It’s been an interesting week at the docks. USS Betita has been sailing rough waters, the struggle to grab attention in a self-published sea of authors is a troubling one. How to surge into the light, waving your book and actually succeed in attracting readers? GAH!
Needless to say, I haven’t been succeeding terribly well. This is why I took a very deep breath and spoke up on a private FB page, made up of hundreds of these authors…and asked – Anyone know a good promotional expert or marketing specialist who I can approach to haul my sales-per-day from out of the ninth level of hell?
(That’s much more poetic than how I actually wrote it. I was much more pathetic and abjectly crawling.)
Many of these authors are doing very well. A few are doing extraordinarily well…and then there are the rest of us. The silent majority of authors who would really like to see more than single digit numbers.
“Hello, I’m Maureen, and I’m a seldom sells author…”
We are legion and we are frightened to admit it, or to ask for help from those who have the most help to give. Because…if we admit to such dismal sales…everyone will assume we aren’t selling because we can’t write worth shit.
And, yes. I assume there is a lot of truth in that concept. But it isn’t THE truth. Many of us write quite well. Some of us are extraordinary writers and then there are the rest. Being able to sell books as a beginner has very little to do with how well you write. It has to do with how you promote and how you market. There are boatloads of authors who sell well, despite writing pure crap, because they know how to promote, how to trigger sales, how to market themselves. They ride the edge of developing trends until the next swell rises and then they slide right onto that.
They aren’t stupid, by any means. They are brilliant, have the instinct of a shark on patrol and know how to place themselves in the right place. (And not all of them write crap. I didn’t mean to generalize. Apologies.)
An author who writes well and knows how to be in the right place, at the right time…they shine. And they’ll continue to shine.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I have no instinct. And either I’m too lazy to learn how to develop it (a distinct possibility) or I simply have no talent for it (another distinct possibility). Thank god, I’m not looking to pay my mortgage, or I’d be living out of my car. And it’s a Kia Soul, that would be a tight fit!
So…I asked for help. And I received it.
The difficulty with asking people for help on FB is the limitations of their not knowing your work. So…they look at covers and read blurbs. They ask about genre… And, Lord! I got advice, offers to help, links to videos and tutorials. But…no one actually had a name to offer for professional help.
Fascinating! And I’m still looking, btw.
My speaking up and admitting to my actual sales numbers was a risk. I noticed a few authors, who had commented early, completely disappeared when I named numbers. What was heartening, is the numbers who stayed and didn’t assume I must be an awful writer. In fact, I made a new friend that night, who contacted me with admiration for being so brave. And admitting that she, too, suffers as I do.
It’s risky…and I’m sure I’m now on a list some from that group keeps, as a bad writer. And some simply saw my dilemma as what I see it as – being mired in the marketing/promotional swamp.
But somewhere, in the deep underground, I can hear a murmur. A muted roar of admiration, if you will…of those who aren’t selling beyond single digits and never, never, never speak up about it. We are legion…and we are scared to death. I’m tired of living in fear of what others think. I know I can write, and it isn’t a lack of talent pushing sales away.
Take a risk, people. Speak up, there is more support out there than you can imagine. I did it, and I’m still standing, still surrounded by those who didn’t make assumptions.
Anyone out there in blog land have a recommendation for marketing and promotional help? Trust me, I got the rest covered. I’m still shuffling through the advice from the other night and making a list of what to do next.