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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Marketing is Hell!

I know, I know. "It's a marathon, not a sprint" blah blah blah. I get it.

The thing is, my personal marathon has been going on for well over a decade. I've been writing stories all of my life, and seriously working at this 'writing-to-publish' gig in one way or another since 1999. I've had a bunch of short stories published, won a few prizes, and been awarded a grant. I've studied English Literature and creative writing. I've always been a voracious reader, and carefully studied and honed my craft. I'm still honing: I don't think any writer should ever sit back and say "That's good enough" and rest on their laurels. That's cheating.

Yes, I went the traditional route with endless rounds of agents and publisher queries. I even had an agent at one point, but we were not a good team. The traditional route is a baffling one. A lot of people at Big Six publishers liked my writing and encouraged me, but no one went that extra step to publish it.

Yadda yadda yadda.

Fast-forward to the Indie Revolution and the breath of fresh air it offered as a way to reach readers. I was ready to give it a go, so I did. I finally presented 'Base Spirits' after professional editing and formatting and getting some kick-ass cover art. For the most part, I've enjoyed the process and all the fabulous, encouraging people I've been meeting along the journey. I've had great feedback and reviews from readers from all over the world. Yay!


I have to come clean. Marketing-- for me-- is pure, unadulterated HELL.

I've carefully followed examples and taken suggestions: giveaways, KDP Select, contests, blog hops, guest interviews (both giving and hosting), blogging, Facebooking, Twittering, Triberr, Goodreads, cross-promotions, layered marketing etc. ad infinitum. I am not renewing my KDP Select after this round. I fear that the e-book market has been saturated with all the freebies to the point where a great many readers just expect us to hand over our hard work for nothing. If one has a large backlist, it makes more sense: one book helps introduce your writing to the world. I may revisit it once I have more ready to publish.

It's still the Wild West for Indie Publishing. What used to work as a 'surefire' marketing or promotional tool last month may not work now. I'm not bitter-- just sort of baffled. I admit it. It's a mystery.

I've decided I am more interested in writing books than standing on a virtual street corner wearing a jester's hat and making balloon animals for passersby who really couldn't give a toss. So for now, please forgive me while I happily type away on Book One of the Dead Drunk Mystery series. I'm not giving up: I just need to write books instead of spending hours a day on social media.

What I am trying to do is get more reviews. I think reviews are a good idea for the long haul. Readers are much more likely to be impressed by a decent third party review than any clever Twitter blurb or barely-disguised subtle plea from me to give my work a try. I've been pretty lucky so far: most of the 21 Amazon reviews to date have been stellar. Now I'd like to concentrate on being reviewed further afield on blogs and websites.

In fact, if you are a reviewer or book blogger reading this and you'd like a free review copy of either 'Base Spirits' or my short story 'Family Secrets', I'd be more than happy to send them your way. Please leave me your e-mail in the comment section below.

Now back to our regularly scheduled marathon...


  1. I really enjoyed your book Base Spirits and would like to read your short story. As soon as I get to a computer I plan on downloading it. I have been spreading the word through several friends about your work and they are enjoyong it as well. I will tell them to leave some comments.

  2. Thanks TJ! Good to see you here. I'm grateful for your continued support-- it means a lot to me that a reader I've never even met is spreading the word. I hope you're staying safe and well.

  3. PS- I tried sending a message to that e-mail address and it bounced back.

    1. Sorry about that. I smart phone is stupid sometimes Haha. The address is

  4. I'm with you on the whole marketing thing! It's so much work trying to get the exposure you need for your books. I'm going the review route as well and just concentrating on writing the next book. I have my books listed on my blog so it's my passive advertising. When the next book is finished, I will jump back on the marketing horse and try to readers interested.

  5. I feel your pain, my friend. My focus is the same right now. I had to severely cut back on FB in particular. The good news is my productivity kicked up a ton. I have all these comics and short stories and novels-in-progress now, which is what needed to happen. But just looking at my life, and all I have to do? I don't think I'll be focused on social media or blogging much anymore. I'll do what I do after I've written, and that's all I'll do. Period, end of story.

    Just for curiousity's sake, I checked out the blogs of the top ten best-selling indies from The Zon last week. Some of them don't even have blogs. Many of them have nothing on FB, either, and they definitely don't tweet.

    I was saying to a writing group the other day, as we were discussing promoing our know, when I had to market in order to get product to show off what my business could do for clients, it made sense to reach out so much and hand-sell the products & services. I don't need to do that now. I can just *create* the product. I see some of these best-selling indies making it work, and realize what a learning curve I've been on these past 9 mo.

    If & when you DO feel like evangelizing about yourself and your work, you're always welcome on Writer Wed. at my blog. Just shoot me an email. Essay, excerpt, I don't care. Whatever you want to do.

  6. Thanks for the great comments, Debra and Red. (And the offer for a guest post!) The best thing is to just keep at the main job of writing, methinks. Good luck to us all!

  7. I think this "focus on writing" is the path to follow. I'm feeling dragged down by other writer friends who constantly play all the games, the hops, the newsletters, the contests, the guesting. It's wearing me down watching them do it - and it seems that some of them have sacrificed quality writing to promote, promote, promote. I am clinging to the raft of "do what you love, the money will follow" on this one.