Friday, 20 April 2012

The indie author's marketing blues

There's only one thing that disturbs me more than the initial stages of a book, when the ideas are there wriggling and squirming inside me, wanting to be let out, but the book as yet has no form; and that is the period after writing a book and having just been through a first wave of marketing. Coming in a close third would be when faced with a fallow period between two books, though experience may teach us that this is quite natural and nothing to be unduly concerned about.

It's gone midday here in England and I still don't feel like I've quite woken up today. I figure it's maybe withdrawal symptoms after the adrenaline rush of the last two days' free Kindle promotion, and yet it's more than that. Much more. It feels a bit like the morning after the night before, when yet again you didn't get to meet the woman of your dreams and are also left worrying in case you became a little too drunk and made an ass of yourself.

I actually find the marketing process mentally and emotionally challenging, which is great at the time; but also eventually quite draining.

On twitter, as an indie author, the only way to get your work noticed, unless you have a legion of avid fans, fellow authors and ebook services retweeting you, is to send out tweets every thirty minutes or so, all day long and into the night, from the time folk are getting up in the UK until at least late afternoon on the east coast of the USA.

But of course the last thing you want to do is to ram your tweets (or "legalized spam") down the throats of your followers; so in between your adverts, you have to pay particular attention to other peoples' tweets and do your best to retweet and interact with other people. And, believe me, by the end of the second day of a Kindle free promotion, finding something new to say -- either about your own book or in general -- becomes a lot more difficult. One useful thing is that this makes you dig deep and you can, in the process, arrive at some interesting marketing angles or fresh discoveries about your own book.

Facebook isn't so demanding, and the last thing you want to do there is post about your book on your own timeline, on related pages or on groups too often.

I rarely suffer from depression, but I have to admit that after offering a book free and being not far from shedding blood, sweat and tears during the marketing process, and with one knuckle actually swollen from so much typing and mouse moving of late, I can't deny that I feel disheartened at the anticlimax. I'm extremely grateful and over the moon that folk have been taken by the sound of my book and gone to the trouble of retweeting or downloading it. And yet all the same, it is also quite disheartening to find that in spite of having hundreds of free downloads and temporarily rising to the top fifty in Amazon genres, only one person has left a review and clicked the "Like" button beside the title at Amazon. Gosh, having said that, maybe like Dobby the house elf I should now go and iron my hands or say a few Hail Marys?

You see, what's worse, that inevitably leads to thoughts along the lines of "Oh Lord, was the book really that bad?" at worst, or merely indifferent at best. To a vision of that awful moment at the X Factor auditions when Simon Cowell rips a would-be contestant to shreds -- or puts them through as a "joke act" for people's amusement. To wondering whether the writers' demon Aitse ("Abandon it, try something else") might actually be right in my case. And the temptation then arises to quietly crawl away, hide under a nearby rock and write no more.

It's at times like this that I am grateful for the likes of Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese philosopher who reminds us: "If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present." Be here now.

• By Etienne de L'Amour ~ Google+

No comments:

Post a Comment