2020 – The Year of Many Disappointments


While the SARS-CoV-1, otherwise known as the coronavirus, took over the planet in the year 2020, there were some who thrived and some who shriveled. In the writing world, it was believed that people read more because they were isolated and needed a way of escape.

Some authors rose to higher heights while I am certain that some fell flat on their asses. As for me, C.D. Samuda, I certainly lost a lot of weight, figuratively speaking. As my sales tanked and my reviews changed, I wanted to blame the stress of Covid-19 on my downturn. But as the year ended, I had to look deep within and see where I fell short. Because no matter what, the onus was on me to figure out what I did wrong.

The year 2020 started off well, until it started going awry for me. At first I didn’t notice until my gut told me that I was targeting the wrong audience for my books. I said it to someone, and they linked me with another author. That author asked me who my target audience was, but I didn’t feel a concern on their end. The conversation was stilted and not bred out of empathy, or the need to assist me. I couldn’t answer the question off the top of my head. At the time, what I needed was someone who would the take time to figure this out with me, and not some stranger who felt obligated to talk to me because their PA asked them to.

I know what ‘a’ target audience is supposed to be. I did marketing for the Academy I worked with for nearly a decade. But when it came to my books, I failed to pinpoint my audience. All I knew at the time, was that I needed the audience I had between 2016 and 2019. I needed back those readers.

I knew I picked up new readers, and for the first time since building my mailing list, I kept losing quite a number of subscribers each month. Then it hit me.

  • My books have changed.
  • The tone of my stories changed.
  • The quality of my output changed.

I will address the above points below.

I was trying to cater to the new crowd who were not my real fans. They didn’t like my stories as much as my former readers liked my previous books. The new audience was not my target audience. This forced me to define my target audience as well as deciding on how to proceed for 2021. Because in fact, there is no way I can continue on the same vein as the latter six months of 2020.

Who is my target audience?

My target audience are people who will leave reviews like this:

 

Let’s define this audience. They are not my friends. I don’t know who that Kindle Customer is. What I do know is that this person likes my work. They may not like every book I write. This review was left on a Check Mate in 2017. The person mentioned that I may not have enough money to pay an editor why my book has errors. They still gave me a 5 star rating.

My books at that time, except for one clean romance trilogy, were all steamy romances, not erotica. BTW, that clean boxed trilogy is my highest earner off all time. They had explicit sexual encounters long after the couple meets and get to know each other. The stories are built around the romance and not the sex.

Examples:

  • The Scent of You is my highest earning novel of all time
  • His Sacrifice for Love comes in a close second
  • My highest earning boxed trilogy is Love’s Abandon (book 1 – no on screen sex, book 2 – 1 fade back)

Most of my books up to 2019 point were romantic suspense. In 2020 I started getting more explicit with my language. Based off the new readers’ taste, I plunged into semi-erotic prose while still focusing on romance. My old readers did not like that. My new readers wanted more raw stories of explicit sex/straight up erotica without the fluff.

One reader in 2019, when I started attracting a new audience, mentioned that a novella with three love scenes, a masturbation scene and other nude scenes, did not have enough heat. That baffled me!

 

So what is my target audience? People who want a developing romance and characters with a happily ever after ending. My target audience wants romance with or without explicit sex, whether it’s suspense, drama, or comedy.

What will change for C.D. Samuda for 2021?

  • Clean language. I will be omitting all f-bombs from all my future books, as well as trying to remove them from past works as much as I can.
  • No erotica, or erotic romance. All my books will be based on romance first, and may or may not include sexual encounters, depending on what the characters want.
  • Based on my catalog of unfinished works, more suspenseful romances will grace your inbox. Some of these stories will get a little bit dark (not the romance, but the suspense)
  • I hope to bring longer stories, preferably over 40,000 words.
  • Longer stories take more time, therefore, I will be releasing less often in order to bring the quality work readers expect.
  • Completing stories before putting them on pre-order. Pre-order prices will be between $1.99 and $2.99. Release or sales prices may be higher depending on length of book.
  • Most of my books will not be available in Kindle Unlimited
  • No 99 cents book unless price dropped for special promotions. When a book sells for 99 cents, the author receives 35 cents royalty. Do you know how many books need to be sold for her to make $100?

 

How did my work change in 2020?

Let’s start off with the quality.

I have always self-edited, except for a few. My works used to be longer and yet, in 2020 I got more complaints of errors in my books.

I wrote and published more words in 2019, yet in 2020 I found that I was always rushing to meet the pre-order deadline. Things around me changed, forcing me to change with it. I had more responsibilities at home, less time to focus on my work. In the midst of it all, I had to spend more time making book covers in order to make ends meet.

I know the quality of my work took a huge dive and I will always regret not doing better.

I mentioned above that the prose changed into a more erotic area. I also regret that, because the readers I tried to please were not enough not pay my bills. This change caused me to lose my original audience and lose income. At the end of 2020, I am starting to feel some amount of resentment toward my own work. That can’t be good for any writer.

The language in my books also changed and that was my biggest personal sore point. It was hurting me, not on a readership level, but in my own personal spiritual level. I cannot tell you if any reader has left the house because of the actual language in the books. What I can tell you is that my own mind has not been at ease with this and I intend to continue to write expletive free books.

 

Conclusion

We have come to the end of 2020 and the coronavirus is still here. What we as individuals have to do is do our best to make things work on our favor. There were many times during the last few months where I wanted to throw in the towel.

The reviews have not been favorable. I take the blame for that. I also know that not every reader will like my work. I deliberately did not mention the negative reviews because of this, and because I knew that the quality suffered.

One thing I will do this year end in order to start rebranding myself in 2021, I asking all subscriber to re-subscribe to my mailing list. Those who wish to continue reading stories with deep plot lines, strong romance and happily ever after will be asked to continue supporting me.

With that said, I wish everyone a blessed and prosperous 2021. I will continue to write and to do my best to give you engaging stories that will resonate with you.

Happy holidays!

 

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