The day is almost here. This coming Friday – September 14th – I will finally publish my first book. As soon as I get home from work, I will start the process to upload The Dark Proposal onto Kindle and put my hard work and my baby out to the world. It is both exciting and daunting that I am about to do this.
The exciting part is obvious. I’ve been planning to be a published author since I was a child and the moment is almost here. I feel like I’m taking a major step in my journey and new life as a novelist. I’ve been preparing for so long, and I ready to get on the ship.
But when I say daunting, what I mean by that is as a self-published author, I alone am responsible for my book. Everything, from the writing and rewriting, choosing the cover design and picking the right graphic designer, and all other things, was my responsibility. With the exception of hiring an editor (I heart you!) and having beta readers critique my work, I created my book all by myself.
That also includes the marketing part, as in promoting my book. I did a lot of research during the writing of my book and during the time afterward. While correcting my work, I did what I thought was necessary to promote The Dark Proposal. However, there was plenty of confusion on my part on how exactly to do all this right so my book will get some sales.
Yes, I set up the blog in May and I blogged as often as I could. I changed my Twitter account so it would be exclusively for my writing. I set up a Facebook page just for my authorship. I liked pages on Facebook and followed those I liked on Twitter, as well as follow back anyone who followed me. I made plans to contact media outlets and in mid-August, found Dark Mind Book Tours which set up my five day blog tour taking place next week (thanks Franny and Silvia!). I also Tweeted as much as I could (its not easy to do all this while working full time), set up a Goodreads page, and finally, got my Independent Authors Network page squared away (thanks William!)
But was this enough? Honestly, was it? Based on what blogs I read on how to promote your self-published books, it seemed that there was so much to do. Meaning, what I have done already was far from enough and I needed to come up with more strategies.
But then I came across other blogs which said what I had done was enough. Even author forums which discussed promotions seemed to agree. Heck, even some established indie authors even said no one should sweat promoting their books, and instead they should focus on getting started on their second book. After all, many self-published writers claim the more books you have out there, your chances of success will increase. Makes sense. After all, chances for anyone to have tremendous success from one book are slim. That is a fact.
NOTE: Before I go further, I know some of you would wonder why I haven’t mentioned making a book trailer. Here is the answer: as a former freelance video journalist, I would’ve loved to have brought out my media and editing skills to create a trailer and get noticed on YouTube. But I also knew despite my video skills, I didn’t have the resources to create a stellar trailer. Basically, I would’ve created just another video that would have just music, stock images and my voiceover – much like the thousands of others out there. I decided not to sweat over making something that wouldn’t be much different from other trailers. However, maybe around Halloween I’ll release a book trailer to keep the momentum going for The Dark Proposal. But we’ll see.
Anywho. I guess when it comes to promoting your self-published book, the wisest plan is to do what is best for you, your schedule and your sanity. I work full-time, 40 hours a week, so it is not easy for me to be promoting my book round the clock. You may say I should schedule tweets via HootSuite so word about my novel will spread more. I admit I could’ve done that. What made me hesitate was seeing so many authors do that, but ended up repeating the same ten tweets every hour and rarely interacting with any of their followers, let alone tweeting other people’s work. That turned me off and I didn’t want that to happen to any of my potential readers. From what I’ve been told, for every single tweet you use to promote your book, tweet four times to interact with others. I try that, given my schedule, but at least I try.
But there is more to promoting than using Twitter. That site does not guarantee a huge following of interested readers, so don’t count on it. Blogging helps, because it gives people an opportunity to get to know you and what you are about. I just wish it was more clear on what to blog about. I didn’t want to post anything absurdly self-centered, anything irrelevant to my book or writing, or even rant about what is going on in the news. I knew early on posting such topics would either confuse or turn off potential readers. I thought about venting about how overwhelming it can be to work full-time, promote your first book and work on its follow-up, and somehow squeeze in errands, a social life and other necessities in life. That may sound like a good idea, but I didn’t want to sound like a Debbie Downer, so I scratched that.
I think I did what I could to get the word about The Dark Proposal and there still may be other options. I’m looking into contacting websites that review vampire book exclusively, and even contacting podcasts in hopes of an interview. I am being my own PR representative, and though I have a background in journalism, it is still a foreign field for me.
But I’m learning as I’m going. No one held my hand during all this and I could only take notes on what I should’ve done sooner. After my book comes out, I’ll take notes on what worked for me and didn’t work in terms of sales. I understand the majority of books sell only about 1,500 copies. So I am not expecting to win the lottery here. It would be nice though! 🙂
But really, I understand the risks I took in going indie and so far, my only regret was getting too overwhelmed. I think if I had remained calm most of the time, I would’ve done some things earlier or more often.
But no time for regrets. My debut book is coming out Friday and there is no looking back. I am hoping those who told me they intend to read The Dark Proposal (and these are complete strangers, not friends or family) will like what I wrote and will look forward to its two follow-ups (yes, I am writing a trilogy). That would mean all of my hard work had paid off, my solo hard work.
The countdown continues…3 more days! By this time Friday, I am anticipating The Dark Proposal will be up on Kindle, ready to be sold and read 🙂