I’ve gotten some very good advice. A friend of mine, Richard Morris (author of some really great self-published novels, including “Canoedling In Cleveland”), suggested selling books at festivals and book shows, places where you can talk up your books with real people. He’s had some success at this, and it’s probably very good advice. At the same time, it’s something I can’t quite see myself doing. But my book has only been out for a few weeks, so who knows? I might end up at next year’s BowieFest with my own table full of books to sell.
Amazon recommends doing “give-aways,” which drum up readers who will spread the word. Goodreads has similar programs (Goodreads is owned by Amazon, so it makes sense). I’ve also discovered that there are a lot of people out there with websites dedicated to Young Adult novels – some of them will consider reading and reviewing self-published books (and one of them actually read and reviewed Finding Erin Campbell).
And then there’s the horrible task of emailing scores of potential Amazon reviewers, hoping a few will agree to take a look at my book and post a review. So far, I’ve sent out about 50 such requests (not a huge number, but to get someone to actually read such an email you have to tailor each one to the specific reviewer). As of this post, I have seven responses (not a bad response rate for a direct mail campaign, I guess) – six agreed to read and review the book (one has already posted a review), and one offered to feature me on her website in September, including an interview and a “give-away.”
And now here it is, almost July, and I’m feeling a little lost. My book is out there, the people who have read it say they really like it (including a former colleague of mine from Queen Anne School, who says she plans to recommend the book to her book club), I’m drumming up a few reviews, but the reality is that it’s one of millions of such books out there that will probably never get noticed. I tell myself it doesn’t matter – the whole point was to see my book in print, even if it’s just for me and my friends and family – but it does matter. I wanted this to feel real. And it doesn’t. Not quite.
It’s been a very difficult year for me and my family. I lost my mother. My husband lost his brother. And we both feel a little bit lost at sea.
I think I need to take a deep breath and get back to the writing. That’s what has sustained me over the last four years, the years since Queen Anne School closed and I found myself finally free to do what I’ve always wanted to do. And writing is what I always wanted to do – not marketing! So yes, there will be marketing (more emails to potential reviewers, more Facebook posts about my progress, more attempts to convince people to give the book a try) but I can’t let it consume me. And there will be more books. I have four almost ready to go, as well as a collection of short stories.
So there’s more to come . . .