Yes, it’s been a while since I have posted on this blog and there is no excuse for it. Life has been interesting recently–not bad per se, just busy. However, there is good news for everyone to hear. Shout for joy! Celebrate! The dream of having my novel on sale at a reputable self-publishing venue (Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing) has finally come true! It’s been live for a couple of days and it feels wonderful to know that I have a global presence on the Amazon marketplace.
Now comes the hard part. And what, pray tell, is this the hard part? Well, it comes down to the issue of who is going to hawk your work to an eager online and brick-and-mortar public. The simple answer, of course, is it is my responsibility to see to this. If I were to have been lucky (relative term) to have been accepted by the venture-capital (or vulture capital as I see it sometimes) book publishing industry, they would do 60 to 70 percent of the marketing work for me as per a contract with an agent, representative et cetera. They would be obligated to promote the book they have invested money into. And it is an investment that very few authors get the opportunity to receive for their hard work and talents. Most of us independents don’t get that opportunity because, frankly, the cart is always before the horse. Name recognition usually garners a writer the chance to be published, to be in that select club that the New York/West Coast publishing industry has had a stranglehold on for many years. Alternatively, there is the slim chance you are causally associated with the club that affords the opportunity. As I said, they are the lucky few.
For those of us with genuinely good ideas, and have struggled to get our voice heard in the sea of literary agents, it is quite frustrating to have our dreams shot down in flames with rejected query form letters and seemingly impersonal rejections at literacy conferences. Desperate people turn to “vanity publishers” to prove to the world and themselves that they have accomplished this publishing dream only to discover that these publishers are only out for your money and not your welfare in your writing career. I have felt the frustration many times but have pushed forward all these years to perhaps one day feel the thrill of having my work available for purchase and to gain an audience or at very least, a fan base. Who wouldn’t want that? What it took to achieve this hope was the realization that your work has to be tinkered with over and over again until it is damn near perfect and even then, perfection sometimes won’t get your heard.
Now I’m not saying that my work is 100 percent perfect. I’m sure that someone who looks carefully enough will find some stupid little editing mistake (because I sure find them even in mainstream published work) and others who will take upon themselves to be the greatest experts of literature to trash the story, plot characters et cetera. I didn’t write this for them. I wrote this for people who want a good story. And I’m hoping that three times as many people that don’t know me than do find it a good story. And the only way to do that is put it out on the market and let it sink or swim. That’s all any product can do. And this is where self-promotion really takes the center stage.
But promoting oneself for people who aren’t good at it can be a challenge. It takes a certain kind of ego to stand in the bazaar without fear and try to sell your wares one at a time. For me, I’m not comfortable enough in my own skin to be able to do this. In the independent author world, this is what you have to do. You cannot rely on the internet alone and expect everyone to just happen upon the book and buy it. There is no choice but to market yourself. It’s a damnable reality. You must recoup your cost. I’m not talking in terms of printing cost but rather hours of labor. Hours spent writing and rewriting, editing and reading. It’s the time spent junking what you have and redoing everything. It’s the time you spend outlining, developing characters, acting out scenes in your mind, getting up in the middle of the night to jot down an idea that comes to your mind and the countless hours fixing your own mistakes and reaching that perfection needed to make a great book.
No doubt that this will be a learn as you go process. I figured out this is the best way to work by studying of all people Walt Disney, who was described once as being an “optimal behaviorist”, meaning a person who just did the work and let the chips fall where they may as far as success. Disney was also fond of say that “quality will win out” meaning a quality job will maximize the success you have. Both philosophies have been very helpful in determining what will help me garner the most presence. And it all starts with friends and family. You know whatever you do that these are the people who will wish you the best luck and give you the most support. If you can convince them you have a great product, that’s one way of networking. Word of mouth is and always will be the best marketer, especially in these social media conscious days. My recipe for success will hopefully be a mix of the Disney philosophy and the use of the technology we have today to make a global presence in the book buisness. I’ve taken the first steps by independent publishing. Now the next steps are to spread the word. I know it won’t be easy but if I don’t try I’ll never know what I can do. Hopefully I can share with you more stories of my success in the near future.
Cross your fingers with me and keep reading….