It was the Indian writer Ashwin Sanghi who said: “Write when drunk. Edit when sober. Marketing is the hangover.”
Many a time have a written a chapter while under the influence of alcohol. Though often spectacular, the next day I deemed the writing not always suitable, nor consistent or totally missing the mark. The editing is indeed sobering and necessary. And marketing being the hangover? Absolutely!
In 2014, after a humungous amount of graft, countless bottles of alcohol and boat-loads of coffee, I decided to hit the publish button to launch my first novel, DEATH COMES TWICE. The editor and I could do no more without compromising purpose. Good would have to be good enough. In 2017 I repeated this with DEATH IS A CHALLENGE and this year again for DEATH IS A RIDDLE.
En then you hope. And pray. To God. And all the other gods. And perform rain dances. And visit Madam Zaza. And rub rabbit-feet. And hang loads of dream-catchers. And wear lucky charms. And seek four-leaved clovers and acorns. And put horse-shoes on my front door. Well not really, but you kinda do. Figuratively.
Unfortunately, luck has little to do with book sales. My expectations are not high. I do not need the income. I write for the pleasure of it. But wouldn’t a greater reach be more rewarding?
In past blogs I have iterated my lack of experience in the field of language, writing and publishing, and it seemed the more I researched the internet the more I got lost. There is so much advice that I can only conclude it’s a jungle out there! Thankfully, the advice is pretty consistent: ‘Make sure your book has quality’; write a series of books’; ‘spend as much time on marketing as writing’; ‘use a team – independent reviewers, an editor, a cover designer’; ‘use social media to create connections’; write a blog’; ‘have enough book ratings to be taken seriously’; ‘spend money, but spend wisely’; ‘create author pages on book sites’; etc..
So I did, partly. To add quality to my books. I use (relatively independent) reviewers and a professional editor. Being interested in all things shiny, I created a Twitter account (@Faaskramer), a Facebook page and a LinkedIn profile. I designed a website (www.faaskramer.com) which I have since revised using WordPress. I’ve created author pages on more sites than I can remember. But so far, all of this to little avail.
Being unconvinced, I stubbornly refuse to spend money on marketing and I remain unwilling to compromise on the selling price of my books as I believe that quality has a price (and I must believe the quality). Instead, I have decided to focus efforts on the things I especially like doing. Writing is my passion and I’ve extended this to blogging. I publish a blog once or twice a week, which is then automatically spread through social media. Furthermore, I need to ensure best representation on selling sites Amazon, Lulu and Bol and seek more reviews and ratings to push visibility (see blog ‘A GOOD REVIEW IS A WONDERFUL SURPRISE…!‘). I also need to revise my cover design and book blurb. A quick twitter pole I created indicated that these were by far the most important reasons to a buy a book (86%).
These may only form a small machete to create a path a way through the dense foliage, but you have to respect the jungle and the many other indie authors trying to find their way through also….