I’m at a point where even talking “reviews”, “PR”, “marketing” or “sales” makes me depressed…
You’d think that being an author is about writing books, poems, plays or stories. Alas, like in any job, that’s only part of what we do every day. And for every book we write, there’s a cycle to follow: inception, research, writing, editing, proofing, marketing, selling. You could of course infinitely detail my description, but it’ll do for the sake of this post. And in order not to attract unwarranted critique, some of these things concur simultaneously, some continuously. But let’s keep it simple. Right now, as I type these words, I’m in a state of limbo. The official marketing & PR activities for my recent book, Last Winter’s Snow, are long over, and I’m in this waiting room at my publisher’s, waiting for my edits back from my editor. So I begin to think about marketing it. I’m in no place to write right now (see other posts about why or what it takes to get into the zone) so I try to spend my time planning for the next release.
Disease is scheduled for an October 26th release. In indie publishing, that’s a long time. I know people who put out two novels or more in that time. By then, I need to have a plan for how to make the biggest possible splash for my budget. Over the years, I’ve learned what works for me, and what doesn’t. To make it easy, lots of (good) reviews early on is a good thing, book tours on the other hand yield no tangible results. I blog a bit here, I will attend one more big convention (the book is scheduled to release timed for that), and I’ve already put out a trailer, as I always do. Not that it sells copies as such, but I find it a valuable tool to convey the atmosphere of the book. Images and the musical score help me paint that picture. Hopefully, it doesn’t scare people away.
However, as I tackle each of these tasks, I feel a dread, a sensation as if I were dragging my feet through newly poured concrete. I have no energy, I don’t enjoy it, and I sure as hell am not looking forward to the tasks at hand. I go through the motions of it, but even going on Facebook and seeing my author friends out there pouring their heart and souls into marketing and PR, some more eagerly than others, some taking steps I wouldn’t dream of, is becoming something laden with negative emotions.
Convention will have you know that you need to be out there, or you won’t sell. And I guess it’s true enough, but I just don’t want to anymore. I am tired of the conventions, the round genres this square peg is hammered into, I’m tired of perfect naked bodies everywhere, I’m tired of having to put myself and my family out there all the time, and I feel a sense of shame and guilt for doing it. Before you judge me, I know that I have a choice, and no one is forcing me. Also, this isn’t some insane plot to make people “pity buy” my books. I am well aware that doesn’t work, at all.
I know all that, and if anything, that makes it worse, because I really do not have anyone else to blame but myself, but oddly, it is the reality of the industry, that readers are more interested in our personal lives, and the drama we endure/create than our books. They read those in a handful of hours and then quickly return to the drama online.
I have been following a new author in recent weeks and was able to partake in their joy of the early and fast success of a great debut. I feel no such thing with regards to my coming book. Dread, yes, joy, none. And I’m not sure if this is something we all go through at times, if it is the lack of success finally taking its toll or if this is simply me, being tired of it all? I honestly don’t know. But I do know that while I go through the motions of my marketing and PR, plan for a successful (as it can be given my tiny niche) release of Disease, my heart’s not in it. It was when I was working on the cover with my cover designer, but that was a couple of months ago. Something happened, something I can’t quite put my finger on. There are things already planned for my release I wish I could avoid, and I’ve made some tiny adjustments to e.g. my GRL costume, to make it a bit easier for me given my current situation, even though, as a whole, it is the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced in terms of transformation. I may (or may not) tell you about it some day.
For now, a question, to other (more seasoned) authors: have you been in this position? Have you had this dread of having to go through another release? How does one get over that? What pointers can you provide to work through it? Hopefully, your insights might help not only me but others who feel the same. And if you’re in a similar place like I am right now, know this: you’re not alone. There’s two of us now! 😉
As always, your insights are welcome. Feel free to comment or share. If you like my writing, feel free to subscribe to my monthly newsletter (top right on this page) with competitions and hopefully interesting reading, the next one due next week. Interact with me on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and/or Instagram. Have a good week.