Yesterday, I was beginning to wonder if I’d done the wrong thing in self-publishing. Not because I’m not selling books. I am, and it’s a wonderful feeling. It is hard work though, all the marketing that’s involved, trying to get noticed while being careful not to annoy people by being in their face all the time. It's even harder now that my holidays are over and I've had to go back to work. I’ve had some great help from friends; plugging me wherever they can, retweeting, pointing out places to go that I hadn’t seen. I’ve had three wonderful reviews. I’ve had lucky breaks on blogs like Indie E-books where I won a week’s free advertising after my book was featured there. Still, I seem to be constantly on the lookout for new places to go, making myself known in writer/reader circles and doing not-a-lot of writing. Did I make a mistake not going the traditional route? Wouldn’t it have been easier with a publisher to do the promotion?
Then I read this blog post by Juliet Marillier (The flip side of self-promotion). She’s one of my favourite authors and her post made me feel a whole lot better. Working hard to sell your book, it seems, is not confined to those who go the e-book route. It is part and parcel of every writer’s job. When Ms. Marillier visited our writing group last year, she said that word-of-mouth is her greatest seller of books (so here’s my word-of-mouth plug for her – Read her books. They’re excellent.) I’m in the very early stages yet. I’ve thrown my book into the pond of sales and the first ripple that formed came from friends who bought it. That was nice and I felt grateful. Now a second ripple has formed. People are buying it and I have no idea who they are. That’s exciting. If they like it and tell their friends, then the next, bigger ripple will form. That’s my hope. One day at a time.
One thing I have learned from reading on forums and from experience on Facebook and Twitter etc, is that it's not so much about promoting the book as much as making people want to buy it. By that I mean that if an author throws the book in front of peoples' faces every chance they get, people will more than likely stop looking. I've 'unfollowed' a few authors for just that reason. If, on the other hand, they engage with people, the response is more likely to be positive. I read an e-book recently from an author who attracted my attention by being just plain nice. No other reason. Their interactions were rarely about their book, simply fun and interesting banter. Their posts were entertaining. So I bought the book. It was a good book, too.
Meanwhile, I’ve already been asked for a sequel. Having a sequel sells even more books, I’m told. It’s only half finished. Must.Go.And.Write.