the fall-off in sales that you and other self-published authors experienced ……?

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    Pete says December 28, 2016

    Hi Jackie,
    It’s impossible to say for sure, but it appears there has been a problem with the recording of ‘pages read’ for books in Kindle Unlimited since August. I certainly noticed a huge drop in mine, and that caused a dip in book rankings, which in turn caused a loss in sales, which caused a further drop in rankings… It’s a vicious circle that’s really difficult to stop. At the same time I made a mess of my last book launch. I’ve been going backwards ever since. I’m hoping the next book launch will restore some of the lost ground.

    Reply
Wilma Forrest says December 28, 2016

Really enjoying your blog, Pete, and your books. My problem with Kindle Unlimited is it’s too accessible. I keep adding to and deleting from my collection of books as I see a book I want to read. Time is the problem as I don’t have the time to read all that I access. As I’m unsure of the process I don’t know if this affects you or not. Hope they get it sorted out for you and soon. Best wishes for 2017

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    Pete says December 28, 2016

    Hi Wilma,
    I believe the problem has been created by authors who have been trying to game the Amazon system, but in trying to correct this, Amazon have punished the wrong people. As a result, many independent authors are convinced the system still isn’t working correctly, and many, like me, have decided now is the time to spread their books far and wide, remove them from Kindle Unlimited, and end their exclusive deals with Amazon. IT’s a gradual process, but my books are now becoming available on Nook, Kobo, iBooks, and other smaller estores.

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Karen Sumerlin says December 28, 2016

Hi Pete, thanks for the blog, it makes a connection to the “real” person and I enjoy that. I do not use the Kindle Unlimited feature as I have so many books to read that I have found on my own. “So many books, so little time “! I do read my favorite authors first and you are one of them. With your positive attitude things will work out for you so keep those thought processes flowing.

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    Pete says December 28, 2016

    Hi Karen,
    It’s very kind of you to suggest I’m one of your favourite authors, and don’t worry, I have no doubt everything will turn out just fine!

    Reply
Lindsey Queenan says December 28, 2016

Fascinating blog Pete. I am a nosy person and love to know about people and their lives. I get so much pleasure from reading and this is enhanced when I can feel a connection to the authors and the characters. Looking forward to the next instalment!

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    Pete says December 28, 2016

    Hi Lindsey,
    Thank you for your comments – I hope the next instalment won’t disappoint you.

    Reply
Tim Grant says December 28, 2016

Another interesting story, but a true one. I get down in the dumps and frustrated as I’m dyslexic. Rubbish at spelling but good at numbers. Thank God for computers and my wife.
I’m living for your next book, and excited, but your blog is keeping my taste buds working.
This time of year being cold and miserable, there is nothing better than lots of crime books and murder mysteries to while away the time.
For God’s sake keep writing.

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    Pete says December 28, 2016

    Hi Tim,
    Good days and bad days – it’s all part of life, right? I find the thing to do is focus on the good days. (Yes, I know I’m lucky to have plenty of them, but it hasn’t always been that way!) I just think the more you focus on the good stuff, the easier it is to ride out the bad stuff.

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Susan says December 28, 2016

Hi Pete! I’m sorry Amazon is not treating independent authors better, I hope they fix their issue. You are very talented, and we so look forward to your next book. You are lucky to pull yourself up 10 years ago, and literally start over. Wishing you and your wife much happiness in 2017.

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    Pete says December 28, 2016

    Hi Susan,
    Thank you for your good wishes. According to Amazon there is no issue, so I’m not expecting a change anytime soon (apparently it’s just a coincidence that thousands of us have suffered in the same way).

    Reply
Penny says December 28, 2016

Pete, it’s very too bad that Amazon is doing what they are, because without the Kindle Unlimited books I would not have discovered you and Dave Slater. I couldn’t read them fast enough once I got hooked. I do hope your alternative routes for publishing are successful because you have created great characters in this series. I read a lot of British “cozy mysteries” and have become pretty picky about what I read, so I don’t compliment you lightly. I think your characters are interesting and well developed as well as providing delightful “out of the norm” qualities. I look forward to more of your creative spirit.
Happy New Year.

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    Pete says December 28, 2016

    Hi Penny,
    Thank you for your compliment, it’s much appreciated. What’s happened is a setback, but it’s not the end of the world. At least I have a series of novels to re-launch in these other stores. It’s much harder for those who only have one or two books.

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Sue Kelk says December 28, 2016

Like Penny, I too discovered Dave and Norm through Kindle Unlimited and was quickly hooked. I then hunted down every book you had ever written and read them in quick succession. What a shame you’ve had to leave Kindle Unlimited as it is a lifeline for me, living in a small village and with limited mobility I am unable to get to shops often enough to satisfy my thirst for new reading matter. I hope leaving KU doesn’t stop others from finding your marvellous books. I hope you had a Merry Christmas and that 2017 will be healthy and prosperous for you.

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    Pete says December 29, 2016

    Hi Sue,
    Kindle Unlimited is great for readers, and it was good for me for about eighteen months, but as a writer you have to enter into an exclusive deal to have your books featured, and when a huge company like Amazon makes changes to the way things work, they only have their own interests at heart. I don’t begrudge that, it’s business, but in the same way I have to look out for my business. By ending my exclusive agreement with Amazon, I can sell my books in other ebook stores where they have never appeared before. I’m even looking into the possibility of selling them here on my own website!

    Reply
Chris Levine says December 29, 2016

Hey Pete, I found your books looking for mysteries with some heart, and yours have that. I’ve read them all, and love them, the characters and the plots. Please don’t stop writing, your are a wonderful writer and I look forward to the next installment for Dave and Norman. Just let me know if you change your venue, so I can continue to follow you and your work.

Thanks for the many hours of enjoyment and fun.

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    Pete says December 29, 2016

    Hi Chris,
    Thank you for your support. It’s really great to know so many people enjoy what I do, and don’t worry, I have no intention of stopping. Even if I wanted a proper job, at my age, and with my qualifications, I’m probably unemployable! My books will still be there on Amazon, just not in Kindle Unlimited. They will also be available on Nook, Kobo, iBooks, and most other ebook stores.

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Michele M Barron says December 29, 2016

What a wonderful story about your life. Thank you for sharing it. I believe it is going to help me and I intend to share it with my good friend who is unhappy. It is simply amazing how resilient we humans are given direction and a chance.

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    Pete says December 29, 2016

    Hi Michele,
    If there’s anything I can do to help your friend just let me know. If I can help just one person along the way, then my story is worth sharing. It’s surprising what even a small change can do, and there’s no limit to what can be achieved once a little belief starts to grow.

    Reply
      Susan Lyons says December 30, 2016

      Dear Pete ,
      Thank you so much for sharing the first part of your life instalment .. I too had a similar conversation with a doctor who after 2years on anti depressants (that did nothing for me) said I had to change the situation I was in … so I did ..took a couple of years and wasn’t easy but I did…. so much happier now and actually looking forward and planning the future, which before looked bleak ….. I love Dave and Norm and really hope you continue with the excellent storylines … I don’t use k unlimited but I do use Amazon , so if you continue to have problems I’d certainly buy straight from your website .. many thanks .. looking forward to your next blog

      Reply
        Pete says December 30, 2016

        Hi Sue,
        Sometimes it can take a while to make changes – you can’t always do it all at once, but once you’ve summoned the courage to make the decision and taken that first step it can be a bit like a snowball rolling downhill!
        I will continue to use Amazon as it’s the biggest market place by far, but selling from the website is a possibility I’m looking into if I can find a reliable and efficient way of delivering the books.

        Reply
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