I have dreaded this blog post ever since I signed up for it.
And that was before being rejected by the agent I pitched to back in February. So be warned, this post will be brutally honest. And short.
This month is all about how to get the word out and create a market for yourself. That includes everything from advertising to creating a personal brand.
I suck at all that stuff. And that might even be a great exaggeration of how well I do. I doubt I really climb into the neighborhood of “suck.” Adjectives that might be more appropriate range from “abysmal” to “self-destructive.”
How my first three books sold as well as they did is a mystery to me. I did virtually nothing to market them. I invested maybe twenty bucks total in Facebook or other ads, and when they didn’t nudge my sales noticeably, I abandoned that effort in less than a week.
I have never done a book signing. The closest to that was a last-minute appearance at a library “meet local authors” event, where I sold a couple of books. I’ve never done an interview, except a short one here on this blog. No radio shows. No contest entries. No Twitter campaigns. No viral, guerrilla, non-traditional or creative marketing.
I keep intending to do all that. But some of it costs money, and those that don’t cost money, I have never been satisfied with the end result, and so never seriously made any effort to do it.
That’s why not getting picked up by an agent has had such a negative impact on my motivation. The main reason I pursued an agent was to get into the traditional publishing model where all I had to do was write.
Guess that’s not happening soon. I’ll have to get off my lazy butt and try to find a way to get it done. Hopefully all the great articles on this blog for this month will give me the guidance I clearly need.
So, take my advice. Don’t do what I do.
Well, if there’s a bright side, it’s that you might well have been disappointed anyway. I keep hearing that traditional publishing isn’t quite what people think, and that companies these days actually still expect you to do the bulk of your own work when it comes to marketing. And also that they tend to want you to come to the table with a good-sized platform already built.
That’s one of the reasons I’m now leaning even further towards independent publishing. If I’m going to have to do much of the same work either way, I’d much prefer the higher royalties and greater control, even if it does come with the financial risk associated with not getting an advance.