Two months ago, I published my first novel…a really great story (in my humble opinion) that took years to come together. So, now what?
I wrote, worked with beta readers, cut, added, rewrote, edited, edited and edited. I engaged a cover designer, an editor, a proofreader. I had a launch. I’ve tweeted, set up a Facebook page and a blog. All my writer friends agree, if you haven’t done this yourself, you cannot possibly understand the incredible amount of work, stress, and angst that goes into actually seeing the finished product listing on Amazon, or wherever you choose to sell your book.
At That Moment is the first book in a series, a story that includes a bit of fantasy, a great deal of reality, and many questions that women in their thirties (and all ages, honestly) face from time to time. I know it’s a great story…I’m just wondering how to spread the word now. I’m anxious to get the second book out, mainly because I’m also a reader, and personally hate to wait…and wait…and wait…for the next volume of a series I’m reading and enjoying.
This is the conundrum. Do I write? Or do I push back my plans to get the next book out as soon as possible, and spend my time working on promotion and marketing of the first book?
Like many self-published indie authors I’m privileged to know, I’m not rich. I can’t hire a PR firm to promote my book, nor do I have unlimited funds to spend on book promotion. I don’t have a Personal Assistant I can assign these tasks to while I write. And also, like many indie authors I know, self-published or not, I don’t have unlimited time to devote to either writing or promotion. I have a busy life with responsibilities and people who depend on me. So, I’ve been searching for help.
There is no lack of promotional “help” out there… “We’ll tweet about your book for 3 days for $14!” “List your book with us! We’ll tweet about it for 7 days for $50!” and on and on. What is an author to do? Who sees the tweets? Do they reach readers who enjoy my genre? Will they be worth my hard-earned money? Just researching all of these sites is extremely time-consuming and exhausting.
There are hundreds (maybe even thousands) of blogs out there giving writers advice, outlining what they should do to get their books noticed and jumpstart their sales. “Long before you even publish, build a platform.” ie: Set up social media sites, collect a huge following, develop a mailing list, create a newsletter with interesting content. Well, no, I didn’t do that. Shame on me.
The simple fact is, word of mouth sells books. Most people don’t have a clue how much a review posted on Amazon helps an indie author. There are some inexpensive (and sometimes even free) promotional opportunities available, if you search hard enough. But quite a few of them require a minimum number of good reviews posted on Amazon to qualify for their services.
If you have enjoyed a book, please take a few minutes of your time to go on the book’s Amazon listing and rate it. You don’t even have to have purchased the book from Amazon (Thank you, Amazon!) to leave a rating and review on the page. And a “review” doesn’t have to be a 3-page analysis of every aspect of the book. It can simply say, “I liked this book and recommend it to others who enjoy this genre.” A short and sweet review of that fashion may not seem like much to you, but it counts as a “review” and can mean the world to an indie author…the best “thank you” for the incredible amount of work that goes in to writing and publishing a book. And it can simply make an author’s day, providing a sometimes much-needed shot of confidence.
I am extremely grateful to those who have posted such awesome reviews of At That Moment. Each one builds my confidence, and makes me so happy that others are understanding what I have written, relating to my characters, and are enjoying the read. Thank you, truly, from the bottom of my heart.
I’ve written a story that I truly love…a contemporary novel about a woman who experiences an incredible life-changing moment, and it explores the age-old question, “Does she have the courage to take a leap of faith?” Or does she cling to her comfortable, predictable life where she’s in control of the outcome? (Yes, I know that’s a myth, but isn’t it one we all believe?)
A few years ago, I shared the first draft with a few close friends who badgered me almost daily, “You HAVE to publish this! This is a great book! People will LOVE it!” I swallowed my fear and doubts, and published it.
So, now what?
Do I push on with the next chapter of the story, and just let my book languish on Amazon, hoping that someone will notice it? Or do I let the next chapter sit in my computer while I spend my available time marketing and promo-ing my book? Unfortunately, sometimes it comes down to one or the other.
Don’t get me wrong…I’m not spending my time this morning writing this to elicit pity or just to take up time that I could otherwise be using to write my second book, or promote my first. I’m truly interested in hearing what others have done to meet this challenge, because, the truth is, this issue has almost paralyzed me to the point that I can’t seem to do either.
Thank you for taking YOUR valuable time to read this post, and to respond, if you have any words of wisdom to share.
Are you an indie author? Have you faced this same conundrum? What did YOU do?
5 thoughts on “So, Now What? #WriterWednesday #indieauthor #writersproblems #amwriting”
I just self-published my second book and I’m still trying to find the balance between writing and marketing. It’s a vicious cycle — if you don’t write, you won’t have anything to market, but if you don’t market, no one will ever know your book exists. No sales means no money for further publications. I try to split my time 70/30 writing to marketing until I’m about to publish the book. During the month of the book launch and the following month or so, I focus a lot more on marketing. Then I go back to writing again. I try to schedule/limit the amounts of time I’m on social media because it can be such a time suck. But as I said, I’m still trying to find that balance. Congrats on your book and good luck with it!
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Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Some days, the ones that go as I planned, my schedule is much like yours. On others, when unexpected work issues or family issues and anything else that arises, the first thing that suffers is my “writing” time. lol I’m still in the middle of that time management learning curve. Again, thank you for taking the time to reply. #gratitude
The same thing happens to me, too. Life likes to throw in those monkey wrenches from time to time. Sometimes I wonder why I bother to plan anything. 🙂
Hello Scarlett! I stumbled across your blog pretty accidentally (Googling about one hashtag I wanted to use on Twitter) and just read this blog post, it hits close to home. Here is my story. I finished my first novel one year ago. I was working on that novel for years and put my whole heart and soul in it. When I finished it I felt like I’ve finally reached the top of the mountain, it was a huuuge step for me. 😀 And then the reality hit me. You won your personal battle and finished your story. Now a whole new battle begins – you have to make that story come alive for many other people. Welcome Vera to the cruel world of publishing. I realized that I need following and social media presence so I can present my book but I had no clue how to do that. And when you have your full time job and everyday pressure to earn money for your family, you can’t really spend time building your online presence. Also, I wrote my novel in Serbian. I need to have it translated to English but translations are costly.
Then, few months ago, my mindset somehow changed and I decided to stop being negative and thinking “I can’t do it”. I must do it. So I started my blog, joined Wattpad and started my new novel in English. Now I progress step by step each day – with my story, with my online presence and with writing in English. I also realized some flaws (in style and story) my first novel had so I am trying to overcome those with my current novel.
It may take a lot of time but I am patient 🙂 Until I can publish my novel (self or in traditional way) and look back and say “I made it happen.”
Just stay positive Scarlett and believe in yourself! I am sure that one year later you will see many reviews on Amazon and your book will touch the hearts of many many people! I wish you a great day! 🙂
P.S. So sorry for the long comment. 😀