Publishing and Marketing

Self-publishing. Would I Recommend It?

Today?  Not so much.  I’m not feeling the love today.

I don’t know if people truly realize what goes into writing a novel, but I’ll tell you. Every ounce of energy and every piece of my soul went into writing this series.  I couldn’t even begin to calculate the time spent in hours, because I’m sure it would blow most peoples’ minds to think that one person would spend so much time on something that made them abso. lutely. no. money. at. all. what. so. ever.

I love writing.  I love Nate and Emi and Jack, and I’d do it all over again if I could… and in fact I am, with three other characters.  In my ideal world, I’d get to devote all of my time to these stories, but I can’t.  I have to have a real job that pays bills.  Oh, but wouldn’t I like to make money doing something I love?  I sure would.  Self-publishing? Not the way to do it.

I didn’t think this would be easy, and in fact, it’s WAY early on and the book isn’t even in most mainstream retail channels.  That’s one of the drawbacks.  It takes SO LONG to get through the approval processes, both in print and in ebook format.  I can only imagine it’s because so much junk is clogging the resources.  After all, anyone can write a book, and anyone can self-publish.  I knew this going into it… but that doesn’t make this pill any easier to swallow.

I feel like this is a quality novel that people would love.  I self-published because it was too long for traditional agents to take on.  I accepted that and am stubbornly unwilling to cut what I feel are integral parts of the story.  It’s not college senior-level reading.  It won’t take weeks to read.  It’s very conversational, very relatable, very real.

So why aren’t people buying it?  Is it because they don’t want to create a smashwords account?  Okay, I can accept that.  So I hold my breath and pray that sales will magically pick up when iBooks and amazon.com start selling it… but what if it doesn’t happen?

Marketing is HELL.  And everything is expensive!  I’m a lowly writer, people.  I’ve spent $55 on google adsense in three days for 35 clicks and what seems to be very few purchases… maybe one?  Two?  So to pay for these ads, I need to charge about $28 per ebook.  Yeah, right.

And email marketing?  I got very little response from that first wave.  That’s free, though, and it’s interesting to track who clicks what, but still, I’d rather spend that time writing, rather than formatting a pretty email that most of my friends will even consider spam.

I have business cards, but who do I give them to?  And to get nice cards that market the way I want to market, we’re looking at charging even MORE for the books.  It’s just not realistic.

Amanda Hocking, you’re a rock star.  Good for you for striking before the iron was even lit.  You deserve all the money and press you’re getting, and I hope you get back to writing soon… but at least you see your hard work paying off.  Two and a half years spent writing three books, and I have nothing to show for them… and all I want to do is get back to the second series.  These poor characters have been dormant since November!  I want to bring them back to life!

I can see why agents are important, but it’s not as easy as people think… and it’s hard to get good feedback from ones you query, too.  (Oh, but how I cherished the ones that took time to respond.)  I think it’s a losing industry for most people, even those with talent.  EVERYONE wants to be a writer.

EVERYONE can be.

Including me… but I’m just one among millions.  How in the hell am I going to make my story stand out?

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