I didn't do a self-publishing blog last week and found this one very hard very difficult. My mood doesn't usually get in the way of my writing but unfortunately I have lost the will to live. This week I have mainly been self-promoting, last week was the same. The activity is not awful enough to evoke despair or fear or loathing, nothing so exciting.
Don’t get me wrong; self-promotion is utterly inspiring. Not because it is offering me the chance to offer my wonderful Changing the Subject to possibly eager readers but for other reasons. Last week self-promotion inspired me to clean the bathroom very thoroughly. I was also enthused to write a short story outline in a genre I love to read but hate to write. and to stare out of the window more than was entirely necessary.
I took up writing because it was a compulsion, and despite not always enjoying the process, it does sate an urge or two. When I have done a day’s writing I feel like I have achieved something, even if it is just to learn what I need to learn to get better at it. Setting up a bloody website was difficult, but quite exciting, learning about gutters and text margins to upload my story was horrible but took two days on and off and then it was done. When I have got through a few hours of self-promotion, knowing there is more to be done, I feel as if the days are wafting away.
I can safely say that I have never had even a mild impulse to create a spreadsheet. Filling grids full of websites and email addresses must make some people go all trembly, fill their hearts with untold joy and fire their souls with the potential those criss-crossed lines contain. Not me. Now, seeing the white X on a green rectangle icon, that I know I must double click, sends a chill dread akin to stepping onto a moonless howling moor into my blood.
Then there is finding what to say to the potential reviewer? I think my book, Changing the Subject is not a bad first bash; the premise is interesting, the characters develop pretty well and the structure is perhaps a bit too tight. But when promoting myself I mustn’t say that; I must somehow persuade potential reviewers that in reading my book their life will be substantially improved somehow.
At a marketing conference, otherwise known as a chat at my friend’s barbeque, I was persuaded to put my publication date forward by a month. My book is set in the run up to the 31st of October. Most people will be thinking about the week running up to the 31st of October in the weeks running up to the 31st of October. That makes sense. I will now launch on the Ally Ally Oh, the Ally Ally Oh, or, if you don’t know that many old nursery rhymes; the last day of September. So I have to move fast to get reviews. If I don’t put my best foot forward and get it read then I will never know if my book is actually worth reading.
I’m an old Marxist and I love a supply curve. Now I’m a self-publisher I have to focus on demand. Book buying curves generally following the arc of a diplodocus looking closely at an ant charging towards her, that is most are sold very quickly in the few weeks and months after publication and then drop just as fast to a few sold for a long time. I’m aware that I will never sell house crushing quantities of Changing the Subject but I don’t want my dinosaur to sink into a swamp when it’s just broken out of its little egg. So I must do marketing, lots and lots of marketing.
I was very lucky to be accepted into a Facebook group called Book Connectors, which was set up to put writers in touch with bloggers. Bloggers are lovely; most read and review books in their spare time and do not ask for anything except a copy of the book. Their reviews are often thoughtful and well written.
Sometimes I think bloggers are too lovely because I have ended up reading their reviews and have added a dozen books to my Amazon wish list as a result. At other times I hate book bloggers; they get to read, mainly free, books and to write what they think. They do not have to do marketing.
There is very little point in spending much energy trying to get print reviewers. I spent a morning googling ones I like or respect and trying to find contact details. Nearly all of them have done a very effective job of preventing people like me from contacting them. If there are keepers still, then the I can assure you that the gates are well and truly shut.
So, I must return to my spreadsheet and when I have found a few reviewers I must not spend too much time reading what they have to say about our mutual love; books, just write to them, then I must do it again.
P.S. Yesterday was my birthday and I took the day off; I painted my Cretan pots (white), got my nails done (grey), flavoured some Gin (pee yellow), I had lunch with my sister (beautiful), read a big chunk of Quichotte by Salman Rushdie (gripping) and went to see the new Tarantino (not as good as Django). All in all; the sort of day I think middle-class white Hackneyettes are supposed to have. I feel refreshed and happy and am ready for more marketing. wish me luck.