Selling books can be harder than writing them!

Firstly, thank you to all the people who took the opportunity to download my free e-book. This is the second self-promotional offer I have done and it again generated a flicker of interest. On this promotion 18 people liked the look of my free wares enough to press the download button.

I was thinking it is only a matter of time before writers (i.e me) are paying people to read their work. Yet, in effect this is already happening. There are many ‘opportunities’ now to pay to display your promotional wares on sites to lots of mostly disinterested customers who happened to sign up to some email list or other. I have also ventured into Amazon’s marketing service as they make it so painless to spend your cash. For £8 my advert reached 700 people. It had nine clicks and no sales. Oh well.

This is my first foray into ‘the business’ and it reminds me of the gold rush cliche, where aside from the odd person who hit it big in the early days, the people making the money are those selling picks and shovels. However, i’m sure that is now a saturated market.

There are certainly many ways to promote your book, for a fee. ‘To sell your book buy my book’, or reach my followers – on a bewildering number of platforms. Now, no self respecting book can survive without a video to publicise it. I can imagine a day when book videos become as sophisticated as movie trailers – ‘Dr. Frankenstein was a man on a mission…’ etc.

I asked myself why I was trying so hard to promote my book, albeit spending as little as humanly possible of my non-existent budget. Aside from, ‘because that’s what you do when you want to sell a book, right?’ I realised I have been slavishly searching for the magical but elusive ‘5 stars of wonderment and success’. So far, after 3 months, I have one review. Following a thread on the merits of stars yesterday my eyes were fully opened to a number of facts. Star don’t really twinkle, they are bought and sold and swapped and cajoled, and there are also bad stars – lowly, underhand single stars strategically placed by ruthless competitors, apparently!

How many stars do I need? Does the book cover convey the right message? Should I join more book promotion sites? Could I do my own video? Is the blurb boring? Where are the free to enter competitions? On and on. I have to remind myself before I get caught up in the maelstrom of marketing and self promotion (which in truth I have absolutely no interest in) why I wrote my book.

  1. I had to exorcise the story in my head. Check
  2. I wanted to explore and expand on the story in my head. Check
  3. I wanted to enjoy the process of writing. Double Check
  4. I wanted to learn and improve my writing skills. Check

Actually, having completed my novel I have fulfilled everything I set out to do. In terms of other people enjoying my writing, I am told I am in a marathon, not a sprint. That in mind, and given there are no cheering crowds to obscure my view, I think I shall take my time and enjoy the scenery. Its been a blast spending the last year roaming imaginations store but now I must focus on earning money – ‘get a proper job’ they cry! My creation is born, a post modern Promethean child, which will have to learn to crawl before it can walk.

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