If You Publish, They Will Come – Ha!

I’ve been tied up with the day job this week so have had little time to blog but did catch up with my Reader items plus read a book that I wish I’d found six months ago – more of that to come.

The posts that go into my Reader have one thing in common – their authors are working their butts off getting their books in print and promoting them. My own efforts look particularly feeble by comparison. If hard work, perseverance and sheer bloody-mindedness count for anything they all deserve spectacular success.

It’s clear that being an accomplished writer is just not enough if you follow the self-publishing route. You also need to be entrepreneurial in spirit, a great salesperson not afraid to blow your own trumpet, inventive, think-on-the-hoof type, publicist and self PR and probably much more. It’s not enough to say “all I want to do is write” unless of course you’re happy for your pearls to languish unseen in the bottom of a drawer.

I suppose I was naive when I published Time for Your Life. Actually no I wasn’t naive I was just plain stoopid. I think somehow, somewhere I had this computation that the book would almost sell itself. Perhaps I have this subconscious arrogance that tells me “cream rises”. Whatever delusions I was suffering under they were put to flight with a vengeance when I read “Self-Printed – the Sane Persons Guide to Self-Publishing” by Catherine Ryan Howard (she blogs as Catherine Caffeinated). This book is an account of how she came to self-publish her own non-fiction and what worked for her in marketing and selling. She’s very clear that the book is about the way she did it and makes no claims for it to be the only way but her sales figures speak for themselves. She also is a very funny writer.

Well what an eye-opener. I think I can claim to have made every mistake possible and the really really really irritating thing is that what she writes just makes total sense if you are going to self-publish. At least it does to me…now. Grrrrrrr!

So I’m wondering if there’s some spore or virus that is released into the atmosphere when a writer is about to self-publish that unless you are really smart completely blinds you to the work that lies ahead turns your brain into a soft gooey mush and sucks out any last remnants of practicality and common sense – just for good measure.

Or is it that I have a very active self-deception gene? Please tell me I’m not alone.

Have a good weekend – I’ll be back next week.

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4 thoughts on “If You Publish, They Will Come – Ha!

  1. I don’t think there is really any way for self-published authors to anticipate the time and effort that promoting a book requires. I launched Catskinner’s Book in July of last year, and it has been a huge uphill struggle to get my work noticed.

    I recently wrapped a big push, with guest blogs and a giveaway and five days free on Kindle and ended up with about 600 downloads–which I think is close to the total numbers downloaded (including free days) from the previous nine months. I am pretty sure that to date I have spent more in postage sending out free books than I have made in total sales.

    So, no, you are not alone. I have decided to back off from promotion for a while, to give myself time and energy to actually write my next one, which is about half-finished at this point.

    I have also given up reading “Promotion For Self-Publishers” books. What works for one person isn’t going to work for another. We are all making this up as we go–there is no magic formula.

    • That’s the thing isn’t it. I want to get started on my next book too but can’t just abandon the first. If I’ve actually made anything from the first book its not thro’ actual sales but thro’ licensing it. Clearly that’s not an option for fiction.

    • You know perfectly well what the answer is – rent out your body…er, no I mean finish your novel – just use your holidays to promote, promote, promote. Anyway, what’s this novel about? Start promoting now.:)

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