For those who are authors, what are your biggest challenges getting your work published and generating interest in it?
I think my biggest challenge was letting go of something I created and presenting it to the world for criticism. I didn't like to read stuff I'd written aloud. If someone else wanted to read it, sure. But at the time, we were talking poetry. Now, it's different. A novel...80K plus words on paper. Your mind's eye. Or a cathartic piece of you? Hard. Then once you can't generate enough awareness for a Publisher and you self-publish, how do you promote? It all costs. I have done giveaways, participated on various websites, done/doing interviews, plugging on radios, etc. I've watched the rating on Amazon fluctuate but stay in the 3 Millions...its harder than letting go.
Indeed it is a struggle. But allow your belief in self guide you towards success.
Throughout life I've learned that some people will criticize you, or not show the interest in your work that you feel it deserves. However, they are not necessarily qualified to offer an opinion. Many publishers seem to follow fads, and ignore worthy authors who don't fit the "profile" they're currently looking for. I suggest focusing on the niche of people most likely to be interested in your work, and try building a solid following. It might take time, but hopefully you'll eventually meet with success. :)
I agree with JSDaniMine in that it is hard to let go. I mostly struggle now with selling myself. I'm just not a salesman and I'm not as confident as some writers I've come in contact with. I also don't have tons of cash lying around to pay others to do my marketing for me. I think my biggest hurdle, however, is that I intentionally wrote something that isn't very popular right now. I started with an epic fantasy series that doesn't have vampires or werewolves, and neither is it strictly erotica. I'm now working on a shorter stand-alone with the hope that it will be able to draw more attention to my work in general.
I understand the struggle because I'm not the most outgoing person. Do what is right for you, and hopefully you will succeed. One of the problems I've encountered through life is that sometimes people would tell me to change who I am in order to get more people to like me. It's something I refuse do. People respect you more if you stay true to yourself.
Hopefully you'll find a niche and grow. Even people who have accomplished great things once struggled. :)
I'm with you on the cash flow issue and trying to opt in with which venue will rightly market the book the way you need to so that things do get jumpstarted! But I'm on the flipside of the book writing - I wrote in a genre that EVERYONE is writing about nowadays - so I struggle with how to make myself stand out from the ones who've written successfully, the ones that have just established themselves and the ones, like me, who're just starting out...the struggle is real!
It seems all writers have a similar problem. I think what one writes is most important. If what you have to say is a benefit to society you are on the right track. As to promotion: there are many scammers. I met most of them as I spent thousands trying to promote. But there are sources such as twitter that are free and probably much more effective. If a promoter really has it together and are not scamming authors, they should offer promotion and payment after they show it works.
I finally put my own site up (whowrotewhat.net) where I have seven categories from fiction to non-fiction, from children to Christian. I get a face photo of the author and have them write 50 words of text so visitors to the site see who is writing and listen to a little of what they say. I offer it free for 30 days, limit the number of books and periodically tweet an author at random. It is not a perfect solution but it has sold a few books. I even promote my books there.