I’m doing this series because at least half the people I’ve met in my life are either writers or want to be writers. Everybody has a book in them and someday wants to write it.
The problem is, after the slow process of watching blood pop through your pores to write your masterpiece, you’re faced with either the 19th century pace of trying to find an agent in the Old Boy Network of the slowly dying publishing world, or marketing the book yourself. I chose the latter.
I’m fortunate to have friends in the media. Anthony Cardno writes a respected arts blog, interviewed with me and yes, sales spiked for days after it appeared.
Another writer friend, whom I had interviewed for my Conversations show, Bill Robertson, interviewed me for the show. Again, sales jumped, then sank. Robyn Bradley, author of the beautifully written and intriguing novel What Happened at Granite Creek has been incredibly generous in sharing what she’s learned promoting through social media.
But I learned again that reading about how to do things and actually doing them are two different worlds. I’ve been immersed in social media for years and I knew that you have to seek out websites and blogs of people with similar interests and through engagement become a part of that community and then quietly promote your book.
This, I found, is really time-consuming.
I was also amazed all over again at the nearly infinite world of social media sites. One Woman’s Vengeance is a western. I found — and joined — sites on everything from the American Cowboy to Tombstone to Doc Holliday and I engage. I haven’t had the courage to introduce my book yet. I still have that feeling of a new kid in town coming to a school and not wanting to be ridiculed or banished from the circles.
I have found that reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble don’t do that much except boost the author’s ego if they’re good.
A couple radio interviews — one was 15 minutes by a host who loved the book and the genre — shot blanks. But it was fun.
The reviews, from people I know and complete strangers, are almost consistently 5 stars and passionate in their love of the main character, Nora Hawks. But passion, so far, has not translated into sales.
(I will say that I have learned a lot about my own book and characters through the reviews but that’s the subject for another post).
What I find most annoying is that, after work, I’m a writer. I just want to write. I made the choice to self-publish because I dislike the System and I really don’t have years to waste with rejection slips. I did that in my 20’s.
I wonder, though, how most writers succeed in this social media world. Marketing and self-promotion is tough. I’m familiar with marketing. I do it everyday at Mansfield University and I’m finding it hard, with a couple hours each night, to do it for myself.
And yet, I wouldn’t do it any other way.
I’m learning, and if you’re interested, I’ll keep sharing my successes and my stumbles. Pretty interesting journey.