My book has been out for one month and one day. When I wrote Changing the Subject, which is set this week, I gambled on certain things not happening. Boris Johnson has had the courtesy to still be Prime-Minister and it did not take a psychic to predict we would not leave the EU today. I won’t have to cite the Alternate Reality Genre defense on that score. That doesn’t mean to say I think that the actual News is good by the way, I’m one of those love Europe, love immigration, hate the EU types. It’s just that the background to my story isn’t way off reality.
I have given it my best shot so far. I have done as the How-to internet guides have said; set up loads of Social Media, I promoted my launch into the oceans of fiction, I am waiting patiently for the reviewers who agreed to read and comment on Changing the Subject to get around to it (because I didn’t give them enough run in time, lesson learned; request 90, not under 30 days prior to launch) and I have done a free-promotion. What now?
The great thing about self-publishing is that you can see, almost in real time, how many people are not reading your book. Also, being my sole client, I can have a pretty vague long-term ‘marketing strategy’ and ‘monitor’ and adjust as I go along. It’s all still fairly new to me so I have been monitoring website and Social Media clicks all month like watching a pot that is refusing to come to the boil. My beloved sometimes spots me on my phone when we are supposed to be watching a film and tells me, ‘Don’t scratch’. He’s right of course, but Early Years Teacher and writer to Marketing Mastermind is a bit of a jump and I am still adjusting.
I ran a freebie promotion this week. A freebie promotion is, according to the internet gurus, allegedly to get your book out to a wider audience. Word of mouth is then supposed to kick in and lead to sales. We will have to see if that is true. I don’t know how long to leave people to chat, should I take a peek at sales on Sunday night or leave it a week?
Once I see if my sales move from drip to dribble the How-to Guides have told me that I must analyse my data in order to plan my next move. So; I think I know, or nearly know, everyone who has bought a print copy, most of the people who have looked at my Social Media do-dabs are older women - demographically speaking, the largest book reading section of society are older women, most of my downloads have been in America - America is very big. There; analysis.
So what next? I think I’ll do some additional pages on my website next week and another bit of promotion near Christmas. Now I’ve learned which buttons to press to make that happen, and that ‘monitoring’ is best done in small doses, it will not take much time. I am going to a bookfair’s satellite event in mid-November, which will be interesting but will only last a day. I will finally get some time to actually write more than a blog, an idea or an outline for the first time in two months.
While I’ve been learning about all this selling business, I have had three short story ideas and a couple of thoughts on changing the beginning of my draft of Hausa Blue. So that is plenty to be getting on with.
I am also quite keen on earning some actual money since we are doing up our coop-flown eldest’s room for our nephew, who will be tying a hanky to a stick and moving to London to seek his fortune in a week or so. And after that its Christmas. I love roasting meat and feeding it to people.
Meanwhile, Autumn is so beautiful. Its not just the mottled oranges of leaves on the trees
or the sweet smell of decay. Something happens to the light as we tilt away from the sun, its gentler somehow? And at night streetlights lose their summer sourness, windows glow warmer and headlights linger on your retina just that little bit longer. And in a few days there will be Sparklers; gunpowder fizzing and spitting hot twinkles and blending back into the dark at the tips of your chilly fingers. Every child I ever taught got a Sparkler (don't tell my last boss, he told me not to.
Now our kids are all big and sensible my beloved and I have to kick through piles of leaves just the two of us. But safe in the knowledge that we have passed this vital life skill on to the next generation, we can enjoy it all the more.