Several months back I wrote a blog post about the real work just beginning as a self-published author. I had just published my first volume of poetry. “The Ramblings of a Poetic Fool“. The “real work” was over, right? Sit back and watch the sales take off. Hello early retirement!
No, I wasn’t referring to the task of developing, writing and creating the book itself though that was also “real work”. I was writing about the unenviable task of promoting and selling your self-published book. At the time, I knew it would be difficult. Not only from the viewpoint of the time and effort that must be expended to promote your book but also in the personal strength it can take.
You see, I am not an outgoing, gregarious person. In actuality, I’m quite shy. I do not toot my own horn easily. If fact, it makes me very uncomfortable. To those that know me well, it’s obvious that self-promotion is about the worst thing to ask me to do. Unfortunately, for those who self-publish it is essential.
For some, it comes easily. They have no qualms asking people outright to read their book, buy their book and leave reviews for their book. I see it all the time on social media sites every where. I am often inundated with requests to like this book or author page, attend a book signing, leave a review, do this or do that. On top of that, they network extensively with other writers and on writing sites. All to help sell their book. Please understand me, I’m not complaining or being critical. In many ways, I am envious. I wish I could be so bold and self-confident. I also realized that some of these authors aren’t really as bold and self-confident as they appear. They’re just like me with the important distinction that they have forced themselves to do that which makes them uncomfortable. So, kudos to them! I hope to learn from their example.
So, four months into my self-publishing experience I can boldly announce that I’ve been a dismal failure! Yes, a failure! Sales have been about as pathetic as my marketing attempts. Funny how that is! I’ve done precious little to get my book and myself out there before the reading public. I’ve generated little interest for a book that already had two strikes against it to start, those being that it is self-published and in a relatively unpopular genre. Sure, I’ve posted promos for my book on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and other sites. I’ve written about it on my blog which, if that post was actually read, would be akin to finding a message in a bottle addressed to you. A few good friends have been generous enough to do likewise and leave some very flattering reviews on Amazon. A special few have even written blog posts about me and my book. Thank god for true and faithful friends! But it in a world where untold numbers of books are traditionally published each year and even more are self-published, it takes a lot more effort than this to get noticed.
I knew from the start I wouldn’t sell many books. If I wanted to do that, I wouldn’t be writing poetry. Poetry isn’t that popular these days and I wouldn’t have the resources of a publisher behind me. No, I started writing poetry because something inside me made me. Like any writer though, I want my words to be read. I want people to relate to them and get something out of them. I want people to feel their life is just a little bit better for having read my poems. Thus, I decided to publish them.
In the world of self-publishing, the saying “If it is to be, it is up to me” could not be more true. My book could be the best poetry ever written in the history of mankind (hyperbole intended) and without extensive and tireless self-promotion no one would know it. I write this more for myself than you, the reader. I write it because I need to hear it, I need the motivation, I need the kick in the ass. My guess is that if you’ve self-published, you might too!
Oh, I almost forgot! “The Ramblings of a Poetic Fool” can be purchased on Amazon, CreateSpace and Barnes & Noble. Please buy it, please, please, please! Must I grovel and beg! OK, I will! 😀