Saturday, 11 May 2013

One Month In...

It is now one month since I self published my debut novel, the Outback, but it seems like longer. Much longer. I have learned a lot in that time, but even then, there is a great deal more that I am yet to discover. Perhaps the biggest lesson (aside from patience) is that my book looks very lonely sitting on its own on my virtual bookshelf. My number one priority at the moment is to get my other novels up to a polished standard to upload too. For promotional purposes and to get the most out of Kindle Select in particular, I think that I need more product on the shelf. (I am yet to enroll for that reason).

Google+ has been a blessing. How much it helps to attract readers at this early stage is negligible, but the wealth of information that I have picked up from other writer's in the communities has been invaluable. I have also found these communities to be very encouraging, which also helps. The Amazon and Kindle Boards forums are not as positive. Whilst I can see the potential benefits that they offer, I just find them to be really cynical. The fact that direct promotion of books is banned from most threads only leads to sneakier tactics being employed. There are several book adverts disguised as advice that I find particularly annoying.

This brings me on to my next gripe with self publishing. The "how to make money from self publishing" books that are flooding the market. The sad fact is that all they actually offer is the rather shaky concept that people want to know how to make money, so they purchase the book. Therefore, if enough people buy the "how to make money from self publishing" book, the author of said book makes a profit. The reader then effectively repackages the book and sells it themselves for the same purpose. It is really just the world's most unimaginative pyramid scheme and it is a pity that Amazon allow it (so long as they get their cut, I suspect that they will allow pretty much anything).

Of course, the gripes that I have are just that - gripes. Overall, I think that I am feeling more positive about self publishing than I did a month ago, but I am overwhelmed by the sheer volume of books available. Being heard amongst all of this "noise" does seem like an almost impossible task. There are just so many books out there and yet only a tiny percentage of these actually sell. A good example of this can be found by looking at the Kindle charts. On just a single sale in a day raised my chart position by 750,000 (that is 750,000 books that were ahead of me, but did not sell any on that day). On where I am selling the bulk of my books, my chart position still fluctuates wildly. It only takes 3 sales to make the top 10,000, but just 2 barren days can send that rank plummeting close to 100,000!

So where do I go from here? Well, there is still much for me to get to grips with, particularly on the promotional side of things. I have not yet started using twitter, due to my forthcoming holiday (did not want to start and then have 2 tweetless weeks) and I have put off upgrading to my own website domain for a similar reason. Basically, publishing one month before my wedding was not the best timing. Obviously, the wedding has to take precedence.

With that in mind, I have prepared a few blog posts that are ready to go. All that they require is one click of a mouse and they are up. Although I have promised Katie that I would not tinker with my writing on our Honeymoon, there are several bookings that need to be reconfirmed during the trip and whilst we find an internet cafe to do this, it will not harm to perform that one small mouse click on the blog.

So you will not be hearing from me quite so much during the next three weeks, but when I return, I will be revitalised and more hungry than ever. And just hopefully, it will not be too long before I have a few more books to sell to you....


  1. Firstly, I hope you have an amazing wedding & honeymoon. Congrats!

    Secondly, I am hopeless at networking. I plan to self publish soon but I have no idea where to reach out to people. It seems that building an audience helps but for those of us who struggle in this area, I have no idea how I will make any sales through self publishing at all.

    I wish you all the best with your first experience in self publishing :-)

    1. Thanks, I just got back today after a 2 week internet blackout. I understand how you feel about not knowing how to generate sales. Reviews seem to be the key, but only a very small number of readers leave them. I am going to enroll my next novel with KDP select as that seems to be the best way to get the novel out there for review.

      Good luck with your writing - I think that you will figure out the networking part as there are so many others in exactly the same boat.

  2. Congrats on finding the love of your life! I just entered the blogging world yesterday, so I'm jumping in with both feet so to speak in trying to learn how having a blog can benefit me as a writer:-) I just want to say I enjoyed your post and wish you the best of luck with your writing career!!!!!!!

    1. Thanks, I have found that rather than simply using a blog as a marketing tool, it is actually a great medium to practice writing. Good luck with your own writing!