Self Publishing is hard. There are no two ways about it. I think we have all felt the frustration of self publishing a work of genius, only to find that no one buys it. Readers don't know it's there unless we can find an efficient marketing strategy! Writers, even when they've been traditionally published, have to get their hands dirty with marketing.
Enjoy today's guest rant by Dairenna Von Ravenstone - you may find yourself, as I did, nodding in agreement all the way through it!
Self Publishing is Hard
As an unsuccessful self-published author it’s been a rough three years. I haven’t come close to breaking even in what I spent to publish my first novel. I have over 500 followers on twitter, about the same on Facebook but I don’t know what to do with them. Saying self-publishing is hard is an understatement. It’s like trying to make a door through a brick wall with a spoon, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Don’t get me wrong: there are a ton of guides, other indie authors who are willing to help out and lots of things you can do to get yourself noticed. BUT if you don’t have a plan, the will, the time, the determination or the “blood, sweat and tears” then you won’t make it. Plain and simple: if you can’t take the responsibility to work your butt off to promote your work then you won’t be a success.
This came to head about a month ago. An indie author I followed started ranting about how he was going to quit writing if his new book didn’t reach 50 sales in two months. At first I felt the same. I was all “Yeah, you tell them!” Then I read his prior tweets and realized that it wasn’t the fault of the “broken industry” (yeah, that’s what he called the self-publishing industry): it was his fault.
He didn’t do his research in finding an editor and when he did find one he expected that editor to edit an 80K manuscript for under $500 and do a stellar job. He didn’t promote properly. His cover art sucked and he blamed his fans for not telling him. He spent his money on companies that were scamming him. He didn’t do his research in any aspect of self-publishing. He simply wrote a novel that he knew wouldn’t sell (his words) and when it didn’t sell: complained.
Then I got angry. How could this guy sit there and blame the industry for his lack of research? I got mad enough that I wrote an angry blog post (thankfully didn’t publish it), tried to comment on his blog (you have to register to comment then it doesn’t even work: WTF?), and ranted to my IRL friends and some friends online.
It’s not the industry's fault that he didn’t do the proper research before getting into the industry. He’s got no one to blame but himself. Please don’t read this wrong: I’m not trying to bash him in the slightest. But his issue of not selling after two years hits home.
On Not Being a Marketer
Because just like him I’ve got no one to blame but myself for not breaking even in three years. It’s not the problem of the authors who tried to help me. It’s not the fact that I didn’t get good guidance from “how to” books and it’s not the fault of the books themselves. It’s not the fault of the company I did go through (three actually) to sell my books. It’s my fault, mine, all mine (insert maniacal laughter here).
There’s something liberating in saying that. There’s also something really depressing about it. But through this experience I did learn something: I am not a promoter, marketer or whatever you want to call it. I am simply a writer. I’m one of the few who cannot change hats to promoter and get my stuff out there. I understand the concepts; don’t get me wrong, but actually putting them into practice? Nope. It just doesn’t click.
And you know what? I’m okay with that. I know now that I have to go the route of traditional publishing (or hire a promoter) in order to sell my stuff. It doesn’t bother me that I’m not selling. It doesn’t bother me that people aren’t commenting on my blog or re-tweeting me or whatever. I’m just going to sit here and write because frankly, that’s what I do best.
So, what should you the reader, take out of this word vomit? Simply this: don’t try to do things you aren’t meant to do because if you do you’ll make yourself really, really depressed. Also, don’t be afraid to admit that even after trying hard for X amount of years that you really can’t do something. And, once you admit to not being able to do something: ask for help, or, well, hire help if you can. Because, really: it’s useless to keep whacking at a brick wall with a spoon. You’re just going to bend the spoon. In short: go get a demolition team if you need it.
Dairenna is the author of The Tale of the Twins available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback.
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