Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Self-promotion - one hell of a learning curve!

The first thing I did this morning - after feeding the dog, making the breakfast, emptying the dishwasher, etc. etc. - was watch Jeremy Kyle.  I usually always start my working day watching Jeremy Kyle because, no matter how crap I feel, watching Jeremy Kyle always makes me feel so much better about my life.  I mean, someone's already threatened to smack him and it's only been on fifteen minutes!  Missed a cracker of a show yesterday though, apparently.  It was trending on Twitter and everything.  Gutted!  The one weekday morning I choose to start my day listening to Simon Bates on Smooth Radio (if I close my eyes I can almost pretend we're back in the early 90's with Simon Bates in the Morning on Radio 1, before Radio 1 became something I'm suddenly allergic to!) and I miss a classic Jeremy Kyle!  Actually, doesn't ITV2 do repeats in the afternoons...

Anyway, I'm going off on a tangent again.  Terrible habit of mine.  I guess I'm just trying to put off another day of that thing I'm becoming quite nervous of - self-promotion.  I'm an independent author you see, so I have no agents or publishers there to do all that marketing for me.  I don't have the luxury of being wheeled out to Bill and Sian and sitting on that BBC Breakfast sofa publicising my new book.  Oh no, that's all up to me.  Every single bit of marketing and publicity is all down to me, and for someone who hates blowing their own trumpet that's not an easy thing to get used to.  But, seeing as no agent thinks my books worthy of representation (their prerogative, ofcourse) then the only way I can possibly get my work out there in the public eye is to self-publish.  And the only way to do that without it costing me money I don't have is to self-publish my novels as eBooks, which limits my market even more but I'm determined to do anything to try and make it as an author.  It's my dream, and I ain't giving up on it just yet!  But it's hard.  It's very hard.  Sales are slow, and you become obsessed with checking how many books you're selling, which becomes quite disheartening at times.  But you also know that, once your friends have bought a copy, and maybe told a couple of their friends about it and some of them might have bought a copy too, once that's out of the way then the hard work really begins.  There's only so much stuff you can post on Facebook and Twitter before people get sick of hearing about it, so other avenues of self-promotion have to be explored.  And that's the stage I'm up to now.  I'll keep sticking the odd link on the usual sites, just incase someone spots it who might otherwise have missed it, but I've really got to start widening the net to get myself noticed.  But how?  That's what I need to think about, but I feel as though I'm faced with something so impossible I have no idea where to start!  And I have to say it's slowing me down.  I'm letting it slow me down, because I'm so pessimistic about everything I just assume that it's pointless even trying, nobody's going to buy my books so why bother?  That's the mood I'm in today but that's just a bad day at the office.  We all have down days, times when we feel as though we're banging our heads against a brick wall, and for first-time authors trying to get some kind of recognition, well, we're probably banging our heads against those walls more frequently than many others!  If I was Kerry Katona or Katie Price it would be easy.  Those names (unsurprisingly) sell books, they make agents and publishers money because people will buy those books - regardless of subject matter - simply because the celebrity "wrote" them.  Case in point was when I was in my local hairdressers last year and we were talking about how I'd started writing novels, and the girl cutting my hair proceeded to gush about how fantastic Katie Price's books were.  I swear, I'd never felt so depressed.  Hearing Sky News describe the aforementioned Ms. Price as an author the same week plunged me even deeper into the depths of despair.  It's not her fault, she's only doing what anyone in her position would do and that's build on the opportunities being offered to her.  But it kind of hammers it home that people like me, new and struggling authors with no celebrity tag or famous parent to fall back on, we have got no chance.  Fact!  It honestly feels as though you could write the best book in the whole bloody world but if you've never been on 'I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of here!' then you might as well forget it!  Or, you could just let yourself have a bad day - as I'm doing today - get it out of your system and move on.  Only determination and hard work will get your where you want to be, that's another fact.  And I sometimes forget that my books have only been on sale for a fortnight so maybe I'm expecting too much of myself too soon, but I really want this.  I really, really want this.  So I'll have to put the work in, I'll have to slog it out and see what happens and maybe when I've got a few books out there I'll feel better about myself, I'll feel more like a writer rather than someone who's "just had a go", because this advent of self-publishing-made-easy is going to generate a lot of that.  Everyone thinks they've got a book in them, and there's nothing wrong with that.  But some of us have got far more than one book in them; we've just got to learn how to market ourselves in a way that will gain us the respect and success that a hell of a lot of new writers out there richly deserve.  Not easy, but nobody said this journey would be.

Right, that's me off the soapbox for now.  Time for coffee and something with chocolate on it, and in the absence of Keanu Reeves I'll have to make do with a digestive biscuit!  I guess we can't have everything....and why am I listening to Iron Maiden...???

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousJune 14, 2011

    Really enjoying the blog. Keep it up! and don't you DARE go back to watching 'Loose Women'and dusting the skirting boards! ;-)