I’m wearing a mouth guard again, after grinding my teeth with sufficient force to break a molar, on account of I don’t like my new job.
I’m not talking about the writing. That’s an activity. This is about promoting myself as an author. That’s a job. The mission, if I choose to pursue it, is selling thirty thousand books a year, minimum. If I was a younger man, trying to make a living as a novelist, that would be one thing.
But I’m retired, and disinclined to seek approval. My motivation to advertise is nothing more than a nagging sense the work itself, not the author, might deserve attention. I assure you; this is not a case of superficial humility. I’m sincere.
In the grand scheme of things, there are few endeavors that really matter. Producing entertainment is not on the list. That’s one vote against shouting my name from the rooftops.
Works of fiction flow out of an author’s perspective. Stories have the power to elevate the spirit, educate, inform, inspire, and provoke thought. My books might offer some of these qualities. One vote in favor.
Publishing is a tough game. I don’t want to go back to work. If struck by illness, I won’t say, “I’m glad I spent my last days trying to sell books.” Is that three votes against? I think it is.
I write optimistic stories about places you’ll never go, people you’ll never meet, things you’ll never see. That these stories are constructive in nature is almost accidental, a reflection of what I believe, and my observations of the many ways in which individuals go about creating successful lives.
Does that make the material different enough to stand out? I don’t know. I’ve been chatting with a publicist, to whom I said, “Someone will have to convince me (the work) is remarkable”. Upon reflection, I realize that’s too much to expect. Besides, there’s no objective way to determine if my books deserve an audience, other than the option of allowing the marketplace to decide.
Oh, yeah. That’s the conundrum I’m fussing about, right now.
If you’re curious, click here. If you’re looking for a punchline, I don’t have one, else I’d already know what to do. One thing I do know is that worrying isn’t good for me. I have a sore jaw to tell me that.
The answer to this may be elsewhere on your blog, but are you on other social media? Twitter, etc? It’s a hard game to sell books via them but it’s part of the game, I suppose. I heard a talk from a local author, in the UK, who got a book deal for three books. They gave her a launch then after two weeks said it was over to her to manage all the social media and website etc. Also, an awful lot of authors these days seem to be female, 25 to 35, photogenic, with husbands, kids, pets and large houses. Just moaning, as usual.
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Oh yes, I’m out there, enough to know that selling books is a full-time job, offering roulette-table odds against paying off. I’ve run Amazon and Facebook ad campaigns, cross-posted dozens of essays, and worn out my welcome in one forum after another. I’ve seen posts get forty engagements against forty-thousand views for three clicks and zero books sold. It’s a grind. If you’re not working on an exploit, you’re scheming about working on an exploit. I have no doubt there are better ways to go about it. I could sit in on seminars for the rest of the year, distill the advice of authors who have given up on participation in the game, and see what I might do differently. Then work full-time for the next year, spend a few thousand dollars, and execute another plan against the same odds I’m looking at right now. Hence this essay. I am not, as you can see, persuaded it’s a smart thing for me to do. Thanks for your comment. It might end up being the only one.
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